About Us

Our Board

Willie Howard


Willie Howard, President of the Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation. A non-profit charitable organization in Jacksonville, Texas. Willie joined the FDCDC in February 2009 and is one of the founders. In this role, Willie serves as the organization's Chief Volunteer Officer. He holds a Bachelor's in Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Houston. To contact Willie Howard please email  [email protected]

Anita Newsome-Starling

First Vice President

Anita Starling, First Vice President of the Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation. A non-profit charitable organization in Jacksonville, Texas. Anita joined the FDCDC in February 2009. In this role, Anita serves as the chair of the Programs and Property committees. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Texas Woman's University. To contact Anita Starling please email [email protected].

Dr. Kenya Sekoni Etim, MS, MD, FAAFP 

Marketing Director

Dr. Kenya IbukunOluwa Sekoni Etim Philanthropist, activist...motivated by the love of helping people thrive. Dr. Etim believes that mastering a discipline is a major factor in well-being. The habits developed in the process can be applied to caring for one's mind and body. This sentiment was instilled by her mother, Nadine Boyd Watson, who is a 1966 graduate of Fred Douglass High School in Jacksonville, Texas. 
Dr. Etim is a family physician who schooled at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and trained with the MSU/Sparrow Hospital Residency program. Both programs are known for graduating physicians with excellent listening skills, equipped to serve people where they are. And serve she has. 
She exhibits and promotes the sentiment of --giving back to the institutions that equipped her to provide for her family, while rendering excellent service to others. In her many contributions to various communities, Dr. Etim served as a volunteer clinical assistant professor for MSU Department of Family Medicine from 2006--2013 before formerly joining the faculty as an assistant professor. She continued her volunteerism by organizing annual fundraisers to grow an endowed scholarship for medical students from underserved populations. In addition, Dr. Etim routinely provided volunteer service in Lansing, Michigan, Jacksonville, Texas, Lagos, Nigeria, and Nyahururu, Kenya since 2012. 
Dr. Etim joined FDCDC in 2010 because of their commitment to serving the underserved in Jacksonville, Texas. She uses her skills to assist the group in organizing fundraising for community programs and promoting the FDCDC's mission.

Lucy Lacy


Lucy Lacy, Treasurer of the Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation. A non-profit charitable organization in Jacksonville, Texas. Lucy joined the FDCDC in February 2009. In this role, Lucy serves as the chair of the Finance committee, assist in the preparation of the budget, helps develop fundraising strategies, and makes financial information available to board members and the public, as needed. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Texas Woman's University. Masters in Healthcare Administration from Ashford University. Retired nurse with 37 years at the Michael E. Debakey Veterans Administration Medical Center Hospital. Lucy enjoys selling jewelry in her free time. To contact Lucy Lacy please email [email protected].

Sandra Newsome Thompson

Financial Secretary

Sandra Thompson, Financial Secretary of the Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation. A non-profit charitable organization in Jacksonville, Texas. Sandra joined the FDCDC in February 2009. In this role, Sandra serves as the chair of the Funding and Development committee. She attended Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas after graduating from Jacksonville High School in 1973. She has worked in the banking industry for 41 years. Sandra is currently working as VP/Manager with Prosperity Bank in Jacksonville, Texas. To contact Sandra Thompson please email [email protected].

Virginia Brown

Recording Secretary

Virginia is one of the founding members of the Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation (FDCDC), which was established in February 2009. As a board member, she holds the position of Recording Secretary. Virginia worked at Southwestern Bell and AT&T for nearly 25 years, as an Administrative Assistant and Trainer, she retired in 2000. Retirement was short-lived however, and since 2005, she has worked in the insurance industry. Growing up as a minister's daughter, the principle of helping others was deeply instilled in her. While working at AT&T, Virginia was very active in the company's community relations activities and programs. That community involvement continues as she volunteers and works with other groups and organizations. Virginia has a passion for helping youth, and others develop skills that will help them to be successful in life. She serves as Director of the Academics & Scholarships Ministry at her church in Houston, Texas. Virginia has a Bachelor of Science in Management degree from the University of Phoenix. She is the mother of a daughter, Amber, and son-in-law Maurice, and "Ginga" to granddaughter Kayden and grandson Ethan. One of her slogans is "Don't let the 'but's' in your life keep you from achieving your God given goals." To contact Virginia Brown please email [email protected]

Tracey Wallace

Corresponding Secretary

Tracey is an educator with over 30 years of experience in public education. Her professional roles include serving as assistant principal and principal at Fred Douglass Elementary (Jacksonville ISD), 1997-2002. She possesses a growth mindset and is passionate about promoting personal and professional growth in herself, as well as others. She is a life-long learner who sees challenges as opportunities for growth. Tracey and her late husband, Larry, are the parents of three beautiful children, Ashley, Lance, and Collin. She is “Gigi” to six amazing grandchildren, Landon, Logan, Larryn, Lennox, Rhyse, and Cayden. Her desire is to plant and nurture seeds in each of them so they make a difference (for the good) in the lives of others. She is the daughter of Fred Douglass High School graduates, the late Donald Ray Esco and Charlie Mae (Scott) Esco. (Class of 1959) Motto: Do what you love and love what you do! To contact Tracey Wallace please email [email protected].

● Gymnasium at Joe Elementary School (Jacksonville ISD, 2012) where Tracey attended school was dedicated in her name.
● Favorite Teacher Award


The mission of the Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation (FDCDC) is to advance the social and economic well-being of low and moderate income individuals and families in and around Jacksonville, Texas. Our mission will be achieved through a comprehensive education and community development strategy which includes programs and services designed to benefit children youth, adults and senior citizens.

FDCDC has a fundamental belief that poverty cycles can be broken by education, hard work and opportunity. We envision youth in Jacksonville growing up with dreams of becoming confident and successful citizens that are positively affecting the quality of life in their community. Our belief is if they are given the proper tools, resources and guidance they are morel likely to fulfill their destiny.

Our History:

The FDCDC is a 501c(3) non-profit organization launched during 2009 in response to un-met community needs identified by the Fred Douglass Alumni Association whose members have roots in the Jacksonville community for many decades and generations. FDCDC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and has a large base of volunteers that are committed to the positive development of all youth and families in the area, regardless of their economic, ethnic or social status.

Proposed Programs and Services

The programs and services proposed by the Fred Douglass Empowerment Center include (not all-inclusive):

*Serving as a state of the art resource center for affordable housing programs, access to healthcare, promotion of small businesses and economic development, neighborhood empowerment, workforce training and social enterprise.

*Providing a safe and secure environment where services and educational programs are offered to individuals, families, youth and senior citizens in the areas targeted in the organization’s mission.

*Development of a multiservice center that will house many of the services addressed above as well as others that may be identified by community need.

*A family literacy program, possibly including GED assistance

*Before and after school care/activities for youth at risk

*Various activities for youth from elementary through high school age, including sports

*Mentoring/role model programs that encourage and prepare for college acceptance

*Job assistance programs (Job Bank)

*Various programs that assist the elderly and for single parents

*Community meetings and special events rental space
*Health and health care screenings (Diabetes/High Blood Pressure/Mammograms)

*Food and Clothing programs for the needy

*Computer Lab with internet access (Digital Divide)

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Problem Statement

Problem Statement: There are too many families and youth residing in Jacksonville, Texas without access to critically-needed positive development programs and services that lead to economic independence, self-sufficiency, academic success and a life (free) from public welfare assistance. The Fred Douglass Empowerment Center (Center) will provide a central location for citizens in Jacksonville to participate in a one-stop multi-purpose Center that will provide programs and opportunities designed with an outcome of a “hand-up” to those in need, instead of a hand-out.

The Center’s service area will include the most distressed and poverty-stricken neighborhoods in the city. This area has an alarming and growing number of high-risk youth and school dropouts without access to proven, holistic programs that address the area’s pervasive problems with school failure, truancy, drugs, life-skills, counseling, workforce training, crime rates and skills development.

Additionally, there are many adults and heads of households that need workforce training, educational remediation, technology training and occupational trades programs that can lead to living wage employment (above the poverty level) or small business stimulus assistance for entrepreneurial projects.

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