• Lancaster Lofts – Open Studios for Creative People
  • Exterior – Front
  • Gorgeous northern exposure
  • Sleeping area
  • Loft Kitchen
  • Spacious bathroom
  • Loft interior
  • Open Studios for Creative People
  • Gated Access
  • Exterior – Rear

My Story

Posted by Flora Alexandra No Commented Sunday, July 21st, 2013

I was talking to some very smart people in the donor community last week to get advice on the Day Resource Center for the Homeless, a consistently struggling and under-funded agency providing the only walk-in day services for people who are homeless in the city of Fort Worth.  I heard something from these donor friends that I have heard from time to time before – that people think I invest in organizations like the Day Resource Center only because I own property on East Lancaster.  The irony is that the truth is just the opposite:  I bought property on East Lancaster because I cared about people who are homeless.  My donor friends told me that people don’t know my story, so how could they understand?  This, after I had just spent 20 minutes talking about the last 15 years on East Lancaster with my cheeks aflame.  So, although few may ever see it here, here, on Lancaster Lofts website – the first property I bought on East Lancaster – is where I choose to document my story.

In 1990, my father bought a company called International Music Corporation out of bankruptcy.  He bought it because he liked the part of the company that was Rhythm Band Instruments (RBI), an international supplier of musical instruments for elementary education.  For 5 years, he tried various strategies to make the whole company sustainable and ended up selling off everything but RBI.  (My father was one of the top financial minds of his generation and former executive vice president of the LTV corporation – another story.)  Concurrently, I had been head of training and organization development at General Dynamics which became a Lockheed Martin corporation.  Through a series of events (another very long story), my career had moved into a senior administrative staff role and I just wasn’t having fun anymore.  My father, knowing this, invited me to run and rebuild RBI’s operations after the major sell-off.  So, in 1996, I resigned from Lockheed and went to run a $5M distribution company on East Lancaster Avenue.  I took about 2 years to get the company stabilized and my attention began to focus on the neighborhood around me.

To understand why, I should tell you that for some unknown reason, I was programmed from birth to be a member of the helping professions.  I decided at 13 that I wanted to be a music therapist, focused volunteer activities on people with disabilities, and got a degree at Michigan State University in music therapy and vocal performance/pedagogy.  I did my clinical internship at Terrell State Hospital and emerged to look for a job in 1980.  Only there were no music therapy jobs and I was working at Del Taco.  So, my father gave me a chance to start over.  While my husband was pursuing a master of special education at the University of Kansas, I completed a master of public administration with a specialization in human resource management.  I really thought I would end up running a nursing home somewhere.  But being mainly worried about being gainfully employed, I took a lot of classes in the business school and ended up in 1981 with a job in human resources working for a defense contractor.  Not a career anyone who knew me would have anticipated.

So back to East Lancaster, RBI, about 1998.  I discovered that there was a wonderful city of small businesses and agencies that did good work out there called Fort Worth.  I started serving on nonprofit boards and became a volunteer business consultant to nonprofit organizations through the Nonprofit Service Center (now the Center for Nonprofit Management West).  to be continued…