The East Dallas Cooperative Parish provides its member churches two necessities to survive – volunteers and money.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that it does take a willingness and a dream, but that dream must be funded,” says Rev. Jimmie Mobley of Lakewood United Methodist Church.

“Without our financial supporters, it wouldn’t be possible. Plus, the great commitment of our volunteers who keep the ministries open.”

The Parish has 501( c ) 3 status, making it a federally registered nonprofit agency. Since many businesses and organizations can’t donate money directly to churches, the Parish’s nonprofit status makes money available for the ministries that otherwise wouldn’t be there, Mobley says.

The Parish’s annual operating budget is $1.3 million. Since most programs are staffed with volunteers, a majority of the money is used to provide services, Mobley says.

A $150,000 grant from Highland Park United Methodist Church funded the Parish’s start-up. During the first few years of operation, a consultant was brought in to help the ministers organize, Mobley says.

“One of the reasons we’re successful is we don’t have a director,” Mobley says. “All the ministers are involved – we’re hands on.”

Elizabeth Blessing, the Parish’s administrative assistant, takes care of day-to-day tasks. The Parish is run by a board comprised of the senior minister and three lay representatives from each congregation, Mobley says.

Before a new ministry is started, the board is consulted for approval.

“East Dallas Cooperative Parish is a model for community outreach,” Mobley says. “You can do more when you work together.”

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