Who and what makes and holds community has been at the core of Dara’s personal and professional pursuits. Supporting people, especially Black and other people of color, in waking up to their own power and accountability to create communities that work for and honor their needs, desires, and brilliance is what motivates her– even in the complexity and chaos that comes with collective people endeavors.
As an urban planner and architect with a focus on centering voices of communities of color in policy design, strategy development and impact measurement, Dara uses her roles, skills and network to advance opportunities to build wealth and power in Black and other racially and economically marginalized communities through equitable development and investment practices. Dara is honored to serve her incredible team and board as the first Executive Director of Invest STL in St. Louis, MO, as it pursues a 20-year journey to facilitate investment in the power of people and their neighborhoods to develop communities of justice and opportunity in places that continue to endure the legacy of systemic anti-Black racism. With the commitment to sunset the organization by 2042, Invest STL works to build a thriving, responsive local community development ecosystem by investing in resident-led neighborhood efforts; designing and piloting policies and practices that advance equitable neighborhood transformation; and reframing narratives about our neighborhoods and the people they hold to promote a more complete, nuanced understanding of who we are as a regional community.