The Ebby House: A Place to Dream Big

This story by Stewart Lytle appeared on the front page of the DFW Real Estate Finder section of The Dallas Morning on August 24, 2014. 


Sabrina Porter, president and CEO of Juliette Fowler Communities, presents Ebby Halliday Acers with a chrysalis at The Ebby House ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Named for real estate legend Ebby Halliday Acers, The Ebby House at Juliette Fowler Communities will be home and a classroom for young women who have aged out of the foster-care system.


The first young woman accepted to live in The Ebby House at Juliette Fowler Communities in Lakewood has been in the foster-care system since she was a toddler. Like many foster kids, she became troubled as a teenager and drifted to various residential facilities, hospitals and finally to the streets.


She developed strong survival skills. At The Ebby House she will learn other life skills, like how to open and manage a bank account, wash clothes and walk onto a college campus with confidence.


Later this month, the first resident of the soon-to-open, former nurses’ dormitory will enter Dallas County Community College.


“She has hopes and dreams, and we are going to help her achieve them,” said Kristen Mazza, executive director of The Ebby House.


Named for Ebby Halliday Acers, philanthropist and founder of Dallas-based Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc., the house will soon be home to eight young women who have aged out of the foster system, but who are lacking the support system and life skills necessary to navigate early adulthood, said Sabrina Porter, president and CEO of Juliette Fowler Communities. Over the next five years, 16 former foster girls, ages 18 to 24, will live and learn many life lessons in The Ebby House.


Porter, a veteran warrior of helping young women make better choices, believes that The Ebby House is the fulfillment of the dream Juliette Fowler espoused before her death in the late 19th century. Dallas’ first philanthropist dreamed of caring for older adults, young female teachers and orphans.


In recent years, Juliette Fowler Communities has focused primarily on elder care. Its orphanage closed in the 1970s.


Porter, who came to Juliette Fowler three years ago, re-established an inter-generational environment at the Abrams Road community with the support of her 32-member board. Through collaborative efforts with Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services, foster care in Dallas is provided in a home within the retirement community, as well as throughout Dallas County. She brought in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, called Generations and Beyond School Walls.


With The Ebby House, Porter and her team will provide what the former foster girls and the senior residents need most – a big, interactive family.


Porter met Halliday at an event when they were seated together. Porter told the real estate icon about the new residential facility for young women and asked if she could name the house for Halliday.


The Ebby name has proven to be magic. It brought in scores of donors and volunteers who helped reconstruct the old dormitory, landscape the grounds and provide scholarships for the young women. Having Ebby as a role model, Porter said, will inspire each of the young women who live there to dream big.


If you are interested in how you can be involved with The Ebby House, contact Ms. Mazza at 214-515-1330.