Community Partners

Allen Temple AME Church, CDC of Tampa, Inc. and Hillsborough County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), are the community partners uniquely positioned to provide the resources and equipment for 400 African American participants to fully engage in the research project. At each location, the participants can access the internet to complete the surveys and focus groups in a virtual setting. Refer to the calendar to confirm the hours for each location.

Allen Temple AME Church - Reverend Dr. Glenn B. Dames, Jr.

Reverend Dr. Glenn B. Dames, Jr. has worked diligently as a humble servant, preaching the Gospel and leading God’s people for over 25 years. Pastor Dames began his spiritual journey as a young boy and has since presided over a number of prestigious congregations. At the early age of 12, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and at 15 he responded to his calling to preach the Gospel. Since then, Pastor Dames has served the church as Youth Pastor of the Historic St. James A.M.E. Church in Orange Park, Florida, Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church in Richmond, Virginia and Brown Memorial A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C.

His first full-time charge, he served for over five years as Senior Pastor of the Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church in Starke, FL. Following his service at Mt. Pisgah, Pastor Dames led the people of St. James AME Church, Titusville, FL for 10 years. In November of 2016, Bishop Adam J. Richardson appointed Rev. Dames to serve as the senior pastor of Allen Temple AME Church in Tampa, the flagship church of the West Coast Conference.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Rev. Dr. Dames is a graduate of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville and The Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia where he earned the Master of Divinity. Rev. Dames also has earned the Doctor of Ministry at the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Humility, compassion, and integrity best describe the ministry of Pastor Dames. Experiencing tremendous growth throughout his career, Pastor Dames has been responsible for initiating after-school tutorial programs, remodeling and redesigning church buildings and expanding the church’s witness through web technology, billboards, and other media. Pastor Dames’ ministry extends beyond the four walls of the church and into the community. Known affectionately as the Community’s Pastor, Pastor Dames is active and visible in our schools, hospitals, jails, homes, and all facets of city and county government.

In the almost three years at Allen Temple, he has taken his message from the pulpit and pews to the people where Allen Temple has regularly fed the homeless, fed hurricane Irma victims and adopted an entire low income housing community providing a plethora of social services to include health and wellness testing, education, reading remediation, weekly mentoring with young men of color and tutoring. Under his leadership, his church’s ministries have spent countless hours reaching out to our college community; University of South Florida (Tampa), University of Tampa, and Hillsborough Community College.

He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, a participant of Save African American Boys, a member of the Sons of Allen of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the former North Brevard Branch NAACP President. Highlighting his commitment to social advocacy, his fight against injustice and love for education, he has been featured in USA Today, Florida Today, Democracy Now, Space Coast Living Magazine, and many other publications. Pastor Dames was also one of the recipients of the 2015 LEAD Brevard’s “4 under 40” awards, the Florida Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) Rev. Harvey L. Riley, Bridge Builders award, and the Florida Education Association (FEA) Martin Luther King, Jr. award for Civil Rights.

Although Reverend Dames is very proud of all his achievements and involvements, he is mostly proud to be a loving husband to Dr. Jennifer T. Dames and father to two beautiful girls, Detra and Jailynn Dames, and son, Glenn B. Dames, III (Trey).

Ernest Coney, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, CDC of Tampa, Inc.

Ernest Coney Jr. serves as the Chief Executive Officer of CDC of Tampa. He brought over 15 years of executive management-level experience in providing health, social and economic programs to benefit low to moderate income persons and the elderly. With an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree from the University of South Florida, he developed strong business acumen in the areas of management, finance, and performance improvement.

Prior to CDC, Mr. Coney held positions such as Sr. Actuarial Analyst, Director of Operations, and Finance Administrator for several national healthcare companies.

In 2006, Mr. Coney became the Chief Operations Officer for the CDC of Tampa; expanding the legacy of the Nehemiah Project – Community Building “Brick by Brick and Block by Block”. This was accomplished by creating jobs, providing job training, building community pride, promoting entrepreneurship, providing financial literacy, developing youth leadership, revitalizing commercial areas, and building affordable housing. The non-profit corporation has also enhanced its reach, by helping over 1,000 individuals systematically break the cycle of poverty on an annual basis.

Within the first few years of his tenure as CEO, Mr. Coney leveraged over $50 million dollars in joint venture projects, to include real estate and program service projects. Most notably was the development of Fort King Colony, a 120-unit affordable apartment complex and Haley Park, an 80-unit senior housing complex. He has also helped to create two prominent county-wide, cross sector collaborations – Economic Prosperity Center and Safe & Sound Hillsborough, as well as designed a national award-winning City-Wide Façade Program.

More recently, under his leadership the CDC has created Tampa Vocational Institute (TVI), to address the disproportionate rates of unemployment and underemployment in urban neighborhoods. TVI has increased CDC’s ability to address the growing “skills gap” and corporate training needs for local area businesses and individuals.

Over its 28 years, CDC of Tampa has generated more than $445.25 million in economic impact to the Tampa Bay Region, providing comprehensive community development strategies that connect workforce development, housing and real estate with education, community safety and resident leadership to drive economic prosperity.

Hillsborough County Branch NAACP - Yvette Lewis, President

Yvette Lewis is a native of Tampa, FL who graduated from Chamberlain Sr. High. She received her A.A. degree from Hillsborough Community College and transferred to USF. Yvette completed her B.A. at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University majoring in Early Education with a minor in Biology, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

She was raised with good Christian values. She is a member of New Hope M.B. Church.

After working 20 years in the medical field, she felt God had called her to work and speak for the voiceless people in her community. When the community calls with issues or concerns, she answers the call and is ready to advocate and resolve their issues. She continues to take time out her schedule to visit the sick and shut-in; making sure their basic needs are being met.

While, working on the Political Action committee for the NAACP her talents were noticed, and she was asked to be the Political Action Chair for the NAACP. Yvette is currently the president of the NAACP Hillsborough County branch. It is the largest and most active branch in the state of Florida.

Her other community service roles include past secretary for Ada T. Payne Friends of the Urban Libraries. She currently sits on the Hillsborough County Fair Board representing the urban communities. She also serves on the Community Action Board. Yvette continues to serve on many boards and committees to advocate from her community.

In addition to working in the community, she believes in family. She is the youngest of seven children.

Yvette’s words of strength, “I have come thus far by faith and faith will see me through.”

Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey

Maya Angelou