January 2, 2015
In 1985, members of the Kiwanis Club of Richardson, Texas, were asked to build a wheelchair ramp for a friend. That initial effort, and the next, and the next, resulted in the organization of the Dallas Ramp Project and development of a system for providing wheelchair ramps to the needy in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, at no cost to the recipient.
Around 1990, as requests for ramps increased, the organizers of the Dallas Ramp Project began conducting research at local hospitals and rehab centers to determine what actual need for wheelchair ramps existed and how such needs were being met. Upon discovering the need for safe residential wheelchair ramps was great and, in fact, not being met, the organizers began to examine ways to create a larger, more efficient and effective process for providing ramps.
Over time, a system was developed that addressed the major challenges, including funding, referrals, volunteers, transportation and logistics. The Dallas Ramp Project was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the Richardson Kiwanis. A building model was created that can be easily replicated in other cities and other states.
Since the initial ramp was built in 1985, the number of ramps constructed by the Dallas Ramp Project has grown from 20 in the first five years to about 300 ramps per year today. In all, DRP has built approximately 3,400 total ramps.
The evolution of the Dallas Ramp Project and the expansion of its initial vision resulted in the formation in 2006 of the Texas Ramp Project as a 501(c)(3) organization. The Texas Ramp Project’s mission is to create and support a network of local organizations throughout Texas that build wheelchair ramps for people who cannot afford them. In January 2013 the Dallas Ramp Project became a part of the Texas Ramp Project.