We began in 1996 as Fortress Church, providing impoverished families and the homeless communtiy in Historic Southside Fort Worth with basic needs such as food and clothing. The strain of operating ministries for both the homeless community and low-income families was soon felt, and the church elders deliberated and prayed about the long-term goals of the Church. At the time (and to this day) there were a dearth of organizations serving Historic Southside families, but there was an abundances of homeless services within a half mile.
As a result, Fortress Church incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2005 and opened Fortress Youth Development Center to address the academic, social, and spiritual needs of the children in our neighborhood. The Church disbanded in 2009, but the faith-based roots of our programs remain a vital part of our mission.
Fortress operates out of a 1905 building originally built as a hotel. After changing hands and housing many different businesses, including a well-known Antiques Store during the 1960s and 1970s, Fortress sat vacant for many years, until it was purchased by a young drug dealer in 1991. The young man was tragically killed in the building as a result of his collaboration his police as an informant. His parents, who inherited the building, wanted to leave a positive legacy for their son’s life and sold the building to the then-young Fortress Church at a steeply discounted price.