Darryl Jones a Santa for the young and old throughout the Year


By Dorothy Inman-Johnson
Special to the Outlook

Darryl Jones, now the Deputy Director of the Office of Economic Vitality for Minorities, Women, and Small Business Enterprise Programs, has been like the Santa Claus of Tallahassee for vulnerable residents, small, minority, and women-owned businesses throughout his career, regardless of the position he held. He is a native of Clearwater, Florida; and a graduate of Florida A & M University with a bachelor degree in English. His contributions to Tallahassee/ Leon County, however, far exceed the vocation anticipated upon graduation from FAMU.
He started as a Senior Training Specialist with the FAMU Institute on Urban Policy and Commerce (IUPC), with responsibility for helping dislocated workers with self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Darryl and IUPC assisted the start up of over 30 new businesses in the African-American community during his tenure. In his position at IUPC he, also, was actively involved with grants management, program evaluation, economic development programs, and faith-based initiatives that added greatly to the experience he brought to his next position as Executive Director of the Bethel Community Development Corporation. Many low and moderate income families own their first homes today thanks to Darryl and the Bethel CDC. For 13 years, he was completely devoted to improving the quality of life for families who too often feel forgotten.

He has brought that same devotion and commitment to his current position as Deputy Director of OEV.  The City of Tallahassee and Leon County could not have picked a better prepared, more dedicated community advocate for the position. He is already working to create a program that connects more large local businesses with minority and women-owned businesses to help these small business owners to expand procurement opportunities, creating a boost for the businesses and the local economy.

Darryl’s volunteer service is as extensive as his professional record. His empathy and heart for those in need of an advocate is demonstrated through the organizations he chooses to support as a volunteer. The list is too long to name them all, but included among them are founding board member of the Big Bend Fair Housing Agency, United Partners for Human Services, Leadership Tallahassee Board of Governors, Tallahassee Housing Authority, the Children’s Campaign, the inaugural Vice Chair of the board of the Boys Choir of Tallahassee, and the Board of the PACE Center for Girls. He was also a member of the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Board, the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission, and the Enterprise Zone Development Agency Board that provides tax credit incentives, property tax exemptions, sales tax exemptions, and other tools to spur economic development.

For his outstanding community service he has received recognitions and awards too numerous to list in their entirety; but the following are a few. They include Volunteer of the Year by the Tallahassee Democrat, the Reginald Rolle Economic Development Champion of the Year, Bishop’s Award for Business and Professional Service by Bishop A.J. Richardson, the Alpha Kappa Alpha South Atlantic Region Community Service Award, Delta Sigma Theta’s Community Leadership Award, the NAACP Black Achievers Award, and the FAMU Rattler Pride President’s Award. He is a member of Bethel AME Church where he serves as Church Clerk and is former assistant Chair Pro Temp of the Board of Stewards.

Darryl Jones is the Capital Outlook’s choice for Person of the Week as we approach Christmas because of his giving spirit throughout the year to the poor and vulnerable, assistance to small, minority, and women-owned businesses, and the annual toy drive he organizes that ensures that children in low-income households wake on Christmas morning to find bikes and other special gifts under the tree. Thank you, Darryl, for being an outstanding citizen of our community.

Please send your recommendation for Person of the Week to dotinman-johnson@hotmail.com.