The Old Dillard Foundation (ODF) was established in 1994 to support the Old Dillard Museum, originally called “The Colored School” through programming, fundraising and advocacy.
The Old Dillard Museum is a part of a century of education and culture in Fort Lauderdale’s African American community. The Old Dillard Museum is a historical landmark and education center operated by Broward County Public Schools. It has served as an important focal point of education and culture for Fort Lauderdale’s African-American community since its construction in the early 20th century.
Built on land purchased from Fort Lauderdale pioneers Frank and Ivy Stranahan, Old Dillard was the city’s first school for African-American students in 1907. It is named for Dr. James Hardy Dillard, a prominent philanthropist and educator.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum’s goal is to promote the heritage of the first national African-American landmark in Broward County by preserving the building and its contents, providing enriching exhibitions and cultural activities, and supporting educational opportunities related to Black history. The organization also seeks to integrate cultural and educational programs with the heritage, revitalization and development of Fort Lauderdale’s historically African-American Sistrunk corridor.
In 2015, ODF Foundation Board made the decision to expand its footprint in Broward County and was part of the Destination Sistrunk Pilot. Sistrunk Boulevard is the historical heartbeat of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest Black community, best known as the site of the area’s hospital for Blacks during segregation.
- Supports the entire Sistrunk neighborhood, both Broward Municipal Services District and the City of Fort Lauderdale.
- Establishes Sistrunk as an emerging Cultural District that will leverage and bring innovation to multiple County and City economic, tourism, transit, cultural and workforce development programs and initiatives.
- Includes over 60 historic & heritage sites, over 15 public and private cultural facilities, the Sistrunk Artists in Residence Program, the STEP UP Apprenticeship Program, and the new RISE Center for Art, Design, Research, Development & Technology.
- Since piloting began in 2015, Destination Sistrunk has engaged over 4,000 individuals through over 60 different events and activities including classes, concerts, seminars, and workshops.
As a result of the success of this pilot, ODF became a formal partner and a lead agency in the process to make the Sistrunk Corridor an official part of the cultural tourism of Broward County.
The partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Ft Lauderdale, (HACFL) led to the new location at 821 NW 12th Terrace, The ODF Arts and Heritage House, located in the Historic Sistrunk Corridor.