Legacy in Action: David Raines’ Gift to the Community

By Julie Langley

avid Raines, known for his philanthropy in Shreveport, made lasting contributions with his time and resources. His vision, still influential today, provides both recreational spaces and vital medical services to the community.

David Herndon Raines, born in 1860, was much more than a prosperous farmer and businessman with significant oil holdings in Shreveport. A deeply committed Christian and philanthropist, he was dedicated to improving the lives of black youth and the community. Raines, known for constructing the first African American church in the Herndon community, was especially invested in the welfare of boys labeled as “juvenile delinquents.” Understanding the importance of proper facilities for these young boys, he donated 22 acres of land in north Shreveport, now known as the Martin Luther King, Jr. area, for their rehabilitation and growth. This land, initially used for the boys’ home and later leased to the David Raines Association, eventually became the site of the community center that bears his name. 



The David Raines Community Center and Park, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., sits on 17 acres in Shreveport.


The community center houses the North Shreveport Caddo Community Action Agency facilities that include a model Head Start program, an extension childcare program from LSU Medical Center, a Shreve Memorial Library, and a park.


The David Raines Community Center is managed under Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation (SPAR) whose mission is to “provide the citizens and visitors of Shreveport cultural opportunities and leisure services by creating a vital parks and recreation system offering quality of life services, promoting natural space, enhancing the local economy and improving community service.”



While the David Raines Community Center serves the community’s recreational and educational needs, the David Raines Community Health Center expands on this foundation, addressing health and wellness for Shreveport’s residents.


With a mission of providing medical, pediatric, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, WIC, and school-based health centers in nine schools, the David Raines Community Health Center (DRCHC) works to be “the provider of choice for quality health care and an advocate for services that improve the quality of life.”


The DRCHC is under the umbrella of a board of directors who work to oversee this unique program that provides quality health care to everyone.


“We are a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), more commonly known as Community Health Center (CHC), [which] is a primary care center that is community-based and patient directed,” DRCHC Community Development Coordinator Char Thomas said. “By mission and design, CHCs exist to serve those who have limited access to healthcare, although all are welcome. We also receive grant funding.”


David Raines’ legacy lives on in Shreveport, not just in the bricks and mortar of the community center and health facility but in the countless lives enriched through these community resources. His vision continues to foster a healthier Shreveport, proving that true philanthropy goes beyond mere donations — it builds foundations for the future.

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