314-399-8812 info@investstl.org




Exploring who and what makes and holds community has been at the core of Dara’s personal and professional pursuits. Supporting people in waking up to their own power and accountability to create communities that work for and honor their needs, desires, and brilliance is what motivates her– even in the complexity and chaos that comes with collective people endeavors. As an urban planner, architect, and philanthropic leader, Dara works to advance opportunities to build wealth and power in Black and other racially and economically marginalized neighborhoods through equitable development and investment practices.

Since 2019, Dara has been proud to serve her incredible team and board as the first CEO of Invest STL. Prior to Invest STL, Dara served in various design, planning, policy, and senior leadership roles in places including Urban Strategies, St. Louis County and St. Louis City governments, and the Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport, CT. Currently, Dara is a member of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Community Development Advisory Council, a board director for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and Art Place Initiative St. Louis, and an advisor for Bloomberg Philanthropy’s Black Wealth Data Center.

Dara earned her graduate degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University in New York and her Bachelor of Architecture from Tuskegee University in Alabama. She is a LEED Accredited Professional for Neighborhood Development and a 2023 Aspen Ascend Fellow and 2024 Aspen Ideas Festival Fellow.

Dara and her two children are proud residents of Hyde Park in North St. Louis City. Her rituals and interests include reading the heavy and the hilarious, being a secret econopolicyist, and trying her best to get on a tennis court at least once a month.


Phone : 314-399-8812   Ext. 103
Email : DEskridge@investstl.org