Past Initiatives

Early Childhood Faith Initiative

Also known as the “child poverty initiative,” was a partnership with Durham’s Partnership for Children.  This effort, led by Winnie Morgan, sought to affirm the role of congregations in serving the needs of children.   The initiative continued for several years before concluding in 2014.

Faith Summit on Child Poverty

Held on January 23, 2013, this citywide event was attended by 500 community leaders, focused on ways to reduce the 28% child poverty rate.  REAL Durham was one of the initiatives that emerged from the Summit where a priority emerged:  to develop intentional relationships across the lines of privilege, race, and class.

Durham Economic Resource Center (DERC)

To address adult poverty, in 2008 EPD established Durham Economic Resource Center (DERC), a distribution center for low-cost products, which served as a magnet for job training.  Start-up coordinator was Micheline Ridley Malson.  This initiative served hundreds of individuals who came to purchase inexpensive products, with many staying for job training. Based on the model developed by Odell Cleveland’s Welfare Reform Liaison Project in Greensboro, the Durham venture:

1) provided discounted products to member non-profit and faith –based organizations to alleviate basic needs among the poor, ill, and elderly;

2)  established a simulated workplace, a distribution warehouse and worksite where chronically unemployed and “hard-to-employ” individuals receive supervised on-the-job training and support services and follow-up; and

3) fostered and brokered strategic partnerships among faith-based organizations, community organizations, businesses, as well as public and private organizations to help address the root causes of poverty.

DERC was supported by various grants and individual contributions.  The initiative concluded in 2017.   A sister organization, StepUp Durham continues to train low income residents with job placement a priority.