Archive | May, 2023

2022 Annual Report: Joyful Community

A vibrant painting with a cloudy sky, orange sun radiating, and blue, pink, yellow, and black foreground. The words JOYFUL COMMUNITY are in blue in the sky. On the bottom right, the CEF logo and Annual Report 2022 are written in yellow.

2022 was a tremendous year for CEF! Our work was recognized both locally and nationally as we received the highest score on the City of Durham’s American Rescue Plan request for proposals and were honored with GSK’s IMPACT Award and Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders Award. We were also selected as one of ten organizations to participate in Common Future’s 2023 Accelerator program, which will support our work to expand the first-time homebuyer program (see pg. 4). These recognitions demonstrate the importance of CEF’s work, especially as Members continue to recover from financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition to recognition for our work, we also invested time and resources into creating a guide for the next five years. CEF’s new Strategic Plan was created with input from more than 65 community partners, Members, staff, board, and volunteer Advocates. We are so excited to share the plan with you

As we reflect on 2022, we will share stories using our new strategic framework (see pg. 5) as a guide. You will hear from Members about the importance of CEF being a strong & adaptable organization and how impactful organizing and advocacy affects their lives. You will also learn about some emerging programs that respond to Member needs and requests, and how CEF is investing in building a joyful community. 

CEF continues to focus on relationship-based care, with Member/Advocate meetings as the primary way for CEF Members to receive support. The Strategic Plan did not change CEF’s commitment to cultivating opportunities, assets, and communities that support the alleviation of homelessness and poverty–but, rather, it helped us hone in on what is important for CEF to be doing vs. what community partners and other service organizations can do to best support CEF Members. Thank you for being part of this journey with us and trusting us to do the work necessary to best support Members in our quest to end the racial wealth gap and empower the community.


April Newsletter: Join us for a Spring Celebration!

CEF Annual Report Release. Please Join us for a spring celebration of the Community Empowerment Fund! Wednesday, May 24, 2023. 5:30 pm. Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden. 130 S. Estes Drive Chapel Hill, NC. Free. Image has a dark blue background and white text. There are pink, orange, yellow, and blue flowers along the left and right borders.

CEF Annual Report Release!

A Spring Celebration

We’re excited to invite you to a spring celebration and annual report release party on Wednesday, May 24 at the Gene Strowd Rose Garden in Chapel Hill. The event will include short speeches from Donna Carrington, CEF’s Executive Director, a representative of CEF’s Board, and CEF Members. Please join us and invite anyone you know who may be interested in learning more about CEF and how they can support our work!

We're Hiring
Finance & Operations Manager
Advocacy Manager
For details and how to apply visit
Join our Team!

Become a part of the CEF team!

CEF is hiring for two key positions

Join us in our mission to cultivate opportunities, assets, and communities that support the alleviation of homelessness and poverty!

Finance & Operations Manager:

Oversee financial management and oversight, manage CEF’s financial coaching & Safe Savings programs, and ensure compliance with all audit and legal recommendations. This role includes leading budgeting processes, financial statements and projections, financial record-keeping, payroll, and more.

Advocacy Manager:

Manage our advocacy initiatives and ensure our mission, guiding principles, and values are represented in targeted campaigns. Responsibilities include setting advocacy goals, providing guidance to frontline staff, and inspiring others to advocate for safe and affordable living conditions.

Our team is dedicated to building a joyful community focused on ending the racial wealth gap and empowering community! If you share our passion, apply now for one of our open positions.

CEF Durham is recruiting!

Summer Internships and Volunteer Advocates!

Are you looking for a meaningful paid internship or volunteer opportunity this summer in Durham?

CEF offers paid full and part-time Summer Internships for community members interested in deepening their skills, expanding their knowledge of community resources, and working directly with CEF Members on their goals.

CEF’s Durham office is also seeking additional volunteer Advocates this summer! Advocates volunteer at-least 2 hours/week, working directly with Members as they move forward with their goals.

Both Interns and Advocates will receive in-person training and have staff available to support them throughout their time at CEF.

Learn more and find the applications at the link below. Apply by this Sunday at midnight!

Meet the Team
Durham Office & Community Organizer - Sydney Pender
Staff Support - Hannah Lyles

CEF Staff Highlights

Meet Sydney & Hannah

Sydney is the Durham Office & Community Organizer. She started at CEF as an Advocate in fall 2021. Hannah is new to CEF, and the Triangle, and provides Staff Support for both the Durham and Chapel Hill Offices.

Learn more about their backgrounds, how they connected with CEF, and challenges they face in their roles at the links below!

CEF Durham Housing Debt Assistance Fund
To support Durham residents in settling housing debts related to COVID-19.
-Past-due utilities
-Past-due rent
-Mortgage delinquency
-Eviction costs

Durham Housing Debt Assistance

The Community Empowerment Fund received funding to support Durham residents in settling housing related debts related to COVID-19. This includes past-due utilities, past-due rent, mortgage delinquency, and eviction costs. There is no limit to the requested amount; however, all debts must have been accumulated AFTER February 2020 and the Housing Debt Assistance Fund can only be accessed once. Currently, funds are only available to people who did not receive assistance from the Durham Emergency Rental Assistance Program or another rent relief program. In July, funds will be open to anyone who qualifies, even if they have received previous assistance from other funding sources.

Resource Alert

Resources of the Month

Orange County Resource of the Month

This month, Imanie would like to highlight the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid NC. The Fair Housing Project works to eliminate housing discrimination and to ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through education, outreach, public policy initiatives, advocacy and enforcement. Informational materials are available on their website.

If you believe you are a victim of discrimination in housing, contact the Fair Housing Project for assistance at (855)-797-3247 or by email at They can assist you in filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or other appropriate administrative or judicial bodies. They can provide free and confidential legal consultation about specific situations.

Durham County Resource of the Month:

This month, the Durham office would like to highlight StepUp Durham. StepUp Durham offers a variety of employment readiness workshops that teach the skills needed to find and sustain employment. The classes are designed specifically for individuals facing barriers to finding employment, such as a criminal background or gaps in employment history. StepUp connects job seekers with StepUp partner employers while participants execute the skills they have learned to further their own job search.

If you are interested in their next job skills workshop register here or call their office at 919-973-0890.

May Office Hours

Office Availability Updates

CEF Durham’s Office Hours:

May 1-19:

Tuesday & Thursday: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm & 5:00-7:00 pm

CLOSED May 22-30

Summer office hours begin May 31.


CEF Chapel Hill’s Office Hours:

Monday-Thursday: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Thursday: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Friday: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

CLOSED May 22-31

Can I still make a virtual appointment?

Yes! CEF Members with the capacity to meet through online video chat software (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet) or over the phone will be encouraged to continue with this option. You can specify this option when you call the office to make an appointment.


We recognize that we work and CEF’s offices are located on the unceded territories of the Eno, Lumbee, Occaneechi, Saponi, Shakori, and Skaruhreh/Tuscarora tribes. We acknowledge and respect the ancestral & present land stewardship and place-based knowledge of the peoples of these territories. Please support them directly.

CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

Chapel Hill: 919-200-0233 Durham: 919-797-9233