CEF is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization led by CEF staff and volunteer leadership teams
Donna Carrington, She/Her
Donna leads our Durham geography team, working with staff, student leaders, and Members in our Durham office. She stewards organizational vision health and vision for all of CEF and is engaged actively in Durham’s partnership building activities toward housing stability. Donna’s passions are music, Jeopardy, Mahjong, and cooking shows.
Jon Youngpenn, He/Him
Co-Director : Full-Time
Jon, part of the team of UNC students who founded CEF in 2009, works across Orange and Durham County developing tech systems in and out of Connect, CEF’s database and volunteer platform. He additionally leads CEF’s communications and evaluation efforts. Based out of the Chapel Hill office, Jon works as an advocate directly with Members and in support of Chapel Hill Advocates and Leadership Team. Jon’s passions include Spotify playlists, keeping rss feeds alive, people watching, and making pretty things. He eats a bag of broccoli, nuts and snap-peas on the daily.
Janet Xiao, She/Her
Co-Director : Full-Time
Janet planted CEF’s Durham office in 2011 and supports organzation-wide fundraising and administration efforts. She supports service delivery to Members in Durham, and also represents CEF in community meetings and efforts toward system-wide change in Durham. Janet enjoys marine animals, scifi/fantasy, PC gaming, eating, reflecting on decoloniality, and the Internet.
Durham County Team
Rosa Green, She/Her
Office Services Coordinator – Part-Time
Rosa is CEF Durham Front Office Coordinator also known as the “Office Queen” proud member turned employee. She supports the Durham office staff, Advocates and Members with anything administrative. Rosa is passionate about helping CEF Members in the same way ” as I would want to be helped,” and strives to represent the organization in her community. Rosa enjoys music, eating, dance, meaningful conversations, and self-reflection!
Leah Whitehead, She/Her
Advocate Program Coordinator Full-Time
Leah coordinates the Advocate program in our Durham office, overseeing training and management of volunteers. She supports CEF’s partnerships with Duke University, including the Advocate training house course. She is passionate about working collectively to support the resiliency of her community and believes wholeheartedly that ALL people are creative, resourceful, and whole. In her free time, Leah enjoys being in nature with her given and chosen family (especially her dog, Sandy), participating in dance parties, being creative, riding motorcycles, and reading books that remind her that the world is full of possibility.
Kevin Atkins, He/Him
Housing Access Coordinator – Durham – Full-Time
Kevin is working to create a better housing system in Durham County by increasing access to affordable units available through private landlords and developing tools to navigate barriers and locate housing.
Orange County Team
Kristina Smith, She/Her
Advocate Program Coordinator – Full-Time
Michael Wood, He/Him
Opportunity Class Leader Part Time
Mike leads the Saturday morning Opportunity Class. CEF’s Opportunity Class meets weekly and covers topics from personal finance to job readiness to health, as well as teaching self-sufficiency and how to obtain permanent housing.
Diiv Sternman, They/Them
Member Services Coordinator Full-Time
Diiv oversees service delivery to all of the Members in the Chapel Hill office, ensuring that Members receive the services they seek working with CEF Advocates. Diiv supports and coordinates with Advocates to help them find the right resources to assist Members in reaching their goals and to identify helpful strategies for working together and building effective Member-Advocate relationships. Diiv also oversees the OC Hub in the Chapel Hill office, coordinating partner agencies to co-locate services and provide coordinated care across systems countywide. Diiv is passionate about Social Justice (think globally/build locally!), cooperativity and interdependence (food coops, farming coops, housing coops, consensus building, coordinated care, etc.), post-colonial literature, growing edible things, eating edible things (especially sweets), and building strong relationships with their (big, messy, complicated, blended) family, friends, and community.
Kevin Tolson, He/Him
Staff Support – Part-Time
Kevin works part-time Staff Support in both the Chapel Hill and Durham offices. He is a Master’s level social worker and professor at North Carolina Central University. He enjoys working in CEF’s environment of diverse cultures, ideas, perspectives as well as challenges. He has a 6 year old grandson he adores, a marriage that has endured for more than 38 years (his poor wife), and a perpetual “claim” of putting his house on the market – for the last three years. He loves food – especially Chicken Pot Pie, Shrimp and Avocado bowls from Diced, and Vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream, but not all at the same time! TCM, Perry Mason, Jazz, and the “occasional” Rachel Maddow are his ear and view jams.
Yvette Mathews, She/Her
Office and Community Organizer Full-Time
Yvette is the captain of the ship in the Chapel Hill office, leading the front of the house including reception, welcoming, and administration. Yvette also leads community advocacy efforts in Chapel Hill and is the creator and director of the CEF Advocacy Choir! Yvette is the first face many Members and Advocates see when they enter the office, and effectively ensures that everyone who walks through the door is cared for and leaves happy (and keeps CEF’s Office Agreements!).
Zach Meredith, He/Him
Workforce Development Fellow Full Time
Zach serves as CEF’s Workforce Development Fellow, an AmeriCorps VISTA position facilitated through CEF’s partnership with the IDA and Asset Building Collaborative of North Carolina. He will oversee efforts to expand employment access in Orange County through the development of resources and programs drawing together businesses, CEF, and other social agencies. In his free time, Zach likes to run, spend time with friends, learn about history (particularly local, social, architectural), and listen to music (all genres but especially pop).
Kyle Compton, He/Him
Social Work Intern
Kyle is placed at CEF through the UNC School of Social Work. He is excited to learn from Members, Advocates, and staff. He will support several aspects of CEF programming and bring an empathetic perspective to all of his work. Kyle enjoys movies, concerts, and anything outdoors.