Author Archive | Jonathan Young

Give Creatively this Holiday!

5 Creative Ways to Give to CEF this Holiday

1. Give in Honor of Somone You Love!

Give a gift that invests in your community! Donate “in honor of a loved one” and we’ll send them a personalized note to let them know you made a gift in their name!  https://communityempowermentfund.org/donate/

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2. Donate Monthly – Become a Sustaining Donor!

Monthly Donors are a part of CEF’s Founder’s Circle. They are the monthly sustainers of our work and they provide CEF dependable monthly funds that ensure CEF Members continue to receive 1-on-1 that supports sustained into housing and financial well-being! Click here to join the Funder’s Circle: https://communityempowermentfund.org/founders-circle/

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3.  Amazon Smile – Donate When You Shop!

Amazon Smile is a program where Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to any charity of your choosing at no additional cost to you! Click here to support CEF when you shop online. Click here to start using Amazon Smile:  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-0428981

4. American Express Giving – Donate Your Points!

Do you have an American Express card with a bunch of credit care points that you would consider donating a portion of to CEF? Click here to donate your points:  https://amex.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=27-0428981

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5.  Ebay – Make a Sale and Donate the Proceeds!

Do you have some clutter that might be worth something? Do you need a motivator to clean out? You can actually sell your things on Ebay and donate 100% of the sale to CEF! :  https://givingworks.ebay.com/charity/Community-Empowerment-Fund/1340463

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Meet JV: CEF Staff Interview

JV Alencar: CEF Workforce & Finances Specialist

The oppressive structures that exist here in Durham and in this country are always transforming and creating bigger barriers. I believe that long-lasting change happens through radical human connections like those at the core of CEF, and networks of support can be sources of fuel for us as we navigate through everyday challenges. We need energy, love, and encouragement, and we can gain those from positive interactions with our community.


How did you get involved with CEF?

I initially got involved with CEF my freshman semester at Duke in 2013 at the recommendation of upperclassmen who were involved with student leadership. At the time, I was looking for a way to engage with the local Durham community in which I would be living for the next four years. Over the years, I have grown to cherish this group of passionate folks who are so committed to building financial independence. When I found out about this opportunity to continue with CEF after graduation through AmeriCorps Vista, I knew I had to apply!

Why is connecting with people important?

The oppressive structures that exist here in Durham and in this country are always transforming and creating bigger barriers. I believe that long-lasting change happens through radical human connections like those at the core of CEF, and networks of support can be sources of fuel for us as we navigate through everyday challenges. We need energy, love, and encouragement, and we can gain those from positive interactions with our community.

Tell us about your background

I was born in Recife, Brazil, but I have spent the majority of my life in Columbia, South Carolina.  I graduated from Duke University in May 2017 with a degree in Economics and Global Health with a focus on sustainable community development both domestically and internationally. In college, I worked in projects focusing on topics like access to education and affirmative actions in poor neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, innovative methods to increase human resource capacity in the hospitals of rural Ghana, and the historic preservation of communities of color living in the coast of the Carolinas. I was an advocate with CEF concurrently with my studies, and my time here has definitely influenced my pursuits.

What inspires you?

I like looking to art and music when I need to be reenergized. Whenever I see a piece that I really connect with, it gives me the push to pursue my own creativity. I also love hearing people talk about their passions which is why I am subscribed to over a hundred podcasts on my phone! I think history is so important in work like CEF’s. It is important to acknowledge that we don’t work in isolation but in dialogue with people who have come before us. Revisiting and retelling those histories keeps the energy alive.

What do you think will be your greatest challenge?

Currently, a big personal challenge is switching from a student Advocate perspective to one of a Staff member and an AmeriCorps Fellow. A lot of my time with CEF has been spent focusing on Member meetings and Office Hours, as a regular advocate and as a student leader in MAC team. My position now is focused on developing the resources behind those meetings. It is definitely a different way of thinking about things, but I am excited about the challenge.

What projects are you excited about right now?

I am looking forward to further developing data methods and systems for evaluation. CEF has a lot of space to grow in the ways that it uses data to analyze and inform program decisions.  CEF prioritizes and values the very human and vulnerable side of our work. Bringing numbers and statistics to these conversations has historically been dehumanizing, so we want to be extremely careful in how we integrate data alongside the experiences and feedback of CEF Members. I am curious to explore and imagine an approach that respects and contributes to our collective values and stories.  

Fun Fact: in 2016 JV was still a DUKE student and he very bravely stepped on to UNC’s campus for the “Pie-A-Dookie” Fundraiser!

 

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Piggy Bank Bash 2017

If you walked by Chapel Hill St. in Durham last Monday night you might have heard the CEF Advocacy Choir singing out before a crowd of over 100 attendees! You might have seen CEF Member Steven handing CEF Co-director, Maggie an oversized check, a donation to CEF for $500! You could have stepped into and heard Advocates and Members sharing their stories and how they’ve become apart of a transformative community at CEF. The 2nd Annual Piggy Bank Bash hosted by GRUB Durham,  and was a night to be remembered and held in our minds-eye as we seek out love and joy in community.

Thank you so much to everyone that came out to eat and sing and celebrate CEF Members and the amazing community we are a part of! We are so thankful for the amazing support from Grub Durham to all the Members and Advocates and Board Members that came out to volunteer their time, to Erick for his amazing work on the mural, and to Local YogurtThe Cookery, and Pauli Murray Project for donating raffle prizes!

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Congratulations Donna

Congratulations to Donna Carrington, CEF’s Housing Stabilization Specialist for winning the Humanitarian Service Award from Duke Chapel!

“As a change agent and a dedicated champion, Donna has worked tirelessly with Members to navigate crises, access resources, budget, repair credit, save money and build stability. She brings her full self with authenticity and courage, often drawing from the depths of her own experiences to offer support to others as they walk their own paths!”

Read more about the award and the amazing work that Donna does here:  https://today.duke.edu/2017/10/duke-chapel-service-award-goes-2-durham-community-leaders

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Paige is a Homebuyer

CEF matched savings accounts support Members in reaching goals all along the continuum from homelessness to homeownership! We launched a new program in 2016 to support first-time homebuyers with Reinvestment Partners and the Duke Homebuyers Club.

Paige was one of the first 5 CEF Members to successfully purchase their own home! Paige worked incredibly hard and with amazing focus to reach her goal in just ten months. In addition to her full-time job at Duke, she worked extra jobs in order to stay on track with her financial goals. She participated in CEF’s Financial Coaching program and was able to pay off debts and improve her credit score, qualifying her for an affordable mortgage. Meanwhile, she successfully saved for her down payment and closing costs, receiving a dollar-for-dollar match from CEF!

Paige is proud to be a homeowner. Some of the best parts? Her mortgage payment is actually cheaper than her rent payments were, and she is building an asset for the long term!

This story about Paige was featured in CEF’s 2016 Annual Report!

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OAR: Groundwater Event Co-Sponsorship

Saturday, December 2nd — 9am-12pm

Orange-Organizing Against Racism (Orange-OAR) and CEF are co-sponsoring REI’s “Groundwater Presentation,” an event designed to introduce people to the realities of racially-determined inequities in all of the United States’ foundational systems and institutions. Groundwater is an effective tool for disarming defensiveness and opening constructive conversations about the nature and impact of racism within our particular organizations and communities.
        Registration is $15, and childcare will be provided.
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Piggy Bank Bash 2017

Today's the Day!

You may purchase or pick up your tickets at the door.

Where to Park: You may park in the lot across the street from the restaurant (Address: 1200 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701)

  • Park in the spots dedicated to the offices (they share the same lot as the Durham Co-op Market).
  • Cross the street at the nearby crosswalk, and you’ll be there!

When: Monday, November 6th, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: GRUB Durham, the newest restaurant by Durham-based restaurateurs Wendy Woods and Stacey Poston

Ticket Price: $30

Ticket price includes admission to the event, a delicious dinner (including a meatball bar with vegan options!), and one drink ticket

 

Join us on Monday, November 6th to support the innovative work of the Community Empowerment Fund through a fundraiser hosted by GRUB Durham. This will be a night of education, food, drink, and camaraderie. There will be ample opportunities to learn about CEF’s work and mission at the event, while meeting CEF members, supporters, West End neighbors, and more.

100% of the ticket proceeds benefit CEF. Purchase tickets here. The GRUB Durham team looks forward to celebrating and supporting CEF’s continuing work with you!

About CEF: CEF supports over 1,000 Members in Durham and Orange Counties experiencing homelessness or financial insecurity to gain jobs, secure housing, and build savings. Founded in 2009, CEF coordinates hundreds of trained volunteer Advocates, primarily from area universities, to work alongside CEF Members towards achieving their personal goals. Click here to learn more about CEF and read stories from CEF’s Members and Advocates.

Can’t make it to the party?

Sponsor a ticket for a CEF Member / Advocate! (mention Piggy Bank Bash in a comment!)

Event Location

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Advocate Training Activity

🗣️👂 CEF Advocate Leadership training in Chapel Hill had us all taking turns, being blindfolded and verbally coached through a maze of symbolic barriers that affect Members as they move towards their goals.

It’s so valuable to use this activity to reflect on what it means to work together with people in the community: How do we speak through different perspectives, identities, and experiences? How do we build shared understanding of the barriers that exist and co-create strategies to navigate through them? How can we work together to move or transform those barriers and shape a more equitable system?

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Christina & Rudy

Christina and Rudy were homeless for three years, supporting each other for safety and survival while living in a tent and simultaneously making incredible strides towards stability. Through CEF and a church called Love Chapel Hill, Christina and Rudy found community and a supportive base from which to pursue employment and transition out of homelessness.

As of May of 2017, they have been off the streets and employed for two full years. Rudy shares, “I think the fact that I was in a house really established me in the workforce.” Christina adds, “I have a full-time job, and I love knowing that when I get off I can come home, sleep in a bed and actually have food that I like that I cook.”

And beautifully, Christina and Rudy just got married! At the ceremony, Rudy made his vows not only to Christina, but to her kids as well. They have amazing plans for their whole family. Rudy shares, “We both want to go back to college…get me a better job, get her some transportation, buy us a house, and then we can look into expanding our family.”

This story about Christina and Rudy was featured in CEF’s 2016 Annual Report!

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CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

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

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