Archive | Research + Publications

$1,000,000 Dollars Saved!

🐖One giant pig. One million dollars saved.💰

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to the Piggy Bank Bash to celebrate CEF Members’ amazing accomplishment last night. We’re proud to be part of such an amazingly supportive community and extremely thankful for all of the warmth and encouragement shared and received last night. We’re also filled with gratitude at the generosity of Grub, who generously hosted and fed us all for free, and all of our West End neighbors and friends, who pitched in with raffle prizes ( Pauli Murray Project, The Cookery, and Steel String  ) and supplying a sound system (the Durham Co-op Market 🎤).

Partners from Families Moving Forward, Self-Help, Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, Vimala’s Curryblossom Café also came out and shared their support in full force! If you want to continue partying it up with CEF this year, we hope to see you at Steel String on Wed, November 14 at CEF’s Night Out at Steel String


2018 Orange County Affordable Housing Summit Report

In February, over 175 community leaders showed up to the Orange County Affordable Housing Summit last to learn about the state of the affordable housing crisis! It was an amazing opportunity to build a shared understanding and collaborate in developing real solutions to increase housing access and affordability in this community!

This month, the official Summit Report was released by the Orange County Affordable Housing Coalition. It’s an amazing resource that summarizes learning from the 2018 Summit, including the current state of affordable housing in Orange County, potential solutions to the affordable housing crisis, and information from community partners on affordable housing projects! Learn more at .


Annual Report 2017 : We Are Interwoven

“When you are with CEF, you are a part of the thread that makes us all one community.” Chinita is a CEF graduate, and her poetic statement during a CEF celebration perfectly describes the palpable connectivity in this community.

Whether we’re weaving together programs and resources to form a holistic network of support, or connecting our Members and Advocates together in people-centered relationships, CEF is steadily crafting a beautiful, interconnected, and interwoven community.”


CEF Advocacy Choir Performs at UNC Memorial Hall

The CEF Advocacy Choir had the amazing experience of performing at Memorial Hall to close out the first half of a show by the UNC Loreleis this past weekend! Yvette Mathews is a part of CEF’s Staff team in Orange County, and the director of the Advocacy Choir. She has re-written the lyrics to many popular tunes to sing about issues faced by CEF Members – especially about affordable housing.

If you missed this performance, come check out he CEF Advocacy Choir at the CEF Art Show on April 21st or the Chapel Hill Spring Graduation Party on April 28th!

Sing with Us!

Call Yvette at 919-200-0233 or reach out via email at to get involved and be notified about upcoming rehearsals and performances!


#37 — Sharing news from Maggie for the CEF family

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Message from Maggie, CEF Co-Director
Hello dear CEF family, I am writing to share the news that I will be transitioning out of my position at CEF this summer. CEF has been a place where I have felt an overwhelming sense of call. Called in a daily way to show up, heart and soul, surrounded by a community of people filled with a common purpose. Almost ten years later, I am feeling a need to respond to a different call—albeit one I don’t know yet! I’m sad to leave, and more than a little bit terrified. But I also know it’s the right thing for me in this moment.


#36 — Make a New Year’s Resolution that you can keep!

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In 2018, CEF has lots of resolutions: To invest in people and their potential. To fight alongside our Members to reach their goals, and against systems that bring us down. To ensure hundreds of our Members maintain stable housing. To be a place that people can belong, no matter what. To build pathways beyond jobs, and into careers. To support Members all along the bumpy road to achieving financial dreams. To spread love and togetherness through creativity and presence. To imagine (and enact) a better community future into being. To stick together.


#35 — O Romeo, Romeo! A Beautiful CEF “Tail”

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Romeo, Romeo! Ms. Laverne adores her Romeo.
She showers him daily with belly rubs and bacon bits. “If you rub his belly, he’ll go to sleep,” Ms. Laverne intimates.

And Romeo has stuck with Ms. Laverne through thick and thin, including the two years when they were sleeping in her car, and in and out of hotels or friends’ homes. “Romeo would let me sleep, and when I woke up, he’d sleep. We would both watch out for each other.”

The day they first saw their new home, Romeo raced up and down the long hallway with barks of approval.


#34 – “I only wanted to trade trees for keys”

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 “Six months ago, I was a person that lived in the trees. When (Hurricane) Matthew was running, and you were home safe, I was in the trees. Thinking about if they fell on me, would anyone find me? I was in the trees. I was in the trees because I could no longer afford housing in this city that I had lived for 6 years. I had an income. I was homeless, but not hopeless. I only wanted to trade trees for keys.”

CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

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