Archive | Partner Story

Thrill City Empowers Community

Thrillife is a brand started by UNC student and clothing designer Ryan Cocca in an effort to make “Conscious Streetwear Culture”. Thrill City, the Chapel Hill offshoot of Thrillife, is staying true to its mission as a “launchpad of everything socially positive and creative in Chapel Hill, from concerts to art exhibits to social justice campaigns,” by dedicating 10% of their revenues to the Community Empowerment Fund. That’s a lot of love, and we can’t thank Ryan and Thrill City enough for their support of CEF and the Chapel Hill community. Checkout the insert that ships with all Thrill City merchandise.


CEF and Self Help: “Love at First Sight” – A Message from a Community Partner


Self Help Credit Union was founded in 1980 in Durham NC by a few impassioned individuals who wanted to help individuals, employees, families and businesses obtain fair and responsible financial services. Our website states “Self-Help is a community development lender, credit union, and real estate developer that works with individuals, organizations and communities traditionally underserved by conventional markets.”

Our founder, Martin Eakes, got wind of CEF’s work in the Chapel Hill community and introduced two central CEF leaders, Maggie West and Alexis Seccombe, to Self Help through a summer internship. It has been love at first sight ever since for our two nonprofits. As a 30th birthday present to Martin, staff donated 30+ hours of consulting time to CEF last year. Some of our staff members are proud to serve on CEF’s Board of Directors. Self Help also provides free office space for CEF’sDurham outreach efforts. Personally, I feel CEF is readying our next generation of members and borrowers by providing one-on-one counseling and support for their clients. We are proud to partner with CEF and their dynamic volunteers and applaud their outstanding work and mission.

– Sherry Kinlaw, Senior Project Manager, Self-Help Credit Union




Featured Partner: Love Chapel Hill

Love Chapel Hill

The Community Empowerment Fund appreciates the support of its partner, Love Chapel Hill. Love, a Chapel Hill-based church, became involved with CEF one year ago.

The relationship began when David Kayler and David Horton, members of both CEF and Love, came to Love with an idea. In their work with CEF, the two students had seen a major need for transportation among CEF Members. Time and again, unemployed or underemployed Members were forced to spend large portions of their savings on bus passes or cab fare in order to get to and from job interviews and educational opportunities – opportunities which would lead to further income in the long run, but were turning into financially drains in the short run.

“We’ve seen what a struggle and challenge it can be for people to find transportation around the Triangle for life-changing appointments” said Justin Simmons, executive pastor of Love. “We are glad to work with CEF to find those needs and help fill the gaps.” After forming a partnership with Triangle Transit Authority and doing some in-house fundraising, Love began providing bus passes and other forms of transportation assistance to those in need, and “Grace on Wheels” was born.

Along with Grace on Wheels, Love also aids CEF through its promotion of CEF events and service opportunities to Love members. Love is a natural partner for CEF given the fact that the two organizations share a common passion: building community and serving those experiencing homelessness and poverty.

“We’ve seen the proven success of CEF in helping to get people on their feet and well on their way to sustainability,” said Simmons. “We absolutely want people in our community to know that they are loved. CEF has an ability and proven track record to not only offer extremely helpful services, but to offer a real, authentic community among those who are living in or on the verge of poverty.”

The Love-CEF partnership will only continue to improve in the future. Love and CEF hope to expand Grace on Wheels and Love hopes to garner more member involvement with CEF.

CEF wants to thank Love for their continued support. Here’s to Grace on Wheels, to ending poverty, and to fighting the good fight together!

CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

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