May Newsletter: Plans to Reopen, Graduating Advocates, Donna on WRAL

Safe Savings Campaign Update

Another huge thanks to everyone who has donated to CEF’s COVID-19 Safe Savings Campaign. We’ve already raise a total of $19,670, which is 66% of our goal!

The money is already being dispersed to Members’ Safe Savings Accounts: $10,117.74 has been distributed to Members as a Savings Match, and $9,552.26 has replenished Members’ Safe Savings Accounts after emergency withdrawals.

To meet our goal of $30,000 by June 30, we need to raise an additional $10,330. With the Stewards Fund match, donations are doubled through the end June, which means your gift will have 2x its impact on our community during this crisis.

Please use the button below to donate and help CEF achieve our goal!
Donate Here!

Office Reopening FAQs

Given changing COVID-19 guidelines, CEF is initiating a reopening plan for both offices. Please read the following FAQs for information regarding office reopening.

When will CEF’s offices reopen?

The Chapel Hill office will reopen on Tuesday, June 9. The office will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 am – 12 pm and 1 – 3 pm.

The Durham office will reopen Tuesday, June 16. The office will be open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 am – 12 pm and 1 – 3 pm, and Thursdays from 5 – 7 pm.

How can I schedule an appointment?

CEF Members can schedule appointments beginning Monday, June 1. Members can call the Chapel Hill (919-200-0233) or Durham (919-797-9233) offices to schedule an appointment. Please leave a message requesting an appointment at a specific date and time, and a CEF Staff member will call you back in 1-2 business days to confirm the appointment.

Will appointments be available for non-Members?

At this time, appointments are only available for current CEF Members who have attended a Member Orientation. CEF will not be offering Member Orientation at either office location at this time. We will send another update when we begin to offer Orientations again.

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.

What safety precautions will be taken at CEF’s offices to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

When making reminder calls to Members, CEF Staff and Advocates will ask screening questions about COVID-19 symptoms.

Masks will be required for every person entering the office. CEF will provide masks for anyone who does not have one. Every person entering the office will have their temperature checked by infrared thermometer (a type of thermometer that allows temperature to be taken from a distance with no contact) and will be asked screening questions about COVID-19 symptoms.

In the office, markings on the ground will indicate 6-foot distances that everyone is required to respect, including surrounding the reception desk, waiting room seats, individual offices, cubicles, and tables for one-on-one meetings. We will have Plexiglass dividers surrounding the reception desks in both offices. The 6-foot distance requirement will be required for every person.

In addition to the 6-foot distance requirement in all meetings, CEF is installing computer monitors at each meeting station so that Members and Advocates can view the same screen at a safe distance. Hand-washing with soap and hand sanitizer will be highly encouraged with signs around the office and in bathrooms.

Can I donate supplies to support CEF in reopening?

Yes! CEF is still collecting donations for the following items: masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and infrared thermometers. If you can donate any of these supplies, please drop them off on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 11 am and 1 pm at IFC Community Kitchen (100 W. Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516). CEF Staff will be present during this time. For questions about donations, please email Zach at

Are the hotline and COVID-19 resource sheets still operating?

Yes – you can still call the hotline (919-797-9233), but hours are reduced to 3:30 – 5:30 pm every weekday. The COVID-19 resource sheets will continue to be updated. You can find them on the CEF website (

We are excited to see our community again, and safety is our first priority as we reopen. Any changes in the above FAQs will be communicated via newsletter.

A Bittersweet Good-Bye to Graduating Advocates

Due to quarantine measures, CEF was unable to host our annual Spring Graduation for senior Advocates in Chapel Hill this year…so we celebrated them from afar!Durham’s Advocate Program Coordinator, Leah, coordinated a good-bye Zoom call for graduating Advocates to share reflections on CEF, college, and all the incredible communities they’ve build over the past few years. Chapel Hill’s Advocate Program Coordinator Kristina compiled a thank-you video for graduating Advocates, with video clips of Staff and Advocates wishing personalized good-byes to all graduating Advocates.To our graduating Advocates: we will miss you so much, and we wish you the best of luck in your next steps! Know that you always have a home with us at CEF!
Check out the full video HERE!

Donna Carrington, Executive Director, Featured on WRAL

CEF Executive Director Donna Carrington spoke to WRAL last week about CEF’s partnership with the City of Durham and their efforts to ensure that everyone has the information and resources they need to receive their $1,200 stimulus check. She describes CEF’s work in connecting “non-filers,” who do not file taxes and who therefore do not automatically get a stimulus checks, to the application to receive their stimulus check.
You can view Donna’s interview with the WRAL team HERE!
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CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

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