Our Services

safe savings

Financial coaching

Advocates - Relationship-Based Support


Our volunteer advocates work alongside our members to assist them towards reaching their financial goals by building uniquely powerful and transformative relationships.

CEF pairs two volunteers with all of our clients as their long-term Advocates. Advocates work alongside our members to assist them towards:

  • Reaching individual goals
  • Obtaining or increasing income
  • Moving into independent housing
  • Saving for significant assets
  • Connecting to community
  • Achieving financial stability

Overwhelmingly, members cite the relationships formed with volunteers as even more critical to their success than savings and financial services. This relationship-based approach builds trust before building assets, and is the key ingredient to CEF’s work with marginalized communities.

Safe Savings Accounts - Financial Freedom


CEF’s Safe Savings Accounts make saving easy. Through one-on-one planning, guidance, and our 10% match program, members can achieve and sustain financial freedom.

CEF has a variety of savings programs designed to help individuals at different stages of achieving financial independence:

  • Safe Savings Account: Members who achieve their savings goal and attend CEF classes receive a 10% match on top of their savings
  • Laptop Savings: By saving $100 with CEF, members can purchase affordable, refurbished laptop computers through our partner nonprofit, the Kramden Institute
  • Renter’s Savings IDA: This new program is being piloted with ten members currently in housing and ready to save for the long-term. Members save with the program over the course of two years, and all funds saved towards an emergency fund are matched at 50% (up to $1,000 in matching funds)

Financial Coaching - The Skills to Succeed

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CEF’s free education programs cover everything from personal finance to job readiness to health. Classes provide the skills and resources to transition into and sustain self-sufficiency and permanent housing.

Opportunity Classes meet weekly and consist of a 12-week curriculum that covers topics such as:

  • Job search
  • Money management
  • Budgeting
  • Building credit
  • Obtaining housing
  • Health and wealth

The training is free and open to all. We host classes in Chapel Hill and Durham, often on-site with community partners. If you think your neighborhood, organization, or association would benefit from a CEF Opportunity Class, please contact us about hosting an upcoming course

CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

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