Our Services

safe savings

Financial coaching

Advocates - Relationship-Based Support


Through our model, CEF Members are paired with a volunteer Advocates — building uniquely powerful and transformative relationships as they set and achieve concrete goals around employment, housing, and financial savings. Advocates work with Members to achieve these goals using CEF’s own targeted financial tools and assistance navigating other community resources.

Advocates work alongside Members to assist them towards:

  • Reaching individual goals
  • Obtaining or increasing income
  • Moving into independent housing
  • Saving for significant assets
  • Connecting to community
  • Securing 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. CEF strives to create a community of support that empowers Members, creates opportunities for Advocates to grow and learn, and works through the power of collaboration and advocacy to address the systemic causes of homelessness and poverty.

Safe Savings Accounts - Financial Freedom


CEF’s Safe Savings Accounts make saving easy. Through one-on-one support and a 10% match incentive, Members can save for their goals and to have a financial cushion. 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 work 1-on-1 with Advocates receive a 15% 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:  Members who have secured housing can apply to participate in this program. 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)

Curious about the details? Check out CEF’s Safe Savings FAQ here!

Financial Coaching - The Skills to Succeed

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CEF’s free coaching programs cover everything from personal finance to job readiness to health. Coaching connects Members to the strategies and resources that support housing and financial security. Members can participate in coaching 1-on-1 with Advocates or in a group setting (only at our Chapel Hill location).

CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

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