PLATINUM2023

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FUND

Be Fearless. Love Everyone.

Chapel Hill, NC   |  http://www.communityempowermentfund.org

Mission

CEF cultivates opportunities, assets and communities that support the alleviation of homelessness and poverty.

Ruling year info

2011

Executive Director

Donna Carrington

Main address

208 N Columbia St Ste 100 Suite 100

Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3504 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-0428981

NTEE code info

Economic Development (S30)

Urban, Community (S31)

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

CEF is working to end homelessness and reduce the racial wealth gap in Orange and Durham Counties, North Carolina.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Safe Savings Program

CEF offers goal-oriented savings accounts to help Members save for the future, prepare for emergencies, and budget with limited incomes. Accountholders have limited access to withdrawals of their savings until they reach their goals with CEF, and once savers achieve their goal and participate in 8 financial coaching sessions CEF matches their accomplishments at 15%.

Population(s) Served
Adults

CEF pairs two volunteers, primarily undergraduate students, with each Member as “Advocates.” Advocates work alongside CEF Members to assist them towards reaching goals, moving into independent housing, saving for significant assets, and achieving financial stability. Together, Advocates and Members achieve successful transitions out of homelessness by building uniquely powerful and transformative relationships.

Advocates assist Members with:
• Employment: Building resumes, applying for jobs, acquiring interview attire, gaining soft skills, upgrading knowledge
• Financial Literacy: Opening bank accounts, building budgets, setting up direct deposit, monitoring expenses, planning for the future, setting savings goals, building credit and completing CEF's 65 Financial Coaching modules
• Housing: Searching for housing, paying bills on time, accessing weatherization resources, reducing utility expenses
• Community Resources: Connecting to agencies to assist with basic needs, emergency food, mental health services, primary and acute health care, and public benefits

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Finalist for Business of the Year 2013

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce

Neighborhood Builder 2022

Bank of America

IMPACT Award 2022

GSK

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants who gain employment

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Advocate Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced the availability of jobs. As businesses evolve in post-pandemic life we're seeing this as an ongoing trend.

Number of savings accounts used by clients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Safe Savings Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people no longer living in unsafe or substandard housing as a result of the nonprofit's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Advocate Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2022, the lack of necessary affordable units prevented Members from acquire safe and affordable housing.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) cultivates opportunities, assets, and communities that support the alleviation of homelessness and poverty. Our approach combines person-centered support with financial services that pursue equity in order to reduce the racial wealth gap.

CEF Members receive sustained two-on-one support from volunteer Advocates, trained in racial equity and trauma-informed care, to help achieve their chosen goals. Working with Advocates, Members secure housing, gain employment, and build savings in order to increase assets and sustain transitions out of poverty.

CEF creates a community of support that empowers Members, offers experiential learning opportunities for Advocates to grow and learn, and advocacy and collaboration to address the systemic causes of homelessness and poverty. CEF’s work is grounded in recognition of the detrimental impacts of systemic racism on Black and Brown members of our communities. We leverage the combined resources of passion for sustaining transitions out of homelessness, dedicated volunteers, partners with shared values, and cross-spectrum collaborations to offer holistic support to each Member.

CEF seeks long-term social & economic justice to eradicate the racial wealth gap and ensure equal access to affordable housing. Our strategy pairs clients, or "Members," with volunteer Advocates who provide one-on-one support to connect Members with resources and achieve their own goals. CEF’s unique model creates a community of support where Members, Advocates, staff, and partners all work together to address the root causes of homelessness and poverty while actively working to reduce the racial wealth gap and address the immediate needs of Members.

The need for this work is great. African Americans account for more than 40% of the homeless population nationwide. Simultaneously, Black families’ net worth is only 10% of white families. These disparities stem from 400 years of persistent housing and labor market discrimination.

CEF focuses on enabling Members to achieve four primary goals:
• Attaining and maintaining stable housing (Housing First model!)
• Securing quality employment or benefits
• Building savings and financial capability
• Connecting to a positive and supportive community

CEF is a thought leader in how to increase financial wellbeing and stabilize housing for people who are homeless or experiencing housing instability. Our approach is built on the Housing First model, recognizing that having a stable place to live is necessary to make gains in other areas of life. We also utilize financial products built on the success of Individual Development Accounts (IDA). Research shows that IDAs accelerate homeownership, enable low-income people to save and invest in long-term assets, and that participants are more likely to achieve positive outcomes.

CEF is deeply committed to racial equity and racial healing and centers both BIPOC leadership and leadership from people with lived experience with homelessness and poverty. This means current and former Members serve on CEF’s Board of Directors, are trained as volunteer Advocates, serve as program staff, and lead CEF’s advocacy work. CEF’s Executive Director is a former CEF Member. We believe that people with lived experience best understand potential solutions to homelessness and as an organization we lean on them to help determine our direction. 58% of CEF's Board are people of color.

CEF launched in 2009 as a micro-loan program, and quickly adapted, based on early results, to focus on the components that participants reported were most successful at helping them achieve transitions out of homelessness: comprehensive personalized support and micro-savings. CEF has transitioned from an up-start student organization into and organization led-by people with lived experience in order to ensure that we are offering the best solutions to the current issues that Members face.

CEF’s past experience includes pioneering a matched savings account targeted to the specific needs of the homeless and near-homeless community. Through these accounts, CEF has built trusting relationships with the most vulnerable members of our community. As a result, over 900 participants have saved more than $1.6 Million towards personal savings goals. CEF has also created 70 financial coaching sessions that support Members in understanding debt, bank accounts, credit, budgeting, etc.

Since CEF began in 2009:
4,148 Members have been supported
995 Advocates have been trained and have held 17,921 meetings with Members
1,392 people have found employment
1,074 people have become stably housed
908 Members have opened Safe Savings Accounts, saving over $1.6 Million and earning $101,680 in match dollars.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve

Financials

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FUND
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FUND

Board of directors
as of 06/15/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Karen Eldridge

Carolyn Fryberger

NCGrowth

Jessie Maxwell

Self-Help Credit Union

Latoyia Boria

Self-Help Credit Union

LeAngela Baker

Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools

Psiyina Davis

Nehemiah Day Center

Ananya Tadikonda

CEF Advocate Rep

Carl Welch

CEF Member Rep

Chris Jarrett

CEF Member Rep

Joanna Bowen

Attorney

Katie Barnett

First Horizon Bank

Ryan Regan

Azimuth Renewables

Tessa Delgo

CEF Advocate Rep

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/25/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/29/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.