Community Improvement, Capacity Building

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FUND

Chapel Hill, NC

Mission

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

Ruling Year

2011

Program Coordinator

Ms. Maggie West

Operations Coordinator

Jon Young

Main Address

208 N. Columbia Street Suite 100

Chapel Hill, NC 27514 USA

Keywords

homelessness, assets, savings, financial literacy, microenterprise, microfinance, university, affordable housing

EIN

27-0428981

 Number

3628654463

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Economic Development (S30)

Urban, Community (S31)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media

Blog

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

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Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Safe Savings Program

Opportunity Classes

Advocate Program

Where we workNew!

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Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of participants who gain employment

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Advocate Program

Number of savings accounts used by clients

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Safe Savings Program

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

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Advocate Program

Number of participants engaged in programs

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

The Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) cultivates opportunities, assets, and communities that support the alleviation of homelessness and poverty. We offer matched savings accounts, financial education, workforce development, and relationship-based support to individuals experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness.

CEF pairs two volunteers, primarily undergraduate students, with all of our clients as “Advocates.” Advocates work alongside our 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.

We aim for our members to achieve sustained, healthy transitions out of homelessness.

CEF’s current strategy combines relationship-based support with financial services that achieve equity. We uphold a dual purpose of empowering members to achieve their goals while developing student leaders. We are passionate about sustaining transitions out of homelessness, and leverage the combined resources of amazing volunteers, partners with a shared belief in mission, and collaborations across a wide spectrum to support each person uniquely and holistically.

CEF focuses on enabling members to achieve four primary goals:
• Gaining greater employment
• Attaining and maintaining stable housing
• Building savings and financial capability
• Connecting to positive and supportive community

Our overarching strategy is person-centered, and as such, our reputation in our community is as a flexible, adaptive, and welcoming organization. We are valued, by partners and members alike, because of our ability to meet people where they are, and fight alongside each individual to achieve their personal goals. Our volunteer advocates bring energy, spirit, and creativity to their work, and the mutually transformative relationships built between our advocates and members fuel our programs, with new initiatives and new partnerships being born out of the lived experiences of these two stakeholder groups. With this grounding in relationships, CEF strategically and adaptively fills gaps in our community – gaps in opportunities, connections, or services that prevent asset-poor households from ever becoming otherwise. We pioneer creative, targeted financial services to meet the economic needs of the lowest-income households, including matched savings accounts, incentivized emergency fund savings, and specialized bill-pay services. And finally, throughout all of our work, CEF upholds a commitment to promoting dignity, mutual respect, and ownership.

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. Over the past five years, CEF has transitioned from an up-start student organization into what our partners have described as “the community’s glue” or “the one-stop shop.” CEF advocates act as connectors, bridging many sectors to ensure members successfully access available resources.

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 350 participants have saved more than $450,000 towards personal savings goals. Our additional experience includes coordinating an educational program, called “Opportunity Classes,” which is taught by formerly homeless program graduates and incorporates financial education topics into a broader context of employment readiness and goal-setting.

To track these outcomes, CEF will utilize our web-based database software, Salesforce CRM. Through our customized interface, CEF advocates are able to establish goals, document progress towards goals, and track achievement. Our Advocates and system of volunteer management include weekly team meetings and Team Leaders to act as a liaison between the organization staff and Advocates’ one-on-one meetings with members. This system allows for us to continually update members’ progress towards goals. Results will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, make changes as needed for increased impact, and to document any best practices learned in order to share with shelters, social service agencies, and workforce development agencies in our region. To track tax referral information, CEF utilizes The Benefit Bank, which calculates values and numbers of refunds and tax credits. Additionally, we will evaluate the more qualitative results of the program through interviews with participants. Though quantitative results of this program are real and tangible, the true nature of the social and community impact of the Advocate Program is best captured through members' narratives of transformation. Our board also provides expertise and advice in various areas of our operations, and periodic meetings allow for feedback and discussion on improvement or changes.

For a small snapshot of our progress, we refer to our 2014 Annual Report, which demonstrated that during the calendar year of 2014 CEF assisted:
145 members in gaining employment
90 members in transitioning into independent housing
132 members in saving over $135,000 towards personal savings goals
530 total members served

External Reviews

Financials

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FUND

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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Operations

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

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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 & 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