A.J. Fletcher Foundation Awards More Than $1 Million in Grants and Loans to East Durham
DURHAM, N.C., Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The A.J. Fletcher Foundation announced today it has invested more than $1 million in unrestricted grants and loans to East Durham. Working in partnership with East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), whose model mirrors the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Foundation’s grants and loans will further EDCI’s mission to provide a pipeline of services from “cradle to career” for the children and families of East Durham.
The A.J. Fletcher Foundation is a private foundation in Raleigh, North Carolina, that supports nonprofit organizations in their endeavor to enrich the lives and well-being of people in North Carolina.
“With this grant, the A.J. Fletcher Foundation will focus like never before on the multiple needs of a single community,” said Jim Goodmon, chairman. “Our hope is that this approach will bring strong results and provide a model for other groups looking to rebuild communities in North Carolina and beyond.”
“The A.J. Fletcher Foundation has been a partner in EDCI’s work since our inception,” said Barker French, co-chair of EDCI. “We are extremely pleased with the confidence and commitment the A.J. Fletcher Foundation has signaled by raising its support and making a multiyear grant so we can continue our work.”
East Durham Children’s Initiative
EDCI will receive $300,000 in grants over the next three years. EDCI was established in 2008 by community members, government and school leaders, and child-serving agencies to support and nurture families and children in a 120-block area east of downtown Durham. Recognizing a vast contrast between EDCI’s vision and the current reality of the neighborhood, EDCI is developing a plan to create a continuum of services from birth through college or career. Key elements include early childhood services, elementary and secondary school improvements, family support, health and wellness, adult literacy and job training.
The initiative is modeled after the highly successful Harlem Children’s Zone, a pioneering, nonprofit, community-based organization that works to enhance the quality of life for children and families. EDCI is a program of the Center for Child & Family Health.
Healthy Families Durham
The Healthy Families Durham program will receive $110,000 over two years for its intensive, home-based family support program. The program strives to prevent child abuse, promote child health and identify special needs by serving low-income, high-risk families starting during pregnancy through 3 years of age using the Parents as Teachers curriculum.
Healthy Families Durham is a program of the Center for Child & Family Health. “Healthy Families Durham provides hope and opportunity for Durham’s youngest and most vulnerable,” said Robert Murphy, Ph.D., executive director. “Thanks to the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, we will bring still more opportunity to parents and very young children.”
Student U will receive $60,000 over three years. Founded in 2004, Student U is a “students-teaching-students” collaboration among Durham Public Schools, Durham Academy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central and Duke University. Its mission is to empower students in the Durham Public Schools to take ownership of their education by developing the academic and personal skills they need to realize their full potential and beyond.
“Student U is pleased to be partnering with the A.J. Fletcher Foundation and EDCI as we work with the community to ensure that all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Daniel Kimberg, founder and executive director. “Only when organizations collaborate can the greatest possible impact be made.”
Preservation North Carolina
Preservation North Carolina will receive a loan of $425,000 to purchase and renovate vacant historic houses in East Durham. Once they have been fully rehabilitated, these homes will then be sold to working families and first-time homeowners. The East Durham National Register Historic District, just a few blocks east of downtown, is ideally located and offers an excellent mix of quality historic homes. The neighborhood, however, has been plagued with absentee landlords and years of disinvestment. Through Project RED (Revitalize East Durham), Preservation North Carolina seeks to help rebuild a diverse and vibrant historic neighborhood. In addition to finding buyers for the renovated homes, Preservation North Carolina will also be looking for purchasers willing to rehabilitate their own homes and take advantage of historic tax credits.
“East Durham was once a great neighborhood. With a strategy of reinvestment that builds on East Durham’s historic fabric and its existing residents, it can once again be a source of pride for Durham — and a great place to live,” says Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina and a Durham native.
Teach For America
Teach For America will receive $240,000 in grants over three years, partnering with Durham Public Schools to bring Teach For America teachers to Neal Middle School. The program is one part of a comprehensive reform effort to accelerate learning, increase student achievement and recruit more high-potential teachers.
Teach for America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in an expanding educational opportunity.
“The A.J. Fletcher Foundation gift will help recruit, train and provide ongoing support to corps members. We believe that intensive preservice training and professional development from experienced instructional coaches are keys to teacher effectiveness,” said Robyn Fehrman, executive director of Teach For America, Eastern North Carolina. “Longer term, the funds support our leadership development that ultimately guides more of our corps members to leadership positions in our classrooms, schools and district, right here in Durham, strengthening our community efforts to close the achievement gap.”
Concluded Goodmon, “EDCI and its partners have shown an exemplary willingness to think big and work hard. We are delighted to be part of the truly community-wide effort by reinforcing some of its key resources.”
SOURCE East Durham Children’s Initiative