SDOP May 2013 Grant Recipients Announced
Over $150,000 awarded to fund 9 self-help projects in the U.S.
by Margaret Mwale
Baltimore, MD — The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) has approved grants totaling $180,000 to 9 self-help projects in the United States. The money is from the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering. Self-Development of People receives 32 percent of undesignated OGHS gifts.
Grants were approved at a meeting of SDOP’s national committee in Baltimore, Maryland May 16 to 19. SDOP enables members and non-members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to form partnerships with oppressed and disadvantaged people in order to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
The projects and grants:
- Chicago L.O.O.P. Project, Chicago, IL., $20,000 will enable this cooperative catering business to provide income and growth of the business over time. Group members have designed a project to start a cooperative to earn income and provide fair and equitable working hours conditions for members.
- South Asian Workers Center, Jackson Heights, NY., $20,000 for this group of South-Asian low income workers with no sick or vacation time who work 70-80 hours per week with wages well below the state and federal minimum required. This grant will enable them to advocate for their rights and those who work in the retail industry.
- Jovenes 24, Corona, NY., $20,000 for this 12 step, residential, long term drug rehab program for recovering drug addicts who organized to support their own recovery by serving other addicts and helping them stay off drugs. The program has grown and those who have recovered sufficiently have the option of joining the staff.
- Elizabeth Education Organizing Committee, Elizabeth, NJ., $20,000 to enable this group of concerned immigrant parents and residents of Elizabeth, New Jersey who themselves have experienced inadequate education at the Elizabeth schools advocate for better education for their children to improve the economic level of their families and safer communities.
- Workforce, (Project Justice for Workers) Central Falls, RI., $20,000 to assist in the building of leadership skills of workers thereby encouraging them to change the economic condition of poor workers in the state of Rhode Island through standing up for their rights and fighting wage theft. They advocate for immigrant justice, fair compensation and education for themselves and other workers.
- The Street Vendor Project, New York, NY., $20,000 to assist in the empowerment of this group of organized street vendors who are working together advocating for and protecting their rights to earn a living on the streets of New York City. Their main issues are working with the city to increase the limit on vending permits, more street access, reducing fines and reforming legislation to protect and support vendors in their efforts to make an honest living.
- Elaine Community Opportunity Seekers, Elaine, AR., was awarded $20,000. Elaine is a very poor rural community where residents are seeking economic opportunities through theater production in their community. The group visited a project in Georgia with similar concerns, they were telling their story through a successful theater production. The grant will allow group members to tell their story through theater. The theater will bring the people together in addition to providing an economic boost for Elaine and six other surrounding communities.
- Zenyu, Seattle, WA., $20,000 enables this multicultural organization to continue offering a safe environment for people of color dealing with issues of rape and violence against women to heal. The project provides health and exercise programs, including weekend retreats and hiking trips in addition to monthly meetings. Zenyu was created to mitigate higher rates of mental health issues, abuse of tobacco, alcohol and drug use, obesity and lack of access to health care in their community.
- Brillo Cleaning Services, Pasadena, CA., $20,000 to support this group of primarily Latina women as they establish a cleaning cooperative for residential and commercial buildings in Pasadena, CA.
The Baltimore meeting also marked a change in SDOP’s meeting model which is now seeking to intentionally reach out to communities through increased community exposure and engagement. Thursday evening a youth panel consisting of the Baltimore Algebra Project (not a SDOP funded group), a young adult group with a mission of empowerment similar to that of SDOP engaged national committee members in conversation on issues their project is involved in. Bible study on Friday was led by The Reverend Emily Proctor, a young pastor in Baltimore. On Saturday there was a gathering of church leaders from the Baltimore area with SDOP national committee members and community partners Mother Made Projects and Families in Healing at Knox Presbyterian Church. Other Committee members and local residents participated in an East Baltimore Learning Experience (educational visit to East Baltimore). It was facilitated by SDOP’s Baltimore Technical Assistance Provider and East Baltimore based SDOP community partner Lanvale Towers. Places visited included: Lanvale Towers where group members have come together to organize around a project focused on completing a High School Diploma/G.E.D. and a computer literacy program; Camp “83” (A Camp Site where the homeless reside near Interstate 83); an area near Johns Hopkins Hospital with high populations of HIV cases (the virus that causes AIDS); an area with blocks of deserted properties as a result of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures due to the great recession and the Dawson Safe Haven Community Center. The center is a tribute to the Dawson family of seven that was firebombed after a family member repeatedly alerted police to drug dealing, assault, and other crimes in the East Baltimore neighborhood. A community workshop (information session) at which SDOP criteria for funding and the application process were explained was held at Oliver Community Center.
At this same meeting the following officers were elected:
Chairperson Joseph Johnson, Dothan, AL (Renominated)
Vice-Chairperson: Selma Jackson, Brooklyn, NY (Renominated)
International Lisa Leverette, Detroit, MI
Midwest T. Ewen Holmes, Plymouth, MN
Northeast Johnnie Monroe, Pittsburgh, PA (Renominated)
South John Etheredge, Rocky Mount, NC
West Michael Fagans, Bakersfield, CA (Renominated)
Church-wide Relations Sarah Jane Moore, Chicago, IL
Community Relations Carline Seide Murphy, Niverville, NY (Renominated)
Finance Committee Oscar Heyward, NY, NY (Renominated)
Guests included Onaje Hopper and Ledonia Kimball both former committee members and Donna Lea from Living Faith Fellowship.
SDOP is constantly looking for ways to engage communities of economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people in partnership as well as promote and interpret the ministry in Presbyterian congregations. For information on an upcoming community workshop for community-based groups interested in learning about possible future partnerships, to set up a workshop, to arrange for a member of the SDOP Committee to visit your church to Preach or do a Minute for Mission, please contact the National Office at:
Self-Development of People
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202-1396
Toll Free Telephone:
English (888) 728-7228 X5791/5792
Spanish (888) 728-7228 X5790
Fax: (502) 569-8963