SDOP disburses more than $120,000 for self-help projects

Grant money from One Great Hour of Sharing helps oppressed and disadvantaged achieve self-sufficiency

by Margaret Mwale | Special to Presbyterian News Service
SDOP National Committee Steering Committee Members (L-R): Johnnie Monroe, Wesley Woo, Joseph Johnson, Sharon Ware, Rebecca Reyes, John Etheredge, Sarah Jane Moore and Lisa Leverette. Photo provided by SDOP

SDOP National Committee Steering Committee Members (L-R): Johnnie Monroe, Wesley Woo, Joseph Johnson, Sharon Ware, Rebecca Reyes, John Etheredge, Sarah Jane Moore and Lisa Leverette. Photo provided by SDOP

LOUISVILLE – The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) approved grants totaling $124,000 to fund several self-help projects in the United States and abroad. The national committee met recently to approve funding for the projects, funding which is made possible through the One Great Hour of Sharing. SDOP enables members and non-members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to form partnerships with oppressed and disadvantaged people and help them achieve self-sufficiency.

“Thanks to the generous gifts from our congregations, SDOP continues proclaiming good news to ‘the least of these,’” says newly elected SDOP national chairperson Rebecca Reyes. “It is humbling and a privilege to partner with people in the transformation of their lives. Thank you to all for making a difference.”

The projects and grant amounts include:

  • Community Tenants Association, San Francisco, CA, $13,000 – focuses on empowering and organizing association members to make decisions about housing issues, public policy matters, and campaigns that directly affect them and their families.
  • Street Vendor Project, New York, NY, $15,000 – assists project group members who are seeking to lift the cap on the number of street vendor licenses and permits from 3,000 to 6,000. Currently hundreds of street vendors are denied their own permit and are forced to lease licenses from those who have a permit.
  • Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY, $15,000 – through its Peoples Power Campaign project, this group is seeking to shift the balance of power within the energy utility system towards low-income people. Group members believe all people need access to affordable and sufficient electricity, heating, and cooling. Presently, they are gathering evidence for a Public Utilities Commission Investigation.
  • New York State Youth Leadership Council, New York, NY, $15,000 – this project is designed to make higher education more accessible and easier to navigate for undocumented students and others like them by providing better information/support to students. It includes teaching university and high school administrators and faculty about undocumented student’s needs and capabilities.
  • Bolitas Harvesters Association, Immokalee, FL, $15,000 – for saw palmetto berry harvesters who pick the berries and sell them for their pharmaceutical value. The harvesters’ goal is to negotiate lower access fees (berries are picked on private land) and higher harvest prices. They also hope to increase revenue by creating a processing plant in order to deal directly with pharmaceutical companies.
  • Flint Democracy Defense League, Flint, MI, $3,000 – technical assistance grant.
  • We the People of Detroit, Detroit, MI, $3,000 – technical assistance grant.

International partners awarded grants include:

  • Maskall Agriculture Farmers’ Cooperative Society Limited, Belize District, Belize, $15,000.
  • Los pequeños Agricultores y Ganaderos de Nago Bank Cooperative Society Ltd. Belize District, Belize, $15,000.
  • The Presbyterian Church of Rwanda and SDOP’s intermediary partner CE-Mujer in the Dominican Republic were each awarded $7,500.

In addition, national SDOP committee officers were elected at the May meeting held outside Cincinnati, OH. They include:

  • Rebecca Reyes, Durham, NC – Chairperson
  • Johnnie Monroe, Pittsburgh, PA – Vice-Chairperson
  • Wesley Woo, San Francisco, CA – Midwest Task Force Chairperson
  • Laura Krauss, New City, NY – Northeast Task Force Chairperson

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SDOP is constantly looking for ways to engage communities of economically poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged people in partnership as well as to promote and interpret the ministry in Presbyterian congregations. For information on upcoming community workshops for community-based groups interested in learning about future partnerships, to set up a workshop, arrange for a member of the SDOP Committee to preach or visit your church, or do a Minute for Mission, please visit https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/sdop/ or contact the national office at:

Self-Development of People
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202-1396
Toll Free Telephone:
English (888) 728-7228 X5792
Spanish (888) 728-7228 X5790
Fax: (502) 569-8001


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