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SDOP disburses more than $190,000 in grants to 13 self-help projects

The grants are partnerships with oppressed and disadvantaged people to help them toward self-sufficiency

by Margaret Mwale, Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) approved grants earlier this year totaling more than $190,00 to a baker’s dozen of self-help projects. The money is from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

The national SDOP, which met virtually, enables members and non-members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to form partnerships with oppressed and disadvantaged people to help them achieve self-sufficiency.

The projects and grants:

  • The CASOE Group , Detroit, Michigan, $15,000. This group of low-income youth have come together to work on a project focused on the performing arts virtually. It also creates and sells art to generate ongoing revenue for the group.
  • Franklin County Workers Benefit Council, $10,000, Columbus, Ohio. The project for this low-income group ensures that the 12 members of the group continue to empower themselves with the knowledge necessary to prevent utility disruption in their homes. Members will acquire advocacy skills through enhanced training to avert shutoffs, advocate against fraudulent charges, advocate for affordable payment plans and mandate changes to policies that negatively impact low-income renters and homeowners.
  • INDY/ALICE Ambassadors, Indianapolis, Indiana, $14,500. These low-income group members, some of whom have disabilities, seek to obtain and provide advanced training for getting out of poverty, with the goal of eliminating generational poverty through skills development.
  • Action Aid Program, Fargo, North Dakota, $10,000. The group consists of members of the African immigrant community who have been victimized by their partners but fear that reporting the victimizer would endanger their relationship with jail time, loss of income, etc. The COVID-19 crisis has put community members in closer contact with their abuser and has made the intervention process more difficult.
  • African Immigrant and Minority Services, Fargo, North Dakota, $10,000. Recent immigrants from West Africa who encounter numerous problems including financial, education, job security and fitting into society have joined to form a mentoring group. They are using outside professionals and their own experiences to nurture and support each other.
  • Community Treehouse Center, Detroit, Michigan, $15,000. This is an intergenerational financial empowerment project that brings together youth and seniors to understand how wealth is built and maintained. Members will gain insight into the stock market, allowing them to build wealth, and seniors to rethink their budgets to allow them to age in place financially. The interaction reduces social isolation among seniors and builds unity in the community.
  • Healthy Planet Cleaning Cooperative. The project members are seeking training and equipment to facilitate the growth of the cooperative.
  • Youth As Resources, Baltimore, Maryland, $15,000. A group of youth who define issues affecting them and other youth and develop strategies to address those issues. Issues for this year include mental health trauma, disability awareness and inclusion, and school police accountability.
  • Warriors on Wheels of Metropolitan Detroit, Detroit, Michigan, $15,000. These low-income group members came together to create a project focused on grocery shopping and grocery delivery by and for its members. Group members will also offer assistance with light housekeeping and personal care to their fellow project members.
  • Cultivate South Park, Seattle, Washington, $15,000. These low-income group members comprised of artists, community organizers, activists and youth seek to establish and resource a community space to conduct classes and activities for the youth and other group members in need of connection and healing. They also plan to use the space to host initiatives that will lead to increased access to economic opportunity.

 International Partners Awarded Grants Include:

  • Western Mopan Farmers Cooperative Society Limited, Cayo District, Belize, $19,575. The project’s main goal is to produce agricultural commodities under a controlled environment, such as covered structures, and secondly to supply the San Ignacio Market with a wide assortment of fresh agricultural commodities.
  • Sandy Beach Women’s Cooperative, Hopkins Village, Belize, $24,000. This community-based cultural heritage museum on the site of the Sandy Beach Women’s Cooperative seeks to provide both in-person and virtual lessons on Garifuna history and culture
  • El Espino Agro Entrepreneurs, Cocle, Panama, $15,000. The grant will be used to purchase equipment, tools, and seeds to produce crops for the participating families. Some crops will be sold if there is a surplus. The participating families make all the decisions for this project, and they all benefit equitably from this project.

Karen Brown of Baltimore has been elected chairperson of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. (Contributed photo)

Additionally, Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People and other One Great Hour of Sharing programs, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Presbyterian Hunger Program, have identified a joint partner in Africa. The programs will combine grant funds for this partner. SDOP has approved the allocation of $11,000 for a project in Nigeria.

SDOP officers elected

At the May National SDOP Committee meeting, the following officers were elected:

Chairperson — Karen Brown, Baltimore

Vice-Chairperson — Bec Davis, Charlotte, North Carolina

West Task Force Chairperson — Pat Osoinach, Wichita Falls, Texas

Midwest Task Force Chair — Elizabeth Swee, Moorhead, Minnesota

South Task Force Chair — Wayne Steele, Louisville, Kentucky

Northeast Task Force Co-Chairpersons — Phil Tom and Samantha Davis, Elizabeth, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

Churchwide & Community Relations Committee — Mandy Adams-Henderson, New Albany, Indiana

International Task Force — Susan Dobkins, Richland, Washington

Finance Committee Chair — Phyllis Edwards, Detroit

Bec Davis has been elected vice chairperson of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. (Contributed photo)

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 grant workshops (via Zoom presently) for community-based groups interested in learning about possible future partnerships, to help set up a community grant workshop, to arrange for a member or staff of the SDOP National Committee to visit your church to preach or do a Minute for Mission or to participate in a webinar on poverty alleviation or an educational webinar on various social and economic justice issues, please 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

Or visit

Support Self-Development of People and help transform the lives of people through gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

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