Community Development

Community Development

Why Community Development?

The Great Recession touched the lives of everyone in America, and has had especially significant impacts on low-income families. Annually, nearly 200,000 residents within the Triangle, including approximately 22% of all children under the age of five, found themselves in poverty and seeking assistance for shelter, food, and other basic needs. We believe that by building the capacity of the nonprofit organizations doing work in our region to combat these issues, we will enhance the lives of all residents in the Triangle.

Annually, nearly 195,000 residents within the Triangle, including approximately 21% of all children under the age of five, found themselves in poverty and seeking assistance for shelter, food, and other basic needs. 

Nearly half of all renters and approximately one quarter of homeowners in the Triangle experience housing cost burden, spending more than 30% of their income on housing expenses. 

Poverty cannot be simplified as a direct consequence of a lack of affordable housing, weak education, or poor health.  Instead, it should be viewed with a broader outlook that considers the unique challenges of the families and individuals most in need.  Place-based interventions to improve community conditions (such as affordable housing, community facilities, and economic development) are often unsuccessful without human development efforts.  Similarly, people-based interventions that support the social, emotional, and financial health of low income individuals (like job training, nutrition, community organizing, and mental and physical health care) are often derailed by a lack of attention to the physical environment.  “Place matters to people’s life chances, and conversely, that successful human development also affects place.”

Community development encompasses the physical, social, and financial health of the people who live in local neighborhoods.  Comprehensive approaches that include components of housing, employment, and mental and physical health not only provide basic human needs, but also build individual empowerment and strengthen the community.  In times of financial strain, cross-sector innovation that combines both people-based interventions with place-based techniques will be the most effective in helping families and communities overcome persistent poverty.


Triangle Community Foundation is investing in multi-faceted approaches that expand access to opportunity for those people most in need in order to address persistent poverty in the community.  The Foundation provides funds to build the capacity of organizations that have shown success in increasing access to permanent housing, employment, and health.

Ideal programs implement evidence-based practices that

  • Provide a comprehensive, well-integrated approach that addresses housing, employment, and health (mental or physical) through direct programming, partnership/collaboration, or strategic referrals.
  • Assist individuals and families experiencing poverty to navigate the array of services available
  • Demonstrate strategic collaboration of multiple organizations in service provision and/or sharing of resources to maximize efficiencies
  • Priority given to collaborative proposals.

Current Partners

These partners received Phase I: Assessment support in 2017-2018:

Chatham County Council on Aging  |  Communities In Partnership Durham Literacy Center  |  Housing for New Hope  |  Inter-Faith Council for Social Service  |  Pardoned By Christ  |  Project Access of Durham County  |  TABLE  |  The Scrap Exchange  |  THRIVE Collaborative (led by Milestones Culinary Arts Institute, Inc. in partnership with Men of Vision and the Durham Housing Authority)

Past Partners

A Helping Hand  |  Chatham County Literacy Council  |  Community Home Trust  |  Inter-faith Food Shuttle  |  Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History  |  Meals on Wheels of Durham  |  Refugee Community Partnership  |  Southeast Raleigh Assembly  |  The Center for Volunteer Caregiving  |  Western Wake Crisis Ministry

Club Nova | Community Health Coalition | Durham Center for Senior Life | Johnson Service Corps | LIFE Skills Foundation | Rebuilding Together | Student Action with Farmworkers | The White Oak Foundation

El Centro Hispano, Inc.SEEDS | The Fostering Youth Opportunities Collaborative: The Hope Center at Pullen, Wake Tech Fostering Bright Futures, PLM Families Together, and the Wake County Department of Social Services, Community Partnerships, Inc. (CPI), Carolina Outreach, Genesis Home, Dress for Success, and Durham County Department of Social Services (DSS). Threshold | Triangle Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods C.A.N | The Refugee Wellness Collaborative: UNC Refugee Wellness Initiative, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants – N.C. Field Office | Women’s Center of Wake County

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, Inc.  |  Community Empowerment Fund  |  Compass Center for Women and Families  |  Dress for Success Triangle NC  |    Project LIFT Collaborative (Durham Economic Resource Center, Durham Literacy Center, Urban Ministries of Durham)   |  Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network  |  Healing with CAARE  |  Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County  |  Durham’s Rapid Rehousing Collaborative: (Housing for New Hope, Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network, Genesis Home, Urban Ministries of Durham)  |  Passage Home, Inc.  |  Farmworker Advocacy Network Collaborative: (Student Action with Farmworkers and others)  |  Triangle Family Services

References – American Community Survey 2009-2011 3-year estimates, American Community Survey 2010-2012 3-year estimates, Not Seasonally adjusted; Labor & Economic Analysis, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) Program; Retrieved from, American Community Survey 2010-2012 3-year estimates and NC Homeless Education Program, Donovan, S., Duncan, A., & Sebelius, K. (2012). Fighting Poverty through Community Development. Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, 107-131, Grogan, P. (2012). The Future of Community Development. Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, 184-191, Belsky, E. S., & Fauth, J. (2012). Crossing Over to an Improved Era of Community Development. Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, 72-103, Seidman, E. (2012). Integration and Innovation in a Time of Stress: Doing the Best for People and Place. Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, 354- 376.

The support of the Foundation will enable CEF to create a sustainable means of measuring, evaluating, and improving outcomes to sustain transitions out of homelessness in Orange and Durham Counties.

Maggie West, Community Empowerment Fund


Jessica Aylor

Vice President of Community Engagement
Phone 919.474.8370 ext:4022