Please find below a list of organizations, funded by The Duke Endowment, that offer resources available to our rural congregations. Please reach out to these organizations directly if you see potential for your congregation to benefit from their work.
In partnership with The Duke Endowment, Resourceful Communities provides rural churches with training to strengthen skills, small grants to support innovative projects, and networking opportunities to build new partnerships and connect with community groups. These strategies help faith-focused groups rethink their food ministries with a focus on lasting, positive impacts for – and with – those in most need. Contact person: Justine Post, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI)
Based in Pittsboro, the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI) assists congregations to explore and engage the realities of the food system around them. RAFI also coordinates Come to the Table Conferences and regional learning gatherings for the Come to the Table network (next scheduled for 2019), which brings together farmers, food nonprofits, and churches. A grant will fund this assistance statewide through 2020. Contact person: Michelle Osborne, email@example.com.
Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW)
Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW) bridges issues of faith, health, and social justice. The program provides people of faith with the tools to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. By improving the health and well-being of people of faith, PHW impacts the larger community and seeks to reduce the healthcare burden on our state. Through certification and mini-grants, churches are enabled to provide healthier meals, promote physical activity, host community health forums, plan community gardens, and begin or expand other programs. A grant will fund this assistance through 2019. Contact: Christine Pernell, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rural Faith Community as Anchor Institution Initiative of the IEI
The Rural Faith Community as Anchor Institution Initiative of the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) resources congregations for increased community engagement through a process that helps them identify and understand the root causes of community issues, develop community action plans, and implement those plans. The program works with clergy who are alums of the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative (TRCI) of Duke Divinity School, but they can also assist other interested clergy and congregations. Participating churches attend the Emerging Issues Forums, subsequent trainings, stand-alone faith conferences, and peer network groups. Contact them for consultations, coaching, and site visits. A TDE grant will fund this assistance through 2021. Contact: Kylie Foley, email@example.com.
Seeds of Change
The Wesley Community Development Corporation’s “Seeds of Change” program engages local churches in a multifaceted evaluation of their campus usage, trains and resources lay and clergy leaders to connect with their communities, and equips them to use their facilities for the community’s common good. Churches are grouped in learning cohorts to facilitate the creative process and to catalyze change efforts. A grant will fund this assistance statewide through 2018. Contact: Joel Gilland, firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Carolina Rural Center
The North Carolina Rural Center engages congregations in an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) process that enables churches to identifying and respond to their community’s assets and needs, specifically related to economic, health, or child-focused challenges. The Center is in the process of identifying a cohort of churches to pilot test the ABCD process. This pilot program will run from 2018-2022. If you are interested in learning more or in being considered for future work, contact: Heather Kilbourne, email@example.com.
Youth Empowered Solutions! (YES!)
Youth Empowered Solutions! (YES!) is in a planning process to begin work with selected rural United Methodist congregations that wish to begin a new type of ministry with young people in their community, that of empowering youth to engage in civic leadership and community transformation with a focus on issues that impact adolescents. This pilot program will run from 2018-2020. If you are interested in learning more or in being considered for future work, contact: Liz Styron, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Reimagining Health Collaborative
The Reimagining Health Collaborative of the Theology, Medicine and Culture Initiative of Duke Divinity School has received a grant to incorporate rural congregations into their program. The Collaborative networks churches together and resources them to address health needs in their communities. Each cohort stays together for two years and focuses on one issue area. Current cohorts are addressing mental health needs; future cohorts will address food and eating practices. If you are interested in being considered for a future cohort, contact email@example.com.
Education NC (EdNC)
EdNC has begun work to help congregations share their stories and enhance their ministries using an integrated communication platform to communicate with and hear from residents. Texting is a core component of the strategy and has been demonstrated as an effective tool for communicating with underserved populations, including those in rural areas. Using sophisticated technology, EducationNC has developed an architecture of participation that uses texting to poll congregants on community challenges, report findings, disseminate success stories and share a learning platform. This service is funded through 2020. If you are interested in learning more, contact Nation Hahn, firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Food Policy Center
The World Food Policy Center at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy is “driving innovative food systems change by bridging research, policy, practice, and people.” They are available to The Duke Endowment and our partners to provide education, research, convenings, communications, and a policy lab that will help stakeholders (including faith communities) across the state work together to make our food system more healthy, and to make it work for everyone. To learn more, contact Alex Treyz, email@example.com.