WASHINGTON, DC — The National Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has approved grants totaling $495,250 to 21 self-help projects in the United States.
Money for the grants comes from the PC (USA)’s One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering.
SDOP, funded primarily through the OGHS offering, enables members and non-members of the PC(USA) to establish partnerships with economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people in order to help them achieve sufficiency.
Grants were approved at a meeting of SDOP’s National Committee last month in Washington, DC. Projects funded range from learning how to plant and operate an organic farm using produce sales to reinvest in equipment, seeds and tools in South Carolina to supporting a cooperative of Mexican Americans in rural Arkansas seeking to create and operate a thrift store and restaurant.
Groups awarded funds at the November meeting:
Delta Self Help, Elaine, AR, $20,000 to support cooperative efforts by a group of Mexican Americans in one of the poorest parts of the Delta to create and operate a thrift store and restaurant.
South Carolina Sea Island Small Farmer Cooperative, Ravenel, SC, $60,450 to assist this cooperative in its efforts to improve the economic wellbeing of farmers with limited resources through increased farm production in this drought stricken area.
Young Farmers of the Lowcountry, St. Helena Island, SC, $13,700 to assist farmers in learning how to plant and operate an organic farm. They will use produce sales to reinvest in equipment, seeds and tools.
Sudanese Self-Help Program, Gallatin, Tennessee, $20,000 to enable this group of Sudanese refugees in developing a community garden. The produce will provide a source of income and produce for consumption.
Castle Square Tenants Organization, Boston, MA, $20,000 to enable the economically poor residents of this tenant organization to purchase the property to ensure that it continues to be for low and moderate-income residents.
Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement, Worcester, MA, $20,000 to support a public safety campaign by former prisoners in their collective effort to reform the laws governing the public use of Criminal Offender Record Information.
The Coalition for Parole Restoration, New York, NY, $20,000 to empower prisoners and their families to be prepared for successful gaining of parole release and transition of parolees into their families and communities.
Make the Road by Walking, Brooklyn, NY, $20,000 to assist immigrant worker initiated and led efforts at self-organization in the struggle for better working conditions.
Developing Hispanics for a better tomorrow, Providence, RI, $20,000 to assist a group of immigrants in developing an English as a Second Language program that will help increase their access to higher-paying employment. While there are other ESL programs in the area, there aren’t enough to meet the demand.
Worker Center of Eastern Maine, Brewer, ME, $15,000 to establish and maintain the Worker Center of Eastern Maine, an organization that advocates for low-income unorganized workers.
Friends Helping Friends, Rochester, NY, $20,000 to empower a group of economically poor persons in their cooperative efforts to embark on a food distribution project that will help meet their own food resource needs.
Teen Direct Action Welfare Group Inc., Charleston, WV, $18,000 to empower a group of economically poor teens in making positive changes in their community by educating other teens on their rights, issues of poverty, bullying and other issues teens face.
Benefit Rights Advocacy Group, Cincinnati, OH, $20,000 to empower a group of economically poor people to contribute to making changes in county and state policies/laws that affect them by enabling them to learn organizing and leadership skills.
Beardstown Immigrant Families United, Beardstown, IL, $20,000 to enable economically poor families to have a voice in advocating for their needs primarily to address issues of inequality/discrimination.
Afrikan Business Entrepreneurship, Dayton, OH, $20,000 to enable this group of low-income immigrants to form a business cooperative to import authentic products from Africa and sell them locally.
Immigrant Micro-Enterprise Development, Fargo, ND, $20,000 to enable a group of immigrants to develop a multi-cultural market to host small businesses. The center will also provide business training.
White Earth Land Recovery Project, Callaway, MN, $20,000 to assist cooperative efforts by the Anishinnabig tribe of the White Earth Reservation to grow traditional Native American foods. Health education, greenhouse construction and maintenance and seed preservation are part of the project.
Winning Circle, Chicago, IL, $20,000 to enable a group of low-income families organizing themselves to develop awareness of and overcome economic injustices through financial literacy and advocacy.
Low-Income Tenant Union of the Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network, Kalamazoo, MI, $20,000 to empower a group of homeless people moving into private apartments to organize against housing discrimination, advocate for fair rental agreements and fight unfair evictions.
Women’s Information Network, Cottage Grove, OR, $30,000 to enable women who have been abused to purchase a residence. The residence will enable the women to continue their personal recovery and advocacy work.
Anti-Hunger Action Committee, Salt Lake City, Utah, $58,100 over a two year period to empower residents without medical insurance to advocate for/educate varied audiences about the plight of residents without medical benefits.
In other business, SDOP’s national committee:
SDOP in conjunction with Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC hosted a community workshop for community-based groups interested in learning about possible future partnerships.
Approved $300,000 for immediate assistance to communities in the Dominican Republic that were impacted by Tropical Storm Noel. Last year SDOP identified the Dominican Republic as the country where a new strategy for entering into partnership would be developed.
The National Committee also approved $169,999 for the International Task Force to allocate to groups in which they are working with in the Dominican Republic.
For additional information about upcoming community workshops, to setup a workshop, or to learn more about Self-Development of People, contact the national office at
100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202-1396, or call
toll-free: (888) 728-7228 x5782 or x5792 (English);
(888)728-7228 ext. 5790 (Spanish)
or Fax: (502) 569-8963.