The National Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has approved grants totaling $165,000 to nine 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 Sept.19-21 in Dallas. 

Projects range from a community organizing program led by low-income workers advocating for full and fair participation in the labor force in Port Chester, N.Y., to assisting a resident-driven effort to address health concerns arising from the food desert in Wilmington, Calif.   

Groups awarded funds at the meeting:

  •  Movement for Justice in El Barrio, New York — $10,000 to organize a campaign to survey and focus on the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s failure to enforce the emergency repair program. Failure of enforcement has resulted in landlords violating the program to attempt illegal displacement and thus deregulation of low- to moderate-income housing.
  • Stanley B. Keith Social Justice Center, Holmes, N.Y. — $20,000 to assist a  group of black men and women who have formed the Stanley B. Keith Social Justice Center, an organization working to empower young black men to resist the marginalization of their communities. Three 12-week training programs are planned and will include self empowerment, systems change advocacy and mentorship.
  • Don Bosco Workers, Inc., Port Chester, N.Y. — $18,000 to a  grass-roots community organizing program led by low-income workers who are advocating for full and fair participation in the labor force in Port Chester and surrounding areas. The project educates workers about their rights, organizes actions when abuse occurs, seeks to educate community leaders and hopes to change ordinances at the local level and state law to better protect workers’ wages. 
  • Yoruba Fluency Project, Brooklyn, N.Y. — $18,000 to a group of Yoruba and Diaspora young adults who wish to become fluent in the Yoruba language and skilled in Yoruba arts, enabling them to reconnect with their ethnic culture and community. Once completed, this training will provide skills in language, arts and videography through which they can earn much-needed income. 
  • Baltimore Algebra Project, Inc., Baltimore — $20,000 to raise awareness, encourage discussion and consensus and call for mass meetings so that the community is prepared to engage with the school system about preserving or replacing the school in ways that meet community needs. 
  • Community Preparatory School (CPS) /Community Advisory Committee, San Diego — $20,000 for a multicultural, multigenerational group in which economically poor and diverse families work in a community garden to conserve water as they prepare for planting, growing and processing food. They share the produce with all community residents.  
  • Community for Change of the Low-income Self-Help Center, San Jose, Calif. — $20,000 to organize for group members’ basic economic human rights in the economically polarized Silicon Valley by telling their own stories in a creative way and encouraging others to do so. The storytelling is communicated through an Economic Human Right Quilt, in which individually crafted quilt squares will be narrated and documented. 
  • Wilmington Community Garden, Wilmington, Calif. — $19,000 to assist a resident-owned and driven effort to address health concerns arising from the food desert in urban Wilmington. The garden was begun in June 2012 and is well-tended, but only 25 percent of the raised beds are properly gardened. Group members plan to increase the garden’s agricultural capacity. 
  • Preschool Without Walls, Wilmington, Calif. — $20,000 to this project where parents are teachers, modeling positive and respectful interactions with the children. The parents work with South Bay Counseling Center to receive training, technical support and resources.  

Guests invited to the meeting included: 

  • Rob Allen and Joanna Kim, Grace Presbytery directors of communication and crosscultural mission and ministry
  • Pastors/representatives from a dozen Presbyterian congregations
  • William D. Holston Jr., executive director of Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
  • Samuel Locke, director of Special Offerings for the Presbyterian Mission Agency 

Committee members also had an opportunity to hear from some Presbyterian young adults about how the church can reach out to other young adults. The Rev. Karl Travis from First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth led the committee in Bible study. 

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 (English); (888)728-7228 ext. 5790 (Spanish) or Fax: (502) 569-8963.