Initiative helps nonprofits in East Durham, NC carry out ‘placed-based’ community revitalization.

A.J. Fletcher Foundation, based in Raleigh, NC, has invested more than $2 million to date in its East Durham funding initiative. Grant awards have supported 11 organizations, helping them carry out comprehensive and sustainable development and revitalization strategies. Fletcher Foundation’s “place-based” investment approach in East Durham fosters close collaboration and effectiveness amongst nonprofit organizations working in the same community and advances a sense of shared purpose and strategy.

“In the last five years, we have proudly supported East Durham’s community effort to address basic human needs for the thousands of residents living in poverty and facing vulnerable, unstable conditions,” said Fletcher Foundation Executive Director Damon Circosta. “East Durham is a neighborhood rich in history, diversity, and culture. In light of challenges here, community leaders are coming together to work towards a brighter future and demonstrating a transformative model for success.”

Nearly half a million dollars has been given to East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), the backbone organization in the community-wide effort to create a pipeline of services from cradle to college or career.  EDCI works in partnership with nearly two dozen area organizations to connect children and families to interventions that address barriers to academic and social success.

“Sustaining support from AJ Fletcher Foundation has allowed EDCI and our partners to create better outcomes for East Durham children and families,” said David Reese, President and CEO of East Durham Children’s Initiative. “We share a mission of working together to make East Durham a successful environment for current and future generations.”

With sustaining support from Fletcher Foundation, EDCI has offered its original Parent Advocate Program to hundreds of East Durham families to date. EDCI Parent Advocates join families in their homes to listen to their individualized needs, and then the Advocates connect children and parents directly to the services they need most. EDCI Parent Advocates build strong relationships that help parents feel empowered to stay connected with their children’s teaching staff, educational curricula and academic and social progress.

To support the EDCI model, Fletcher Foundation has invested in various programs and projects of the following organizations since 2010: Book Harvest, Center for Child and Family Health, Durham Congregations in Action, Durham Habitat for Humanity, Kidznotes, Maureen Joy Charter School, Preservation NC, No Kid Hungry NC, Student U, and Teach for America – Eastern North Carolina.

“Since October, 2011, Healthy Families Durham at the Center for Child & Family Health has partnered with 106 families in the East Durham Children’s Initiative Zone.  Through these partnerships between home visitors and parents, families have been supported to achieve their goals, and approximately 88% of parents have improved their parent/child interaction and home environment,” said Clinical Supervisor of Healthy Families Durham Jan Williams. “Parenting is a challenging job, and children don’t come with a “manual,” so supporting parents of newborns, toddlers and preschoolers and connecting them with helpful community resources, helps to get families started on the road toward health and family well being.”


About A.J. Fletcher Foundation

The mission of A.J. Fletcher Foundation is to support nonprofit organizations that enrich the lives and well-being of people in North Carolina. To achieve this, Fletcher Foundation partners with nonprofit organizations to recognize and solve social and civic problems, providing necessary resources to advance big, bold ideas. To learn more, visit


About East Durham Children’s Initiative

East Durham Children’s Initiative is committed to changing outcomes for children and families living in a 120-block area of East Durham, North Carolina.  The organization connects children and families to a continuum of support programs by working together with partner organizations and community members.  EDCI strives to alleviate poverty in East Durham to ensure that its children graduate from high school prepared for college or a career.



Shannon Ritchie, Director of Digital and Innovation, Fletcher Foundation,, 919-322-2580

Samantha Cole, Communications Coordinator, East Durham Children’s Initiative,, (804) 314-3109

Photos available on request.



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