DERC is a workforce development program that incorporates on-the-job training and reduced-cost merchandise to help low income residents stretch their income. Training includes a certified forklift program.
Born from the End Poverty Durham initiative, DERC was incorporated as a nonprofit 11/19/08, with an ambitious goal of helping to eliminate poverty in Durham by 2025. DERC's strategic role is to recruit, train, and help citizens with barriers to employment, e.g. criminal record, homelessness, substance use, unstable employment history, etc., find suitable employment with a livable wage. The resource program offers on-the-job training once participants complete the 1st of 3 modules. DERC's resource Program was located in a warehouse for nearly 7 years. Every heavy rain resulted in a flooded facility. We agreed we must find a new location. I solicited a talented friend, Anthony Farrell, owner of BarlowVision Video Production & Photography, to videotape what we experienced during a rain storm. His services were pro-bono, and he uploaded our video to YouTube. Additionally, I contributed over $600 to the agency before December 31, 2016, and several other board members contributed in excess of $300 (100% board participation). Our contributions helped us exceed our Stewards Fund Challenge Grant match of $23,875 (we had to raise funds from new donors and/or increased donations from previous donors). At the same time, DERC experienced tremendous financial hardship, so we eliminated several full-time positions and hired a few staff back on contract. We had two interns from North Carolina Central University's School of Social Work and two from Duke University's MBA program, Fuqua on Board. As Board Co-Chair, and a member of the church (Union Baptist), which was instrumental in creating DERC, I provided guidance and direction to the staff and interns, as well as prepared checks, renegotiated some of our contracts, and eliminated others. Wendy McCorkle, a consultant with moss+ross, gave me a new title: Turn-around Specialist, as we were able to decrease our expenses from $68k to $20k within a few months. I am pleased to report we have moved to a new location, and though we did not raise the $100,000 we sought, DERC is on the mend and moving forward. Since inception, DERC has enrolled 626 persons into our workforce development program, 80% of which, have moved to full-time employment with an average hourly wage of $10.28. A third of DERC's Board is comprised of previous program participants, part of the agency's original Bylaws. Nearly 2,800 individuals and families annually obtain merchandise from the resource Program and more than 120 organizations are member agencies. Citizens of member agencies can receive vouchers to shop at the resource Program. To date, DERC has saved its guests in excess of $4 million dollars. DERC partners with Durham Technical Community College, Access to recovery, Criminal Justice resource Center, Social Services, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Durham Literacy Center, Scrap Exchange, & Creative Management. DERC WORKS! https://youtu.be/q0Z8FO6NQ8k
Review from #MyGivingStory