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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Experiment in Self-Reliance, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: Experiment In Self-Reliance was founded in 1964 to identify the basic causes of poverty, to provide information regarding the conditions of poverty, and to conduct programs designed to help low-income persons become self-sufficient. Our formal Mission Statement: Empowering working low-income and chronically homeless individuals and families to achieve their full potential for long term social and economic self-reliance.

Results: From origins in the mid 1960s and the Civil Rights movement to the (almost) post recession economy of today, ESR has remained at the forefront of community action in this area. This year, in spite of difficult economic times and dwindling funding from traditional grant sources, we have still met or exceeded our program goals. We are currently engaged in active fundraising to develop unrestricted funding that can be used for operations, bricks and mortar projects, program development, and direct client assistance.

Target demographics: working low income and homeless individuals and families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 70 households obtain affordable housing; 60 rise above poverty levels; 20 first time homeowners; 2,500 low to moderate income Forsyth County residents file their income tax returns for free.

Geographic areas served: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, NC

Programs: Self-Sufficiency - providing case management in Financial Literacy, Budgeting, Counseling, Education Housing Services - helping homeless residents find affordable housing IDA - Helping low to moderate income become first time home-buyers Forsyth Free Tax - Providing free income tax preparation and asset building counseling

Community Stories

63 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’m so thankful and great full that esr helps me provide me with all my needs!!! They are strongly the best!!! And I give it a 5star... Will recommend others to join!!!!Thanl You

1 scbowen

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self-Reliance has been in our community for over 55+ years. They are an integral part of providing education in self-sufficiency, funding for individuals to go back to school, and options for our homeless. I know quite a few people that would not have the ability to be where they are today if it weren't for their support and guidance. They are truly a GreatNonProfit!!!

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ESR helps so many people in the community to become self-sufficient. Their friendly staff and positive outlook are a bright light in a dark time.

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Gina L.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am able to use the ESR program again for the second time after 10 years! They are still providing helping hands in the community! Thanks ESR!

Client Served

Rating: 5

ESR is helping provide great services to benefit the city!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have seen first hand what ESR has done to empower low income people to achieve goals. It's community outreach is wide spread in Winston- Salem.

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1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As someone who has seen the benefits that ESR has give to the community and customers. They are far above many nonprofits because they care about the lives they touch. Have seen many people walk in with their head down only to walk-out with a smile and the help they needed.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ESR is very welcoming and the people are easy to talk to. It can be uncomfortable looking for assistance but everyone there helps. If they can't help for some reason they will try to find someone who can.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self Reliance has helped many people over the years achieve their “ better” self! Through schooling, tax refund preparation, housing elements, etc... Their motto is “Helping people help themselves” which rings true for so many individuals!

1 Stephanie P.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ESR is a great non-profit agency that helps community members. The wonderful people who work there truly want to help others.

1 debraperkins

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have helped so many clients to become self-sufficient and housed over ESR's 55 years. I am proud to have had a small role in their successes. Forsyth County is lucky to have an organization such as ESR supporting its citizens.

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2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

As a long time staff member, I see every day what ESR means to the Forsyth county community through our varied services (VITA, IDA, Self-Sufficiency, Housing, Place Matters). I truly believe we are "helping people help themselves". Thanks to all our funders, donors, staff and board members!!!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ESR continues to be an anchor within the community for helping low-income citizens of Forsyth County reach their full potential in becoming economically and socially self-sufficient.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

ESR self sufficiency program assisted me with going back to school. I enrolled in the CNAI program and received my CNAI certificate. I took the Nurse Aide I state board exam and received my license. I increased my income from $8.25(PCA) to $10.25 as a CNAI. Thank you so much ESR!!!

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1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ESR assist client who are interested in furthering their education in order to obtain better employment . Obtaining better employment and increasing hourly wages helps the client to become self-reliant.

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1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This agency is doing a lot to help working low income families in the community who may otherwise not have any other place to turn.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Has the most compassionate and helpful staff of any organization I've encountered.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great agency!! They are very helpful and help me become self suffiiciency!.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self Reliance is a great agency and meets a true need in our community.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One of my coworkers recently signed up for a class/program so that she can buy a home. She and I both called at different times to get information on how to sign up as well as inquire about orientations. They were very helpful, and my coworker just received notice that she is in the program!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have done some research on ESR the last few weeks for a project at my office, and I absolutely love the work that they do. I spoke to Susan Bowen, and she was very informative. I love it so much, I've donated some items to a couple of their events.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ESR plays a very important role in this community by assisting the homeless and low-income citizens gain housing and financial stability. The staff is warm and welcoming, and people feel uplifted after an ESR visit.

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3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am happy to attest that ESR is an excellent community services agency. The programs offered are beneficial to our underserved population, and the staff is efficient and courteous. Each employee is fully vested in being of service to others. Refreshing!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ESR has been a very viable partner in this community, and has helped to decrease many of the deficiency gaps among the underserved. Through its programs, people have been able to overcome economic, financial, and housing barriers to become active participants in our community. It is a pleasure working for such a great organization! - M. Hash

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self-Reliance, Inc. is a vital organization in our community. For over 50 years, ESR has served the residents of Winston-Salem with cutting edge programs that are Empowering Strength and Resilience!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self Reliance is a vital non-profit entity in the community, providing valuable services to its residents. Among the various services provided, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is invaluable. This service provides free income tax preparation for low-to-moderate income persons in the community, having completed over 4,000 tax returns for the 2016 tax season.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I became aware of ESR back in 2014 when I was attending Salem College. I had to volunteer so many hours as part of one of classes, ESR was an option for me. ESR provides a free tax service to the county, and with me working towards my bachelors degree in accounting, it was perfect place for me to lend my time to the community while gaining the experience in tax services. I did not know about this service provided by ESR before hand, but very thankful I do now. The Forsyth Free Tax program is an awesome service provided to the community in helping them save money. I saw first hand how happy it made people when they were able to go to an ESR tax location and get their returns completed for no charge, saving them hundreds of dollars, I also know that feeling since they do my tax returns as well. I now refer everyone I know to ESR and the Forsyth Free Tax program.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was enrolled in the Self Sufficiency program June 2017, it has been oen of the greatest blessings to ever happen to me. I was pregnant at the time; becoming a mother at a young age was not at all in my plan. Susan provided me with the best advice and support to always keep moving forward. The program helped me pass my CNA examination test, provided me with daycare assistance, and overall just a great positive attitude and support. This program is really a wonderful program for someone who are trying to better themselves and needs any help along the way. I am now in school for nursing and looking to obtain a full time job with a healthy beautiful baby girl. All thanks to Susan. She is wonderful!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was enrolled in the Self Sufficiency program at ESR. I completed the Financial Literacy Series, which included tracking household income, saving money, creating a monthly budget and learning how to manage my credit report. I received a Financial Literacy certificate; taking this class taught me how stay on track with a monthly budget and paying my bills on time.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self-Reliance is an incredible nonprofit organization that meets people where they are and provides meaningful services that address the deepest needs of the community. The staff are passionate and committed to the work they do, and they truly value every one of their clients. This is a wonderful place to serve and be served.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a professional with expertise in the field I feel that Experiment in Self-Reliance (ESR) is truly meeting the needs of the community that they serve. Based on their mission to empower the working low-income and chronically homeless individuals and families in achieving their full potential is very important. ESR meets the client where they are and assist in providing ways to enhance the individual as a whole. In which as they provide the key steps of a roadmap to becoming a successful member of society in all levels by the term I refer to as “ICE” which stands for Identify Need, Create a plan, and Evaluate the goals to success. With the "ICE" method that produces a variety of avenues for individuals or families to have a fresh start to become self-sufficient in society again.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The agency help those to find and excel in different areas of their lives.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working here for about three years. I absolutely love the assistance that I am able to provide for homeless population.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ESR help clients overcome obstacles and barriers that cause family poverty. By increasing the level of educational attainment, giving clients resources needed to obtain better employment with healthcare benefits improves the level of family functioning.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The fact that ESR is the only viable non-profit program established in 1964 as part of the Johnson administrations "War on Poverty" is a testament to its success in the community. The programs offered are real life solutions to poverty. The staff is dedicated and the leadership consist of individual with experience and foresight. ESR is truly a non-profit worth it's weight in gold.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I KNOW FROM FRIST HAND OF THE HELP THAT ESR HAS GIVEN PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY. THEY HAVE NOT ONLY HELP PEOPLE TO BE SELF-SUFFICIENT THEY ALSO GIVE THE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO GROW AND BECOME A SUCEESS IN THE LIVES. THEY PROVIDE HELP AND HOPE BUT ALSO MAKE THE PERSON PUT IN WORK TO KNOW WHAT ACHIEVE AND REACH A GOAL.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have witnessed firsthand how ESR has changed individuals and families from feeling hopeless and helpless to being empowered and accomplishing goals they only dreamed of in the past. The passion the staff has for what they do day in and day out speaks volumes to the ones they serve. GREAT JOB!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

ESR has been delivering vital social services in the Winston-Salem community for more than 50 years and continues to have a profound impact in elevating the working low-income out of poverty, prepare and support first time home buyers achieve their goal of home ownership, free high quality tax preparation program and housing services targeted to eliminating homelessness. The management and staff are extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to the mission of empowering their clients to achieve economic self-sufficiency and eliminating homelessness in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ESR has compassion for its clients and is always willing to go the extra mile to help individuals.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self Reliance is an organization that has been providing much needed services to empower the working poor and chronically homeless of Winston-Salem for 52 years. Much of the success of this nonprofit lies with the passionate, resilient, and dedicated staff and administration in the agency. ESR offers many fantastic programs to the community and their clients with as much support and guidance that they can offer- a way to become economically empowered and even potential homeowners. Through my time here I have learned so much about nonprofit management and organization. I look forward to continuing my relationship with ESR well past my end service date and thank them for the invaluable knowledge and experience that I have gained.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Experiment In Self-Reliance is a legendary non-profit organization in which impacts it's community in so many ways. It's so rewarding being a part of an organization in which fulfills it's mission statement by impacting those in need.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi! Experiment in Self Reliance is really doing a great thing for the community. I've been both a client and a volunteer so I've been on both sides of receiving their incredible service to helping them give it to others. As a client I experienced a personal touch from their staff, they give their hearts to helping people, it is not just a paycheck for them.
As a volunteer I've seen so much of what they provide to the community, going above and beyond to help people become financially stable, keep a roof over their heads, and help us save. There are so many opportunities to help, if you've ever been a client or live in the area, take at least an hour out your day to spend here, there is so much to learn while giving back!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

ESR is committed to helping people help themselves. My family is grateful for the wonderful and helpful service we received from ESR. THANKS ESR!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In my time at ESR I've seen a lot of people come in hopeless and leave with a new direction and new goals. ESR helps people decide what they want to achieve and how to achieve it. People who want to learn how to lift themselves from poverty will benefit from ESR's programs.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self Reliance is an agency that truly believes and stands on the mission and the vision they have set forth. They care about their clients and their goal is that each individual that walks through the doors is helped and achieves their full potential and the goals they have set forth. ESR seeks to change the chronic situation of homelessness and seeks to ensure that each individual receives and is connected to the resources they need to live a healthy and sufficient life.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Did you know that if you live in Forsyth County, NC you can get your income taxes done for free? I love this program! Check it out for the 2015 tax season. The basis for the program is to help people get the earned income tax credit and the program is available to individuals and couples with an income less that $58,000.00. The work that Experiment In Self-Reliance does serving the people in Winston-Salem makes a difference. There's also the home ownership program, financial literacy and helping the homeless. But the free tax program does it for me.

3 Teresa79

Former staff

Rating: 5

The best non-profit organization in the whole world is Experiment In Self-Reliance. There are several reason(s) as to why we are such an outstanding organization. Firstly, ESR has served a diverse population from the young to old for the last 51 years. We have helped with housing, education, transportation, food, and so much more...... Secondly, we are always working with other organizations that are seeking more knowledge about the population we serve daily. Finally, we are a loving family that believe in helping each other.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The support that I received from ESR Self Sufficiency program while completing my college degree was impeccable! I am grateful to Experiment in Self-Reliance! Personally and professionally I am excelling as a result of ESR. Life is good! Thank you ESR!!!!!!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen first hand how ESR makes the difference in the lives of individuals in Forsyth County. The programs are awesome and the staff want to see their clients succeed!!!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love the commitment to the clients and their mission.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As Director of Housing and Community Development for Forsyth County NC we are fortunate to have an anti-poverty agency as ESR, as we work to increase the financial health of our low income families living within the County.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ESR has been a part of my journey in life, I have been involved with ESR for 16 years as a community leader I now understand the lifecycle of the working pooer. Poverty can be defined in many ways generational poverty, situational poverty abd asset poor just to name a few. Until you walk a mile in someone's shoes don't judge but lend a hand to help a person, become their hand up instead of a hand out. Teach a man to fish and they can eat a lifetime. Help someone help themselves. I learned this through my journey with ESR.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

ESR is firmly committed to helping the poor and homeless in our community. Their work has been crucial in turning around the lives of thousands of people during their long history.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have worked with ESR for 11 years through our Outreach programs. The social workers are thoughtful, professional and truly invested in their clients. It has been a pleasure working with such dedicated staff members who devote themselves so fully to the success of their clients.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I referred someone to the transitional housing program and they were assisted with finding an apartment for the new mother and her small child. Great to have one agency that can assist a person with housing, self-sufficiency, as well as possibly future home ownership.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

ESR is amazing! Twana and her dedicated & very capable staff work tirelessly to provide tools and encouragment to folks in our community who want to be self sufficient but just need a little help.

2 Shadowe M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ESR offers a broad range of services for the low income community of Winston-Salem, NC. It is amazing to watch the way people change and grow with ESR's guidance, especially when the changes are so dramatic as going from living in a car to buying a home in only a few years. But even the small things can be dramatic: a young woman getting her CNA certification finally understands that she has value, that things don't have to be the way they have been, that she can provide for her family, and that this certification isn't the end of what she can do, but the beginning. ESR provides access to resources that can be life-altering, and endeavors to help community residents in need navigate the complex web of services that they might require.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Experiment in Self Reliance is a wonderful organization with a tremendous staff. Over the past three years that I have been involved, I have witnessed first hand the love and compassion for the services that the entire staff provides on a daily basis. It is a very well run organization with a profound impact on the lives of many in the Winston-Salem community. Congratulations on 50 years of serving and helping to improve the community in which we live!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to be able to witness how lives have been transformed through the programs offered by ESR. Thousands of lives have been touched through the interactions with ESR Case Managers and Program Managers, administration, board members, committee members, and ESR ambassadors (just to name a few). The work done by ESR is immeasurable. Clients are empowered and actually go out into the community to empower others as well. What people thought wasn't possible truly is possible.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ESR for over 5 years. They are to be commended for the service that they have provided in our community for 50 years!! The agency is highly regarded by the entire community. The management staff does an incredible job of continuing to provide services in spite of budget cuts due to the recession. The longevity of the ESR staff is also to be commended!! Great customer service is the hallmark of ESR. They are helping clients make better lives for themselves and their families!! I am proud to be associated with such a remarkable agency!!