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Filling the Gaps: The Duke Endowment Helps 1,230 Families in Need



Almost all federal and state funding is restricted to a specific purpose. While this helps reduce fraud and keeps programs supported, restricted funding can cause challenges for families who need unconventional aid. That’s why unrestricted funding, often received through community donations, is vital.

The pandemic not only hit low-income families hard, but also sent many middle-class families into poverty. Over the last two years, our agencies have seen a dramatic increase in the number of families needing a hand up, and an increase of diversity in the need. Thanks to funding from The Duke Endowment our agencies met the needs of hundreds of North Carolina families, no matter their needs.

Ms. Tillman needed basic child-care items like pull-ups and diapers. Her children's daycare typically provided those supplies, but with her work hours were reduced and the daycare closed, she was unable to afford these items herself. Coastal Community Action used The Duke Endowment funding to help Ms. Tillman obtain needed items for her children and her home.

In 2021, our agencies utilized $850,000 of The Duke Endowment funds. The greatest needs included rent and utility payments, and basic needs. The Duke Endowment funds also helped keep internet services going for school-aged children during remote learning, purchase cleaning and PPE supplies, and purchase other necessities like food, childcare items, medical supplies, and more.

Duke’s Endowment Funding provided a permanent home for Tracy who was living in a hotel after having lost her job and been evicted at the beginning of the pandemic. Passage Home leveraged the funds to provide assistance for emergency shelter while Tracy recovered from COVID-19. Once she was recovered, Passage Home used The Duke Endowment funds to help pay rent while she was enrolled in the agency’s Workforce Development program. Tracy is now on her way to self-sufficiency.

The Duke Endowment funds helped leverage $720 from other funding sources for every family served. Not only did people get the help they needed, but our agencies were able to stretch their current funding to allow more people to receive aid. This allowed our agencies to serve 1,230 families in 2021.

William took his COVID-related job lay-off as an opportunity to return to school and acquire a new trade. Working with I-CARE, he earned his CDL and worked as a tractor truck driver. While in the program, The Duke Endowment fund helped with rent and utility bills, allowing him to continue his education and search for a new job.

Like our clients, we are grateful to The Duke Endowment for their generosity. Their unrestricted funds helped keep families out of poverty and helped many more escape poverty and eviction during times of crisis. These funds also helped high-risk clients like Pauline be safe during the pandemic.

Pauline, who is battling cancer, is on a fixed income. Because she is considered high-risk, she has had to purchase additional cleaning and protective supplies to ensure her safety and that of her chemo nurses. After making these purchases, Pauline had no money for other necessities like utilities and oxygen. The Duke Endowment Fund assisted by paying her utility and oxygen bills.

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