The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) has approved grants totaling $180,000 to nine self-help projects in the United States. The money is from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. SDOP receives 32 percent of undesignated OGHS gifts.

Grants were approved at the May meeting of SDOP’s national committee. SDOP enables members and non-members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to form partnerships with oppressed and disadvantaged people to help them achieve self-sufficiency.

The projects and grants:

  • Chicago L.O.O.P. Project, Chicago — $20,000 will enable this cooperative catering business to provide income and growth of the business over time. Group members have designed the cooperative to earn income and provide fair working hours conditions for members.
  • South Asian Workers Center, Jackson Heights, N.Y. — $20,000 for this group of South Asian low-income workers with no sick or vacation time who work 70-80 hours per week with wages well below the state and federal minimum required. This grant will enable them to advocate for the rights of themselves and others who work in the retail industry.
  • Jovenes 24, Corona, N.Y. — $20,000 for this 12-step, long-term residential drug rehab program for recovering drug addicts. Those who have recovered sufficiently have the option of joining the staff. 
  • Elizabeth Education Organizing Committee, Elizabeth, N.J. — $20,000 to enable this group of concerned immigrant parents and residents, who themselves have experienced inadequate education at the Elizabeth schools, to advocate for better education for their children.
  • Workforce (Project Justice for Workers), Central Falls, R.I. — $20,000 to assist in building workers’ leadership skills, encouraging them to change the economic conditions of poor workers in the state through advocacy for immigrant justice, fair compensation and education.
  • The Street Vendor Project, New York — $20,000 to assist this group of organized street vendors who are advocating for their right to earn a living on the streets of New York City by increasing the limit on vending permits, adding street access, reducing fines and reforming legislation.
  • Elaine Community Opportunity Seekers, Elaine, Ark. — $20,000 to this poor rural community, where residents are seeking economic opportunities through theater production. The theater will bring people together and provide an economic boost for Elaine and six surrounding communities.
  • Zenyu, Seattle — $20,000 to enable this multicultural organization to continue offering a safe environment for people of color dealing with rape and violence against women. The project provides health and exercise programs. Zenyu was created to mitigate higher rates of mental health issues, abuse of tobacco, alcohol and drug use, obesity and lack of access to health care.
  • Brillo Cleaning Services, Pasadena, Calif. — $20,000 to support this group of primarily Latina women as they establish a cleaning cooperative for residential and commercial buildings.

The Baltimore meeting also marked a change in SDOP’s meeting model. The committee is now intentionally reaching out to communities and met with local leaders and empowerment groups while in Baltimore.

On May 18, local church leaders and SDOP committee members met at a local Presbyterian church. Other committee members participated in an educational visit to East Baltimore. SDOP also held an information session about its funding and application processes at a community center.

The following officers were elected:

Chairperson: Joseph Johnson, Dothan, Ala. (Renominated)
Vice-Chairperson: Selma Jackson, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Renominated)            

Task Forces:

International: Lisa Leverette, Detroit
Midwest: T. Ewen Holmes, Plymouth, Minn.
Northeast: Johnnie Monroe, Pittsburgh (Renominated)
South: John Etheredge, Rocky Mount, N.C.
West: Michael Fagans, Bakersfield, Calif. (Renominated)

Standing Committees:

Church-wide Relations: Sarah Jane Moore, Chicago
Community Relations: Carline Seide Murphy, Niverville, N.Y. (Renominated)
Finance Committee: Oscar Heyward, New York (Renominated)

Guests included Onaje Hopper and Ledonia Kimball, both former committee members, and Donna Lea from Living Faith Fellowship.

SDOP is looking for ways to engage communities of economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people in partnership as well as promote and interpret the ministry in Presbyterian congregations. For information on upcoming workshops for community-based groups interested in learning about possible partnerships, to set up a workshop or to arrange for a member of the SDOP Committee to visit your church, please contact the National Office at:

100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202-1396

Toll Free Telephone:
English (888) 728-7228 X5791/5792
Spanish (888) 728-7228 X5790

Fax: (502) 569-8963