Our Model

The REAL Durham Model

Our model includes a community of Leaders, Allies, and other REAL Durham staff and volunteers, educating, supporting and lifting each other up as we work toward our vision for a more equitable Durham.

Training, education, coaching and support to develop intentional relationships.

Investment in relationships
by Leaders, Allies, Volunteers and Stakeholders

Training, education, coaching and support to develop financial security

Supportive relationships across lines of privilege

Investment in achieving goals by Leaders, Allies, Volunteers and Stakeholders

Training, education, coaching and support to develop community financial stability

Increased individual financial stability

to community
financial stability

The Role of Leaders

REAL Durham Leaders are individuals of low-income—often overworked, underpaid or unemployed—struggling to create a more safe and financially stable life for themselves and their families. Leaders enter into a collaborative journey with Allies and other Leaders as they pursue financial stability and a pathway to wealth. They select areas or issues from the Community Financial Stability track, become involved in advocacy or activism work, and may also participate in free financial education workshops.

REAL Durham Leaders share social capital. Marginalized communities and persons embody aspects of social capital that are often overlooked or devalued, but are critical to transforming our communities and building a more equitable Durham. These individuals and communities have their own resources to:

  • Build and sustain effective underground networks and resources 

  • Consistently “make a way out of no way,” or create something from nothing

  • Maintain dignity

  • Trust and hope against the odds

  • Maintain a sense of belonging even though they are invisible to mainstream powers


The social and community ties promoted by these networks provide Leaders with the social, cognitive, and emotional support and resources they need. The vast skill set that is required for perseverance with dignity in violent, oppressive environments is just one aspect of social capital that Leaders bring to REAL Durham.


The Role of Allies

Allies are involved in a participatory journey with Leaders as they pursue financial stability and a pathway to wealth. It’s not just being, or walking with—it is essential that Aspiring Allies support, partner, and collaborate with Leaders to achieve their goals and overcome discriminatory barriers to full inclusion and equity in the city of Durham.

REAL Durham Allies open doors and share their privilege, power, access, and social capital with Leaders by


  • Supporting Leaders’ strategies and plans to reach long and short-term goals

  • Introducing Leaders to resourceful friends and colleagues

  • Introducing lesser known or hard-to-access resources

  • Providing referrals to living wage job opportunities

  • Helping with job searches, resumé development, and practice in interview skills

  • Supporting access to affordable health care/insurance

  • Supporting efforts to secure and maintain safe and stable housing

  • Accompanying Leaders at various educational workshops or other meetings


© 2018 by REAL Durham

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