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Durham Needs a Living Wage

The Durham Living Project is an endeavor of The People’s Alliance Fund. The DLWP officially launched in early 2015 and brought on a part-time staff person in June 2015. 

Our certification program is modeled after Just Economics' Living Wage Certification Program out of Asheville, currently the largest living wage certification program in the country (right here in North Carolina!)

Click to find answers to frequently asked questions, or for more information, contact us at!

Steering Committee

The Durham Living Wage Project is guided by a Steering Committee comprised of employers, employees, and community members committed to a just and sustainable local economy.

  • Kate Fellman: Kate currently serves as Interim Director of the PA Fund. Prior to this role, Kate worked for 4 years as the PA Coordinator.  Kate has a passion for civic engagement and making voting an integral part of people’s lives to help empower underrepresented communities.
  • Rob Gillespe: Co-owner, Monuts
  • Kevin Griffin: Kevin is the President and CEO of AVANT Group, LLC,  a full service staffing and recruiting firm that is also a 3rd party certified sustainable company (B-Corp).  The AVANT focus is matching the right candidates with the right positions, at the right times.  Paying a living wage is a key component of a good career opportunity, and Mr. Griffin’s role is to present that fact to the business community, and to advocate for all companies to raise their standards of pay.
  • Adrienne Harreveld: Adrienne is the Programming Coordinator for the Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University where she runs the Initiative on Poverty and Social Justice. 
  • Rev. Joe Harvard: After more than 33 years at the pulpit of First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Harvard recently retired. He remains active in local community efforts including the interfaith Durham Congregations in Action and its project End Poverty Durham. 
  • Fern Hickey: Fern lives in Durham and co-manages vegetable, small fruit, and flower production at Maple Spring Gardens in nearby Cedar Grove. She serves on the DLWP Steering Committee, representing one of the many economic sectors that historically struggles to pay a living wage.
  • Matt Kopac: Matt’s experience blends business, policy and social/environmental justice. As the Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager at Burt’s Bees and Vice-President of The Burt’s Bees Foundation, Matt focuses on responsible sourcing, sustainable packaging, environmental footprint management and community outreach. 
  • Carl Rist: Carl has spent over 20 years at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and is currently the Director of Children's Savings and Senior Advisor, Asset Building.  Carl is also an active community volunteer and serves on the boards of the Durham People's Alliance, the Self-Help Federal Credit Union and NC Child
  • Brian Schneiderman: Self-Help
  • Sabine Schoenbach: Sabine is a self-employed consultant focusing on research and analysis around issues of economic security and income inequality. She previously worked with the NC Justice Center’s Worker’s Rights Project and at the New Jersey Poverty Research Institute as a policy analyst and researcher focusing on wage standards, paid leave, and work supports.
  • Dave Winski: Dave is a PhD Candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Duke University with work experience in the mental health and social service fields.
  • Michael Young: Michael is the National Field Director at United for a Fair Economy, which raises awareness that concentrated wealth and power undermine the economy, corrupt democracy, deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart. Michael has recently returned to Durham, where he grew up, and is excited to participate with the DLWP, working to forge a more just and fair local economy
  • Susie Zadeh: Cocoa Cinnamon 

This Project’s existence is owed to many, many volunteer hours and the steadfast support and generous contributions from the following businesses, organizations, and artists:

  • The PA Fund
  • Cocoa Cinnamon
  • Monuts Donuts
  • Self-Help
  • Center for Documentary Studies
  • Durham Congregations in Action
  • Durham CAN
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • KLP Designs
  • Leslie Cunningham Films
  • Just Economics
  • NC Justice Center