DURHAM INCUBATOR WORKS TO AID YOUTH EMPLOYMENT

By Stephanie Lopez / ABC11

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD)Thursday, January 26, 2017 -- A Durham incubator is focusing on youth employment with the goal of curbing the numbers when it comes to at-risk youth.

The ReCity incubator houses a network of over 30 local non-profits and mission-driven business all focused on helping the almost 5,000 Durham youth, who are neither in school or employed, by connecting them with opportunities that could lead them to family-sustaining employment.

"There's literally a tale of two Durham's happening where the rising tide of urban renewal isn't really lifting all ships," said ReCity executive director, Rob Shields.

They're doing this by fostering partnerships within those 30 groups all working under one roof to get more done. The partnership between StepUp Durham and Partners for Youth Opportunity has already lead to job placement for nearly 30 young people.

StepUp Durham helps to provide job training for those with significant barriers to employment such as ex-offenders, the homeless, and those with large gaps in employment.

Partners for Youth Opportunity focuses on mentoring young adults, who are the child of an incarcerated parent or a first generation immigrant, to get into college or find sustainable work.

"We asked StepUp Durham, when they're meeting a family that they're going to serve, to ask if there are teenagers in their home who could use the services that PYO provides," explained Julie Wells, the executive director for Partners for Youth Opportunity. "That way we can maximize impact."

"We would not have been able to reach that many people just with four full-time staff and four interns," said Syretta Hill, executive director of StepUp Durham.

Another non-profit, Helius Foundation, helps those who can't get a job to start their own business and succeed at it.

"This last year we've grown to 22 clients and all but five of them were referred by other organizations," said Geraud Staton, executive director of Helius Foundation.

All of these little successes helps ReCity get closer to its goal.

"We want to see 1000 kids in the next three years be connected onto a path towards living wage, family-sustaining income," Shields said

'WHO YOU HIRE MATTERS': STEPUP DURHAM APPEALS TO DCIA

By Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan / The Herald Sun

Durham, NC, Dec. 14, 2016 -- StepUp Durham appealed to Durham Congregations In Action at DCIA’s monthly meeting held Tuesday at Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church.

StepUp, which started in Raleigh, is up and running in Durham and provides job training, employment placement and support for those who are seeking stable employment.

Founded in 1988 at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh as a housing program, it became a job placement program in 2004. Rev. Spencer Bradford, executive director of DCIA, said he was excited when StepUp opened an office in Durham.

Erin Roesch of StepUp, who is also a UMC deacon who works at City Well Church in Durham, said that who you hire matters.

“It matters to God and it matters to the community. And it should matter to you,” Roesch told DCIA members of dozens of congregations that form the collaborative organization. Roesch gave DCIA an overview of how StepUp works -- a weeklong job training followed by help obtaining employment and supportive coaching to help them maintain stable employment. She said the job training is about compassion accountability for those in the training, which also includes mock interviews, workplace conflict resolution scenarios and a new suit.

“You need to be teachable, honest and reliable,” Roesch said.

Rob Kinney went through StepUp training after he was sent by his pastor at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church. Kinney said that he had been despondent about finding a job but realized StepUp could help him tell his story with confidence. Even so, after finishing the job training he was skeptical, Kinney said. But he got a job at Umstead Hotel and Spa. He said after seven months there he sees it as a career, not just a job.

“Ninety percent is suit up and show up,” Kinney said. He said it won’t work everytime, but is worth trying.

Roesch said that StepUp is weaning off seed funding and seeking funding from private donations and joint grants with Urban Ministries of Durham.

Also during DCIA’s meeting, President Joy Mickle presented three nominees for the DCIA board who will be installed at its annual meeting in January. Board nominees are Rev. Michael Page of Antioch Baptist Church, Rev. Xolani Kacela of Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Imam Abdul Waheed of the W. Deen Mumammed Islamic Center.

DCIA’s annual banquet meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, 927 W. Trinity Ave. The theme will be “Welcoming Refugees and Immigrants,” and speakers will include Wildin Acosta, the Durham high school student who had been dealing with immigration issues.

For more information about DCIA, visit dcia.org.

See http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/who-you-hire-matters-stepup-durham-appeals-to-dcia/article_60235cec-c19d-11e6-b671-7303bbb3bf06.html

STEPUP LOOKS TOWARDS COLLABORATION ON EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

By Syretta Hill / The Herald Sun

Durham, NC, Nov. 13, 2016 In 2013, 12 servant leaders from several Durham communities were brought together to help determine the viability of StepUp in Durham. They knocked on the doors of close to 200 people across the most impacted communities to discuss the challenges affecting individuals looking for employment.

From their experiences and conversations, these leaders created a list of recommendations to guide the work of StepUp Durham. It was from this work that our foundation was built. And one year later, we strive to continue to live into the community tenets created by those leaders.

This past week was a big one for StepUp Durham. Not only did we have our second annual open house, a time to celebrate with our partners, neighbors and friends, our one-year anniversary in Walltown, but we hosted our first visioning session. Instead of creating a strategic plan for the organization, which happens internally for most agencies, we envisioned creating a space where community stakeholders came together to help us plan our future.

The goal for our visioning session was to provide information and updates on our employment training, share the beginning design of the holistic and family-centered component we plan to launch in 2017, and get community feedback and buy-in on both. Farad Ali, a leader in minority economic development, and John Parker, an asset-based community development practitioner, facilitated this process

On the evening of the session, we had more than 30 people in the room representing at least 15 organizations. After some food and fellowship, we began to dig into the nuts and bolts of StepUp Durham’s program -- a 32-hour training that serves employment seekers, particularly those with challenges to employment (for example, former incarceration, gaps in employment), and offers one-on-one case management to support job placement within 90 days.

Questions emerged, but not the ones we anticipated. Folks were asking less about those we served, but those who were not being served. With hundreds of nonprofits in the area, there is just a handful working with individuals around employment. StepUp is proud to be in relationship with most of them; however, there are still a significant percentage of people who are unable to get the type of employment support they need. The necessity for more intentional collaboration and the creation of a continuum of services around employment was clear.

Durham is fortunate to have the strong model with the Continuum of Care (CoC), a coordinated intake and information sharing system that allows sectors to collectively serve homeless individuals better. We need something similar for workforce development. We need a system that allows an unemployed person to have their unique situation assessed and for informed referrals to be made to the agency best suited to serve them. The collaborative would share information, referrals, and possibly even resources so that people have what they need to look for a job (childcare and transportation) and the steps to grow a career (referrals to educational partners like Durham Tech).

StepUp Durham welcomes an opportunity to be part of a collaborative effort like that. We can’t meet every need on our own. We are committed, however, to working with others in the community to bring what we can to addressing economic development in Durham.

STEPUP DURHAM COLLABORATES TO OVERCOME EMPLOYMENT BARRIERS

Collaborate.jpg

By Syretta Hill / The Herald Sun

Durham, NC, Aug. 6, 2016 - Working to overcome barriers to employment, StepUp Durham is an innovative nonprofit committed to making a difference in the Durham community.

When StepUp Durham opened its doors in September, I focused on three goals:

  • Get people employed.
  • Create a physical space in the Walltown community where folks felt welcome. 
  • Identify organizations in the community who were doing good work and collaborate.

As I reflect on our first 10 months, I am pleased to see us accomplishing all three goals. We have cultivated relationships with 40 employers like Unifirst, Duke and Measurement Incorporated who have hired our graduates. We have helped to place 40 people in jobs with an average wage of $10.44 an hour.

In many ways, StepUp’s 32-hour employment training simulates a traditional work -week. It takes place Monday through Friday with high accountability and the expectation of individuals showing up on time and completing assigned tasks. Not everyone who starts on Monday finishes on Friday. Those who do interview with HR professionals who have volunteered their time to coach StepUp participants. They participate in these interviews with a resume in hand and dressed in the professional attire they have chosen during the week.

Because the StepUp Durham team is small, we focus on the quality of services for participants entering StepUp and their long-term economic stability. Behind our start-up statistics are Durham residents who have used the StepUp process as a start to a brighter future. Individuals like Zach, who within nine days of graduation, dressed in his new suit with his StepUp resume and renewed confidence, found a job at a men’s clothing store. Or Ginger, who continued to work with us even after we exceeded our goal of having her employed within three months, a goal that staff and participants agree on at graduation. Ginger started her new job at Duke as a teller two weeks ago.

Our presence has been welcome, and weekly we have folks who just drop in to see what we are about. From those drop-ins, we have had people sign up for our training, folks drop off clothes to “suit” our men and, most recently, a new intern added to our team – a second-year master of social work student from North Carolina Central University!

The present and future of StepUp Durham is collaboration. We have partnered with organizations like Urban Ministries, which sends us participants for our bi-monthly training and Partners for Youth Opportunities (PYO,) which we supported in piloting a summer employment curriculum. We partner with ReCity, where I now spend half of my office hours networking with amazing organizations like REAL Durham, PYO and Helius. These are just a few of the organizations that have shown an interest in building a continuum of services for Durham families.

As I reflect on our first 10 months, I feel blessed by what the StepUp Durham team has accomplished and excited about the people and agencies that will inspire our work this upcoming year.

STEPUP DURHAM FOCUSES ON JOBS; NONPROFIT MATCHES GRADS WITH EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS

By Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan / The Herald Sun

Durham, NC, April 30, 2016 - StepUp Durham, a nonprofit focused on employment and life skills training, shared their mission with the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham at RCND’s monthly roundtable luncheon this week at Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church.

There is a StepUp Raleigh and StepUp Greensboro that have been established for years, but is less than a year old in Durham. While other StepUps use the word ministry to describe the programs, StepUp Durham does not so they are more inclusive, said executive director Syretta Hill.

StepUp Durham helps women and men -- about half of whom have employment barriers of pasts in the criminal justice system -- with job training. They offer a 32-hour training and help with resumes and directly contacting local employers.

“What makes us a little different is we do this in a very relational way,” Hill said. They reach out to employers for entry level jobs for StepUp graduates.

“Our goal is to help them get that entry level survival job,” she said, and where they go after that. Hill said for those with a “justice-involved past,” their employment really does help the community. Criteria for StepUp includes no pending charges, 90 days removed from substance abuse, 90 days removed from any domestic violence situation, and not being on the sex offender registry.

Unlike other StepUps that came out of church ministries, StepUp Durham began with an exploratory committee, Hill said. The committee advised what Durham wanted when StepUp launched this past fall. While all StepUps are faith-based, she said, StepUp Durham doesn’t use the word ministry so the sign on the door is more inclusive. They’re also intentional about what language they use, she said, focusing on what people bring rather than what deficits they have. They look through a racial equity lens, too, she said.

Effie Steele of RCND noted that there are multiple nonprofits and agencies that address employment issues. She asked how StepUp is different than services already provided in Durham.

Hill said that while they’re not unique, they do go looking for employers for StepUp graduates.

Rev. Keith Daniel, longtime clergy and community leader who previously worked at DurhamCares, is now with StepUp North Carolina. It can’t be just another program, Daniel said, but rather a way for people to believe there is hope for them.

Steele said the key is economic stability.

“When people have no hope, they make wrong choices,” Steele said.

Erin Roesch, StepUp Durham’s director of employer recruitment, said she’s not asking for money, but rather jobs -- specifically, access to employment.

“A lot of what we’re doing is reminding people how valuable to the economy they are,” Roesch said. Those who come to StepUp Durham need to be ready to go to work as soon as a job is available. For employers, collaborating with StepUp isn’t a promise to hire StepUp graduates, but a promise to look at their applications. Duke University, Measurement Inc. and C.T. Wilson Construction Company and others in Durham have already agreed to take that look, she said. This first year of StepUp Durham is focused just on employment training, while the second year will also take a look at providing quality of life skills, Hill said.

StepUp Durham is hoping to speak to more community and faith organizations at lunches or breakfasts to share information about the nonprofit and to connect with employers willing to commit to contacting StepUp when they have available entry level jobs. 

STEPUP DURHAM OFFERS FIRST JOB TRAINING CLASS

Press Release

Durham, N.C., October 21, 2015 –StepUp Ministry, a local non-profit that has placed over 3,500 people in jobs over the last 26 years, announces the opening of a new local site, StepUp Durham. The new site will offer its first, weeklong job training class on Monday, October 26, 2015.

StepUp Durham opened its doors earlier this October in historic Walltown, where they will coordinate a 32-hour job training class that teaches the skills needed to find and sustain employment. The class, which will be taught in various locations around Durham, is designed specifically for individuals facing barriers to finding employment, such as a criminal background or gaps in employment history.

In addition to employment services, StepUp Durham also focuses on providing free pre-employment screening, training, referral, and support services to employers who hire StepUp participants. After the first year, the organization will add a year-long personal and career development class to employed individuals that teaches valuable skills such as budgeting, financial literary, credit restoration, how to manage emotions, and relational wellness. 

The creation of StepUp Durham followed a replication model based upon community need and interest lead by a local steering committee composed of current job seekers and prominent members of the Durham community. The committee’s primary focus has been on the strategy and process of bringing StepUp Durham into fruition and ensuring that those most affected by unemployment remain actively involved in the organizations development. 

Syretta Hill, StepUp Durham’s Executive Director says, “The Durham community has been welcoming. Already we sense a willingness to partner and collaborate with local groups. Durham understands that unemployment is a significant challenge and no one organization can serve everyone. We are grateful for people who are willing to work together to have the greatest impact. StepUp Durham will be a ray of hope for so many individuals.”

With a four full-time staff and three part-time staff, StepUp Durham estimates placing 150 people in jobs within the first year of operation.

Syretta Hill heads up StepUp Durham as the Executive Director, along with Erin Roesch as Director of Development and Employer Recruitment, Tim Wollin as Employment Manager, Baqir Mujahid as Employment Counselor and Juan Nelson as Employment Counselor. 

Members of the local steering committee include: Elizabeth Adams, Derrick Beasley, Dorian Bolden, Edward R. Boyd, Jr., Drew Hill, Brandon J. Hudson, William Jackson, Micheline Ridely Malson, Candance A. Rashada Mujahid, Ernest Smith, Camryn Smith, Abdul Waheed, and Rachel White.                               

QUOTES:

"StepUp Durham has been a faithful journey where StepUp has learned to be invited to the community not the other way around,” says Steve Swayne, CEO of StepUp North Carolina. “Thanks to the wonderful work of the steering committee, StepUp is excited to partner with Durham in supporting adults and children in their vocational and life challenges. We look forward to partnering with many people, agencies and employers in Durham to make stability a word that all people can achieve.” 

“The Steering Committee has been dedicated to the process of accountability and relationships developing between the Durham Community & StepUp Durham. We have been very focused on both the intentionality behind having the most affected populations being involved in the development and strategy behind StepUp's entry into our community. We also, and more importantly, have focused on the most affected community being at the helm and steering the ship. We not only wanted the participants within the StepUp program to be reflective of this but also the volunteer base, the places and spaces that welcome the StepUp program and the culture and identity of the StepUp community to be reflective of the make-up and rich historical legacy within Durham's African American and increasing Latino communities,” says Camryn Smith, Steering Committee Member.

FROM HOUSING TO JOB SKILLS, SYRETTA HILL HELPS PEOPLE STEP UP

By Marti Maguire / News & Observer

Durham, NC, Sept. 25, 2015 - In the quarter-century since it started as a small, church-based program, StepUp Ministry has helped thousands of people find jobs and build stable lives. Now an independent nonprofit, StepUp helps people who are coming out of prison, are homeless, or otherwise in need of a fresh start.

It’s an intense program, helping only those willing to devote serious time and effort by training them in every aspect of finding and keeping a job, managing their finances and navigating the many problems that can derail their progress.

And it’s a growing effort. Two years ago, the Raleigh-based program launched a Greensboro office. This year, with help from benefit concerts hosted by Band Together, the group raised $2 million to expand further.

Syretta Hill, 42, is heading the latest expansion for StepUp, which will open its new Durham office next month, aiming to place 250 people in jobs within the next nine months. She previously worked as a community organizer with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County.

Tim Wollin, who joined the new Durham team after working for StepUp in Raleigh, says Hill has been able to form key relationships to make the organization’s newest iteration a success.

“She’s got that expertise in pulling together all kinds of people behind a cause,” Wollin says. “And she’s got the kind of personality that will put people at ease while also challenging them to be their best.”

A home, and more

Hill grew up in northwest Florida, where her parents both held master’s degrees and worked in the prison system – steady jobs, Hill says, that she sensed were not as satisfying as the volunteer work they did after retirement.

Hill says her work with Habitat, and now StepUp, helped her to find that kind of personal satisfaction with her job. But she wasn’t always destined for nonprofit work.

“I’m not a planner,” says Hill. “Whatever door is open, I’m just ready to walk through it.”

She finished high school in Tallahassee and earned a scholarship to attend the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she earned a degree in communications.

From there, she joined her father, who was living in Philadelphia, where she worked for a local school district and later a small publishing company. When that company downsized, she moved to Raleigh, where her mother lives, and started with Habitat Wake.

She started out doing family support, helping the recipients of Habitat homes to work out their other problems, including child care, food and transportation.

“Most of these families are living in crisis mode,” she says. “One thing happens and the whole thing falls apart.”

Later her role would expand to include community-wide programs. Part of a national movement within Habitat for Humanity, these neighborhood revitalization efforts were meant to build lasting community networks that promote safety, wellness and economic development in low-wealth neighborhoods.

“You can build a house, but if the community around it isn’t thriving, you’ve done a disservice to that family,” Hill says.

Throughout that time, she was forging ties with all kinds of community groups that focus on specific needs. She became a board member at Wheels4Hope, which fixes up donated cars and provides them at low cost to low-income workers.

She also worked with the City of Raleigh on park projects, earning her a volunteer award earlier this year, and volunteered with Jobs for Life, a nonprofit devoted to job placement.

Another group she worked with was StepUp, where she would refer people to the jobs and life skills programs. When she heard of the opening in Durham, she was eager to take the leap.

Learning to overcome

StepUp was founded as a temporary housing program within White Memorial Presbyterian Church and has grown over the years into a well-regarded nonprofit with an operating budget that has reached nearly $2 million.

The group conducts a weeklong jobs program and a yearlong life skills program as well as programs that focus on young adults and the children of participants.

Participants in the jobs program attend workshops aimed at every aspect of finding a job – matching their skills with employers, creating resumes and filling out applications, and conducting mock interviews.

They are also outfitted with professional clothes through several area nonprofits, and leave with a suit, a resume and job leads.

For the life skills program, participants commit to a full year of weekly meetings, working closely with counselors and volunteers on skills including financial literacy and controlling their emotions. StepUp also matches up to $10 a week to help them build their savings.

Last year, StepUp helped connect more than 300 people with jobs; in its history, that number exceeds 2,500, and its graduates are known for their ability to keep jobs.

Moving forward, the group aims to open more branches and will use some of its expansion budget to create a central office overseeing the growing local offices.

Hill expects about 75 percent of the Durham program participants will have been involved in the criminal justice system in some way.

Baqir Mujahid, an employment counselor at the new office, says the need among this population is great in Durham. He struggled to find work for years after he was released from prison, despite training for several different careers.

Without jobs, says Mujahid, many ex-convicts return to crime to make a living.

“There are so many people facing obstacles and barriers to employment here,” says Mujahid. “You can have good intentions but you get beaten down.”

He eventually went to StepUp, and says the approach is far more effective than most job-placement programs because the program works so closely with the participants to both prepare them for work and help them find the right job.

“They address all of the different challenges,” says Mujahid.

For Hill, the past few weeks have been all about learning. She’s conducting meetings nearly every day with community leaders in Durham and says she has found a number of partners eager to work closely with StepUp.

She says she’s fallen in love with the town and plans to move her own family there soon.

As part of her preparation, she also attended a weeklong job placement class in Raleigh, where she saw the StepUp model at work firsthand.

“One man in particular came in on Friday in his suit and said, ‘I feel like a new man,’ ” she says. “It was amazing to see the transformation in people.”

SYRETTA HILL

Born: September 1973, Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Residence: Raleigh

Career: Director, StepUp Durham

Affiliations: Board member, Wheels4Hope; coordinating committee, Raleigh Organizing Against Racism; facilitator, Jobs for Life

Awards: Fred Fletcher Award of Excellence, City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board, 2015; American Marshall Memorial Fellow, 2013

Education: B.A. communications, University of South Florida; M.A. education, Temple University

Family: Husband, Stephen; children, Hayden and Jude

Fun Fact: Habitat afforded her a chance to travel, first as part of Habitat home-building projects in Honduras. Later, she was awarded a Marshall fellowship, which took her to five European countries as part of a program to increase international cooperation.


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article36643077.html#storylink=cp

STEPUP MINISTRY CREATES STEPUP NORTH CAROLINA TO REPLICATE ITS EMPLOYMENT SERVICES ACROSS THE STATE

Press Release

RALEIGH, N.C., September 9, 2015 – StepUp Ministry, a Raleigh-based non-profit creating lasting economic and social change by inspiring adults and children in economic risk to transform their lives through jobs and life skills training, has launched the creation of StepUp North Carolina. After three years of research and planning, the StepUp Ministry Board of Directors in Raleigh has successfully launched StepUp North Carolina. This new agency will replicate the StepUp model across the State and provide financial, human resource, marketing, and best practice sharing services to the current locations in Raleigh, Greensboro, and soon Durham, as well as future locations.

Founded in 1989, StepUp Ministry Raleigh has transformed the local community by providing employment and life skills training to individuals facing major barriers to finding employment. Annually, the Raleigh site aids 350+ job placements.

With the successful replication of StepUp Greensboro, aiding 490+ job placements since its inception, the StepUp Ministry Board of Directors in Raleigh recognized the growing challenges faced by hundreds of unemployed families in many North Carolina communities. After 3 years of research and planning, the StepUp Board approved the creation of StepUp North Carolina, which now serves as the “umbrella” organization over all current and future StepUp sites. It will establish relationships with local leaders, with local organizations, and with local funders at potential sites in order to measure the level of local interest and opportunity for success. Currently in full operation, StepUp North Carolina provides support in accounting, marketing and human resources for all local sites of StepUp Ministry. For its initial 2 years, StepUp North Carolina plans to focus support on the two current locations in Raleigh and Greensboro, as well as overseeing the creation of StepUp Durham in October 2015. After this 2-year period, it will focus on replication of services throughout the State.

Local funding for StepUp North Carolina comes primarily from the recent Band Together partnership. These funds will also seed StepUp Durham with sustainable funding during its first three years of operation. The remainder will go to Band Together and StepUp Ministry Raleigh.  

Steve Swayne, CEO of StepUp North Carolina, heads the new entity, along with Keith Daniel as Executive Director of Operations and Strategic Partnerships, Beth Lowery as CFO, Amy Kennemur as Human Resource Director, and Sarah Werner as Marketing Director.  

QUOTES: 

“Over the past 26 years, StepUp Ministry Raleigh developed a successful process for people seeking to improve their lives and develop stable careers. Three years ago, our board of directors decided that it was time to share this process with communities that sought a means for adults and children to transform their lives through employment and life skills training. It is exciting to see this dream become a reality,” said Linda Nunnallee, Executive Director of StepUp Ministry Raleigh.

“StepUp North Carolina will take the investment of the StepUp staff, volunteers, participants and board members in Raleigh and Greensboro and leverage the program and operational best practices across the state,” said Tom Everly, a past Board Member of StepUp Ministry Raleigh who currently serves as StepUp North Carolina Board Chair.  “We are very excited to continue to increase our capacity to prepare even more adults and children for stable and productive lives.”

 “I am very excited to see us spread the exciting work of StepUp throughout North Carolina. We have thoughtfully created a model to share the life changing services of StepUp with other communities. Thanks to the many people who worked so hard to bring the dream of serving people throughout NC to a reality,” said Andy Betts, current StepUp Ministry of Raleigh Board Member and liaison for StepUp NC. 

BAND TOGETHER AND STEPUP MINISTRY PARTNERSHIP RAISES $2 MILLION

Raleigh, N.C., June 29, 2015 — At its largest event to date, on Saturday night Band Together NC Executive Director Matt Strickland announced proceeds from the Michael Franti & Spearhead concert and the yearlong StepUp Ministry partnership would top $2 million. Turbulent weather and rain could not dampen spirits for the concert as music fans and supporters of the two nonprofits danced the night away and celebrated the success.

Band Together NC, a Triangle-based organization that uses live music as a platform for social change, has become the largest charitable music event in the Southeast since its inception in 2001. With this weekend’s event, the organization has raised nearly $5.5 million for the Triangle community to date.

Michael Franti & Spearhead headlined the 2015 concert, accompanied by Big Sam’s Funky NationElliot Root and Winston-Salem based Fat Cheek Kat – who earned a slot after winning Band Together’s 2015 Last Band Standing contest. This year also marked the return of the Main Event to downtown Raleigh and its first concert at Red Hat Amphitheater.

StepUp Ministry is the first repeat nonprofit partner, having partnered the first time in 2010. The 2010 Main Event concert was also headlined by Franti, and it was also the only other Band Together show in which it rained. Severe weather briefly interrupted the show, but guests, volunteers and the musicians quickly picked up where they had left off.

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and music fans, and our generous sponsors, we were able to successfully reach our 2015 fundraising goal of $2 million,” said Strickland. “The magical duo of nonprofit partner, StepUp Ministry, and headliner Michael Franti & Spearhead, along with the move to Red Hat Amphitheater made this our most exciting event yet.”

“A little rain can’t stop a party,” said Strickland. “I have to acknowledge the professionalism of the Red Hat Amphitheater staff, the hard work of our volunteers and the patience of fans. And, thank you to the artists, especially Michael Franti, who once again jumped into the crowd in the rain and performed.”

Proceeds raised this year will establish StepUp in Durham, create StepUp North Carolina as an umbrella organization to oversee replication across the state, and offer support to the original StepUp Ministry in Raleigh. Adults and children transforming their lives through employment and life skills training will continue to be StepUp’s mission as it expands these services throughout the Triangle.

“We are honored to have been chosen as the nonprofit partner again,” said Linda Nunnallee, executive director at StepUp Ministry, “and to have spent the past year collaborating.” Steve Swayne, StepUp North Carolina CEO added, “Our goal is to continue expanding StepUp throughout the Triangle and North Carolina and create more opportunities for adults and families in need of job or life skills training.”

Band Together would not be able to raise substantial funds or host events of this scale without the generous support of corporate partners in the community. Included among the hundreds of sponsors are: AJ Fletcher FoundationBB&TCaptrustDimension DataCiscoNetAppMedical Mutual and S&A Communications. Band Together would also like to thank Eschelon Experiences for their VIP catering and media partners WNCN and WRAL.com/Out & About.

In 2016, Band Together will partner with Kidznotes and host at least three signature live music events in the Triangle. To learn more about Band Together’s previous nonprofit partners or their events, visit www.bandtogethernc.org, become a fan on Facebook, join their LinkedIn group or follow @bandtogethernc on Twitter.

See more at: http://www.bandtogethernc.org/posts/news/band-together-stepup-ministry-partnership-raises-2-million#sthash.RdieEtT5.dpuf

BAND TOGETHER NC CONCERT WILL BENEFIT STEPUP MINISTRY

By Ashley Hendricks / News & Observer

Raleigh, NC, June 23, 2016 - StepUp Ministry, a Raleigh nonprofit that helps adults in need find jobs, wants to expand its reach. 

The group hopes to raise $2 million through Band Together NC, which has partnered with local nonprofits since 2001 to use music as a platform for social change. 

Band Together NC will host a concert Saturday at Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh. Money raised from the event will go to StepUp Ministry, which hopes to soon serve families in Durham and beyond. 

This is the second time Band Together NC has chosen StepUp Ministry as its partner group. In 2010, a concert for the ministry raised $358,000. 

“(StepUp Ministry) is the only nonprofit that was selected twice,” said Matt Strickland, executive director of Band Together NC. “That says a lot.” 

A faith-based group, StepUp Ministry has been around for 25 years and is dedicated to helping people gain employment through life skills and job training. 

Last year, the ministry placed 326 program graduates into jobs, according to the group. Of those, 67 percent were ex-offenders, 31 percent struggled with substance abuse and 38 percent were homeless. 

The ministry is all about giving people second chances. 

“Their entire life should not be hinged on one moment’s bad decision,” said Linda Nunnallee, executive director of StepUp Ministry. “It’s just the right thing to do, to be able to provide for their needs.” 

StepUp Ministry also offers programs for children, including life-skills training. 

The group currently operates in Raleigh and Greensboro. It hopes to expand to Durham and also create a central office overseeing all three locations. 

“Our obligation is to share who we are and what we are in other communities,” Nunnallee said.

The group relies on donations from the community and is hopeful the Band Together NC concert will help in its fundraising goal. 

Several bands will perform Saturday, including Michael Franti & Spearhead and Fat Cheek Cat. 

Tickets for the show are on sale now and start at $20 for general admission. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Saturday. There will also be an after party at Deep South. 

Strickland said it will probably be hot outside, but he’s anticipating “great music, a lot of fun and a lot of laughter all for the community.”


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