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Durham Needs a Living Wage

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


The mission of the Durham Living Wage Project is to support worker livelihoods by urging employers to pay living wages, certifying and publicly recognizing employers, and promoting living wages as a matter of conscience within our community.


We envision Durham as a livable community where all workers can prosper.


We exist to promote a just economy where workers are paid fairly, employers are successful, and our community thrives as a result.

Guiding Principles

We believe that a just economy provides:

  • Jobs with dignity and living wages
  • Economic prosperity for individuals, enterprises and communities
  • Equal opportunity and justice for all people who have been marginalized in our society, with a particular focus on race, class and gender equity

We believe that we can help bring about a more just economy by promoting living wages and by collaborating with partner organizations that seek to:

  • Reduce barriers to employment
  • Place marginalized workers in living wage jobs
  • Provide workers with a broader set of employment benefits and protections

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.

  • 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.
  • Matt Kopac: Matt’s experience blends business, policy and social/environmental justice. As the Sustainable Business & Innovation Manager at Burt’s Bees and Vice-President of The Burt’s Bees Foundation, Matt champions livelihoods and nature through work on responsible sourcing, sustainable packaging, environmental footprint management and community outreach. 
  • Henry McKoy: Henry is on faculty at North Carolina Central University School of Business where he also serves as Director of Entrepreneurship. He is married with two children. He is interested in ensuring that all individuals live respectable and dignified lives by being paid a fair and livable wage for the work they do.
  • Brian Nealon: Brian is the Director of Operations at EarthShare NC, a non-profit supporting the conservation movement by building partnerships between corporations and local conservation groups. His past work includes owning a small business and securing employment opportunities for underserved young people.
  • Candace Rashada: While Candace works as a Program Coordinator at Durham Technical Community College Division of Corporate and Continuing Education, she serves as a community advocate for youth and adults in transition from homelessness, incarceration and abuse. She believes that education and living wages are the cornerstones of stability that transform lives.
  • Carl Rist: Carl has spent over 20 years at Prosperity Now (formerly 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.
  • Shannon Ritchie (founder and consultant, Nectar Strategies) is a digital strategist, policy wonk, and social justice advocate. As a consultant and partner, she guides nonprofit organizations, funders, and movements towards more strategic communication to achieve social and policy change. Her research and professional expertise lies at the intersections of data, technology, and digital media. Prior to starting her work with Nectar, she was Director of Digital and Innovation for AJ Fletcher Foundation and founded SpeakUp NC, a project to elevate public discourse using nonprofit leaders' voices. Previously, she co-founded The Vote Against Project and has worked at City Year and Harvard Law School. She completed her undergraduate education at Wake Forest University, where she served as student body president, and received a master's in public policy from Duke's Sanford School. When she takes a break from the laptop, you’ll find her drinking copious amounts of coffee around Durham, soaking up sunshine across NC, and enjoying kitchen dance parties with partner Carl and two young children.
  • Brian Schneiderman: Brian is Director of Commercial Lending at Self-Help.
  • Gabe Treves-Kagan: Gabe is the Director of Development and Community Impact at the Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), where he leads the credit union’s local community and economic development programs. LCCU works to create a more equitable society; empowering its members by offering ethical financial products and education and its staff by paying a living wage.

Thanks for the 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

The Durham Living Project is an endeavor of The People’s Alliance Fund. The DLWP officially launched in early 2015.