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We believe in relationships.

The issues we work on come out of small-group gatherings called “house meetings”, where people share their stories about issues they’d like to see changed and have energy to work on. We are driven by the testimony of concrete experience, not pre-conceived ideology.

We believe in citizen leadership.

We identify, bring together and develop leaders across our communities, so that we can accomplish more together than we could apart.

We believe in ownership.

We accept no money from government sources. The organization is funded by dues from its member institutions, in addition to some foundation and business support. This allows the organization to belong to, and be accountable to, the institutions that make it up.

We believe in practical solutions.

We work on concrete issues that we can do something about. Once potential issues are identified, community leaders do research to develop practical, achievable solutions.

How CAN Works

CAN is based in institutions: congregations, associations, schools (both private and public), nonprofits, and neighborhood organizations that share a concern for families and a tradition of faith and democracy.
Institutions that join CAN do so for three central reasons:

  • To develop leadership and strengthen community within and between their institutions.
  • To build bridges across longstanding divisions that isolate communities from each other.
  • To build their capacity to act against the root causes of inequality and injustice.

The responsibilities of institutional membership are also threefold:

  • To build a core team of leaders responsible for organizing within the member institution.
  • To pay membership dues.

CAN and all its organizations are issue-driven politically non-partisan. We do not endorse any candidate or party for elected office, and instead put forth our issues agenda as our platform for constructive change.

We strengthen congregations and community institutions by developing the skills and capacity of their leaders to be change agents in the public process. Durham CAN creates a vehicle for ordinary families to have a powerful voice in community decisions that affect their lives, instead of leaving decision-making in the hands of a select few.

We build relationships of trust among people and institutions across Durham County, intentionally crossing boundaries of economics, race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation and geography that divide our communities. Part of the dynamism of our work derives from a shared commitment to bring together individuals and families that typically do not know one another, and often do not know how to collaborate successfully.

While not a religious organization, CAN agenda reflects Judeo-Christian and democratic values. CAN is often called upon to support member churches, synagogues, even dioceses, synods and conferences as they seek to address problems that impact families and communities.