DURHAM, N.C. -- Two people working in Durham to build relationships and strengthen communities will receive this year’s Humanitarian Service Award from Duke Chapel.
Donna Carrington advocates for people vulnerable to homelessness in her work as a housing stabilization specialist at the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF). As the executive director of DurhamCares Inc., Reynolds Chapman helps local churches connect with one another and their surrounding communities to identify a community’s assets and meet its needs.
Duke Chapel will recognize Carrington and Chapman as Humanitarian Service Award recipients in a simple ceremony at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, in the Alumni Memorial Common Room in Duke Divinity School. The recipients will each receive a grant of $1,500 to further their community service efforts.
Chapman is a Duke Divinity School alumnus who has lived and worked in the Durham community for more than 10 years. For the last two years, he has worked at DurhamCares, a Christian community development organization. During his tenure, he has broadened the organization’s donor base, expanded its partnerships and reshaped its community vision.
In nominating Chapman for the award, the Rev. Keith Daniel, DurhamCares board chair, said, “Reynolds is a tireless agent of change and faithful witness for Christ in Durham and beyond. He is a beloved community builder.”
In her job, Carrington, a Durham native, supports Duke undergraduate students who volunteer as “advocates” to support CEF members in seeking housing, employment and financial stability. She also counsels members and coordinates CEF savings programs that help members mitigate financial crises and achieve home ownership.
One of those programs last year helped five Duke employees purchase a home for the first time.
Janet Xiao, a CEF co-director and Duke alumna, nominated Carrington for the award.
“As a change agent and a dedicated champion, she has worked tirelessly with members to navigate crises, access resources, budget, repair credit, save money and build stability,” Xiao wrote about Carrington. “She brings her full self with authenticity and courage, often drawing from the depths of her own experiences to offer support to others as they walk their own paths.”
The chapel’s annual Humanitarian Service Award aims to recognize individuals with a commitment to service and simplicity and is inspired by the lives of two Duke professors: Dr. George R. Parkerson Jr. and the late professor C. Eric Lincoln.