About Good Work

Our Goals

  1. Grow resilient community entrepreneurs from all walks of life
  2. Collaborate with others to improve services, policies, and community leadership that support community entrepreneurship and community development

Our Values and Organizing Principles

  • Education and lifelong learning
  • Resilience
  • Self-reliance
  • Economic literacy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Meaningful work and good jobs
  • Quality goods and services
  • Stewardship and sustainability 
  • Servant leadership
  • Beloved community


In 1991, Good Work was founded as a nonprofit corporation in Durham, North Carolina. Realizing that entrepreneurship is a way that highly motivated individuals — regardless of economic or social background — can increase a family's economic strength and create community jobs, they built a program to support those efforts.

Here are the original purposes of the Good Work nonprofit corporation (May 21, 1991):

1.            To relieve poverty, eliminate prejudice, lessen neighborhood tensions, and combat community deterioration in certain economically depressed areas through a program designed to improve economic conditions and economic opportunities in those areas

2.            To lessen the burden of government by creating and saving jobs for low and moderate income people, and thereby to alleviate dissatisfaction arising from the lack of employment opportunities

3.            To provide ongoing technical assistance and training to low-income, unemployed, underemployed, or minority persons who are seeking to save or create meaningful jobs and to improve the public, social, and economic well-being of their families and communities

4.            To conduct seminars, workshops, and other educational events and activities designed to teach to workers and self-employed individuals, community leaders, government officials, and others of the general public engaged in economic development activities the financial and management skills needed for the operation of very small businesses

5.            To make loans or loan guarantees that will enable self-employed individuals and very small businesses to obtain access to capital

We believe that self-employment is a viable and valuable component of the economic development system. Self-employment can help people add income and develop assets through small business ownership. People choose self-employment for the flexibility needed to balance home and work responsibilities. Many times, starting a business is preferable to minimum wage labor. Plus, for many people, self-employment offers the chance to use talents, realize suppressed dreams, and find fulfillment that is rarely possible with other employment options.

Good Work helps increase family income and assets by helping people develop or strengthen their small business.  Since 1991, Good Work has trained thousands in economic literacy, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills, helping create or strengthen small businesses and social enterprises in North Carolina. Year after year, Good Work helps generate jobs and contribute to the community's economic development.

20 topics, themes, activities, strategies, and avenues we want encourage, strengthen, and amplify

1::  entrepreneurs from all walks of life

2::  community enterprises and cooperatives

3::  community-based organizations (CBOs) & community development corporations (CDCs)

4::  sustainable business, social enterprise, & fourth sector enterprise

5::  entrepreneurship development systems, entrepreneurship networks, & economic gardening

6::  self-reliance & self-care skill building

7::  mentoring, community, sharing, collaboration, cooperation, mutual assistance, & peer support

8::  indigenous leadership, local knowledge, grassroots organizing, & community-led development

9::  revitalizing the commons (enjoying and supporting our public libraries, public parks, etc)

10::  access to markets, resources, & culturally appropriate assistance

11::  responsible lending & community development financial institutions (CDFIs)

12::  socially responsible, community, & impact investing

13::  sustainable local & regional food systems (with farmers markets, community supported agriculture, urban farms, food forests, & edible landscapes)

14::  reuse economy

15::  community support for re-entry, restorative justice, & the formerly incarcerated 

16::  immigrant & refugee friendly communities & comprehensive immigration reform

17::  renewable energy

18::  sustainable & affordable housing

19::  community land trusts

20::  natural medicine, self-care, alternative & complementary therapies, & wellness practices

Supporters and Partners (Past & Present)

  • Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
  • Bountiful Backyards
  • Builders of Hope
  • Catholic Campaign for Human Development
  • Center for Community Self-Help
  • Central Park NC
  • City of Durham Department of Housing and Community Development
  • City of Durham Office of Economic and Employment Development
  • E. and E. Chanlett Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation
  • Conservation Fund
  • Electra Gold Ltd.
  • Golden Corral Charitable Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation
  • Heifer International
  • InSight Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation
  • Jubilee Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation
  • Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation
  • NC African and World Services Coalition
  • NC Community Shares
  • NC Indian Economic Development Initiative
  • NC Institute for Minority Economic Development
  • NC Rural Economic Development Center
  • Neighborhood Allies of Durham
  • Karen and Christopher Payne Foundation
  • Quintiles Give Back Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation
  • Seven Stars Campaign
  • Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
  • Triangle Community Foundation
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Verizon Foundation 
  • Visual Art Exchange
  • Michael Warner and Betty Craven Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation
  • White Memorial Presbyterian Church