Press "Enter" to skip to content

Community Controlled Funds to Fuel Food-oriented Economic Development

Project Overview

During the summer of 2022, graduate student Elizabeth Mitchell is researching community controlled funds, focusing on the Thriving Community Fund in Durham and other exemplary funds across the world. The research goal is to:

  • analyze community controlled funds to better understand what makes them successful in addressing communities’ issues
  • learn how Durham County North Carolina could implement a community controlled fund

Mitchell will review Integrated Capital Investing’s list of the Transformative 25, funds which are transforming finance for people and the planet. These funds meet Integrated Capital Investing’s criteria of employing integrated capital; using creative finance; focusing on social, relational, and ecological returns; and engaging with ownership and governance for equity (Integrated Capital Investing, 2022). The funds will serve as case studies to show how successful funds are managed and how they affect their communities across the United States and the world.

Mitchell will also be working with Communities in Partnership, a community-rooted organization based in Old East Durham. She will assist staff working on the Thriving Community Fund, a fund that provides grant support and builds an entrepreneurial network for BIPOC-owned food businesses in Durham. She will interview Thriving Community Fund staff, Communities in Partnership leaders, and members of the Equitable Economic Advancement Collaborative (community leaders who helped form the Thriving Community Fund) to better understand how Thriving Community Fund was founded and how it has operated during its first year. Thriving Community Fund will serve as a local case study of how community controlled funds can operate and the impact these funds have on community members.



  • Elizabeth Mitchell, Duke Master of Environmental Management Program
  • Jennifer Zuckerman, Duke World Food Policy Center
  • Communities in Partnership, Durham, NC