Urban Ministries Charity CEO Praised for Taking a Low Salary

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The head of Urban Ministries of Durham was recently praised from a national, independent charity evaluator, Charity Navigator, for managing a highly rated charity but taking a smaller than expected paycheck.

With revenue of almost $2.7 million, Urban Ministries’ Executive Director Sheldon Mitchell receives a salary of $85,000. This ranks the organization fourth in Charity’s Top 10.

“The leaders of these 10 organizations run highly-rated charities, yet they earn far less than the average compensation of $150,000 reported by the over 7,000 charities rated. The low salaries help these charities, which have earned at least two consecutive 4-star ratings, devote more than 80 percent of their budgets to their programs and services,” according to Charity Navigator.

In an interview with Triangle Business Journal, Mitchell stated that an accomplishment he was most proud of in the past year for Urban Ministries was that during their last full fiscal year, they helped 237 people end their homelessness. With no longer offering just a bed for the night, the organization now offers a case manager and a personalized plan to end homelessness for every person that checks into their shelter. In addition, they’ve offered emergency services for more than 30 years: free groceries and clothing to poor families in the community and three free meals to anyone who is hungry in their Community Café. Urban Ministries served more than a quarter-million meals and assisted with 480 households monthly.

Durham’s downtown and surrounding neighborhoods are becoming increasingly popular, causing rent prices to rise. Because people with minimum-wage jobs can’t keep pace, it’s making it harder than ever for even employed poor people to escape homelessness. To help address these concerns, Urban Ministries launched their Workforce Development effort to train homeless clients to get good-paying jobs. The organization is seeking new partner employers in construction, retail, laundry, culinary, facilities maintenance, and landscaping industries.

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