Raleigh, NC, January 20, 2016 – StepUp North Carolina announces today that Steve Swayne, CEO of StepUp North Carolina, will be stepping down from his position this spring and will join StepUp North Carolina’s Board of Directors.

Tom Everly, Board Chair of StepUp North Carolina stated, “We will miss Steve’s day-to-day leadership, but we look forward to his continued service on the board and his fundraising efforts for StepUp.” 

Steve Swayne was hired as the Assistant Executive Director of StepUp Ministry Raleigh in April 2007.  He became the Executive Director in January 2008 and then was named the CEO of the newly formed StepUp North Carolina in 2014.

During Steve Swayne’s tenure, the number of people placed in jobs in Raleigh increased to over 300 annually starting in 2009 and then each year after.  In 2011, StepUp Ministry Raleigh began replication efforts in Greensboro.  In 2015, StepUp Raleigh and StepUp Greensboro combined to place over 400 adults in employment and StepUp Durham was created. 

Through Steve’s leadership, StepUp received the proceeds from the Band Together concerts in both 2010 and 2015.  His efforts, combined with those of Band Together and StepUp Ministry Raleigh, ensured the sustainability of StepUp Ministry in Raleigh and was key to opening StepUp Durham.   

Steve will join the StepUp NC Board and continue to help it raise funds to ensure that current StepUps are sustainable, have strong and consistent back-office support and can continue to replicate StepUp programs state-wide over time.

 “It has been a privilege to walk alongside hundreds of adults who have come through this ministry,” said Swayne. “I have learned and received more from them than I gave and look forward to being a part of this ministry for years to come.” 


StepUp Durham Offers First Job Training Class

DURHAM, N.C., October 21, 2015 –StepUp Ministry, a local non-profit that has placed over 3,500 people in jobs over the last 26 years, announces the opening of a new local site, StepUp Durham. The new site will offer its first, weeklong job training class on Monday, October 26, 2015.

StepUp Durham opened its doors earlier this October in historic Walltown, where they will coordinate a 32-hour job training class that teaches the skills needed to find and sustain employment. The class, which will be taught in various locations around Durham, is designed specifically for individuals facing barriers to finding employment, such as a criminal background or gaps in employment history.

In addition to employment services, StepUp Durham also focuses on providing free pre-employment screening, training, referral, and support services to employers who hire StepUp participants. After the first year, the organization will add a year-long personal and career development class to employed individuals that teaches valuable skills such as budgeting, financial literary, credit restoration, how to manage emotions, and relational wellness. 

The creation of StepUp Durham followed a replication model based upon community need and interest lead by a local steering committee composed of current job seekers and prominent members of the Durham community. The committee’s primary focus has been on the strategy and process of bringing StepUp Durham into fruition and ensuring that those most affected by unemployment remain actively involved in the organizations development. 

Syretta Hill, StepUp Durham’s Executive Director says, “The Durham community has been welcoming. Already we sense a willingness to partner and collaborate with local groups. Durham understands that unemployment is a significant challenge and no one organization can serve everyone. We are grateful for people who are willing to work together to have the greatest impact. StepUp Durham will be a ray of hope for so many individuals.”

With a four full-time staff and three part-time staff, StepUp Durham estimates placing 150 people in jobs within the first year of operation.

Syretta Hill heads up StepUp Durham as the Executive Director, along with Erin Roesch as Director of Development and Employer Recruitment, Tim Wollin as Employment Manager, Baqir Mujahid as Employment Counselor and Juan Nelson as Employment Counselor. 

Members of the local steering committee include: Elizabeth Adams, Derrick Beasley, Dorian Bolden, Edward R. Boyd, Jr., Drew Hill, Brandon J. Hudson, William Jackson, Micheline Ridely Malson, Candance A. Rashada Mujahid, Ernest Smith, Camryn Smith, Abdul Waheed, and Rachel White.                               



"StepUp Durham has been a faithful journey where StepUp has learned to be invited to the community not the other way around,” says Steve Swayne, CEO of StepUp North Carolina. “Thanks to the wonderful work of the steering committee, StepUp is excited to partner with Durham in supporting adults and children in their vocational and life challenges. We look forward to partnering with many people, agencies and employers in Durham to make stability a word that all people can achieve.” 

“The Steering Committee has been dedicated to the process of accountability and relationships developing between the Durham Community & StepUp Durham. We have been very focused on both the intentionality behind having the most affected populations being involved in the development and strategy behind StepUp's entry into our community. We also, and more importantly, have focused on the most affected community being at the helm and steering the ship. We not only wanted the participants within the StepUp program to be reflective of this but also the volunteer base, the places and spaces that welcome the StepUp program and the culture and identity of the StepUp community to be reflective of the make-up and rich historical legacy within Durham's African American and increasing Latino communities,” says Camryn Smith, Steering Committee Member.


StepUp Ministry Creates StepUp North Carolina to Replicate Its Employment Services Across the State

RALEIGH, N.C., September 9, 2015 – StepUp Ministry, a Raleigh-based non-profit creating lasting economic and social change by inspiring adults and children in economic risk to transform their lives through jobs and life skills training, has launched the creation of StepUp North Carolina. After three years of research and planning, the StepUp Ministry Board of Directors in Raleigh has successfully launched StepUp North Carolina. This new agency will replicate the StepUp model across the State and provide financial, human resource, marketing, and best practice sharing services to the current locations in Raleigh, Greensboro, and soon Durham, as well as future locations.

Founded in 1989, StepUp Ministry Raleigh has transformed the local community by providing employment and life skills training to individuals facing major barriers to finding employment. Annually, the Raleigh site aids 350+ job placements.

With the successful replication of StepUp Greensboro, aiding 490+ job placements since its inception, the StepUp Ministry Board of Directors in Raleigh recognized the growing challenges faced by hundreds of unemployed families in many North Carolina communities. After 3 years of research and planning, the StepUp Board approved the creation of StepUp North Carolina, which now serves as the “umbrella” organization over all current and future StepUp sites. It will establish relationships with local leaders, with local organizations, and with local funders at potential sites in order to measure the level of local interest and opportunity for success. Currently in full operation, StepUp North Carolina provides support in accounting, marketing and human resources for all local sites of StepUp Ministry. For its initial 2 years, StepUp North Carolina plans to focus support on the two current locations in Raleigh and Greensboro, as well as overseeing the creation of StepUp Durham in October 2015. After this 2-year period, it will focus on replication of services throughout the State.

Local funding for StepUp North Carolina comes primarily from the recent Band Together partnership. These funds will also seed StepUp Durham with sustainable funding during its first three years of operation. The remainder will go to Band Together and StepUp Ministry Raleigh.  

 Steve Swayne, CEO of StepUp North Carolina, heads the new entity, along with Keith Daniel as Executive Director of Operations and Strategic Partnerships, Beth Lowery as CFO, Amy Kennemur as Human Resource Director, and Sarah Werner as Marketing Director.  



“Over the past 26 years, StepUp Ministry Raleigh developed a successful process for people seeking to improve their lives and develop stable careers. Three years ago, our board of directors decided that it was time to share this process with communities that sought a means for adults and children to transform their lives through employment and life skills training. It is exciting to see this dream become a reality,” said Linda Nunnallee, Executive Director of StepUp Ministry Raleigh.

“StepUp North Carolina will take the investment of the StepUp staff, volunteers, participants and board members in Raleigh and Greensboro and leverage the program and operational best practices across the state,” said Tom Everly, a past Board Member of StepUp Ministry Raleigh who currently serves as StepUp North Carolina Board Chair.  “We are very excited to continue to increase our capacity to prepare even more adults and children for stable and productive lives.”

 “I am very excited to see us spread the exciting work of StepUp throughout North Carolina. We have thoughtfully created a model to share the life changing services of StepUp with other communities. Thanks to the many people who worked so hard to bring the dream of serving people throughout NC to a reality,” said Andy Betts, current StepUp Ministry of Raleigh Board Member and liaison for StepUp NC. 



Band Together and StepUp NC

Raleigh, N.C., June 29, 2015 — At its largest event to date, on Saturday night Band Together NC Executive Director Matt Strickland announced proceeds from the Michael Franti & Spearhead concert and the yearlong StepUp Ministry partnership would top $2 million. Turbulent weather and rain could not dampen spirits for the concert as music fans and supporters of the two nonprofits danced the night away and celebrated the success.

Band Together NC, a Triangle-based organization that uses live music as a platform for social change, has become the largest charitable music event in the Southeast since its inception in 2001. With this weekend’s event, the organization has raised nearly $5.5 million for the Triangle community to date.

Michael Franti & Spearhead headlined the 2015 concert, accompanied by Big Sam’s Funky NationElliot Root and Winston-Salem based Fat Cheek Kat – who earned a slot after winning Band Together’s 2015 Last Band Standing contest. This year also marked the return of the Main Event to downtown Raleigh and its first concert at Red Hat Amphitheater.

StepUp Ministry is the first repeat nonprofit partner, having partnered the first time in 2010. The 2010 Main Event concert was also headlined by Franti, and it was also the only other Band Together show in which it rained. Severe weather briefly interrupted the show, but guests, volunteers and the musicians quickly picked up where they had left off.

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and music fans, and our generous sponsors, we were able to successfully reach our 2015 fundraising goal of $2 million,” said Strickland. “The magical duo of nonprofit partner, StepUp Ministry, and headliner Michael Franti & Spearhead, along with the move to Red Hat Amphitheater made this our most exciting event yet.”

“A little rain can’t stop a party,” said Strickland. “I have to acknowledge the professionalism of the Red Hat Amphitheater staff, the hard work of our volunteers and the patience of fans. And, thank you to the artists, especially Michael Franti, who once again jumped into the crowd in the rain and performed.”

Proceeds raised this year will establish StepUp in Durham, create StepUp North Carolina as an umbrella organization to oversee replication across the state, and offer support to the original StepUp Ministry in Raleigh. Adults and children transforming their lives through employment and life skills training will continue to be StepUp’s mission as it expands these services throughout the Triangle.

“We are honored to have been chosen as the nonprofit partner again,” said Linda Nunnallee, executive director at StepUp Ministry, “and to have spent the past year collaborating.” Steve Swayne, StepUp North Carolina CEO added, “Our goal is to continue expanding StepUp throughout the Triangle and North Carolina and create more opportunities for adults and families in need of job or life skills training.”

Band Together would not be able to raise substantial funds or host events of this scale without the generous support of corporate partners in the community. Included among the hundreds of sponsors are: AJ Fletcher FoundationBB&TCaptrustDimension DataCiscoNetAppMedical Mutual and S&A Communications. Band Together would also like to thank Eschelon Experiences for their VIP catering and media partners WNCN and & About.

In 2016, Band Together will partner with Kidznotes and host at least three signature live music events in the Triangle. To learn more about Band Together’s previous nonprofit partners or their events, visit, become a fan on Facebook, join their LinkedIn group or follow @bandtogethernc on Twitter.

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By Ashley Hendricks 


StepUp Ministry, a Raleigh nonprofit that helps adults in need find jobs, wants to expand its reach. 

The group hopes to raise $2 million through Band Together NC, which has partnered with local nonprofits since 2001 to use music as a platform for social change. 

Band Together NC will host a concert Saturday at Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh. Money raised from the event will go to StepUp Ministry, which hopes to soon serve families in Durham and beyond. 

This is the second time Band Together NC has chosen StepUp Ministry as its partner group. In 2010, a concert for the ministry raised $358,000. 

“(StepUp Ministry) is the only nonprofit that was selected twice,” said Matt Strickland, executive director of Band Together NC. “That says a lot.” 

A faith-based group, StepUp Ministry has been around for 25 years and is dedicated to helping people gain employment through life skills and job training. 

Last year, the ministry placed 326 program graduates into jobs, according to the group. Of those, 67 percent were ex-offenders, 31 percent struggled with substance abuse and 38 percent were homeless. 

The ministry is all about giving people second chances. 

“Their entire life should not be hinged on one moment’s bad decision,” said Linda Nunnallee, executive director of StepUp Ministry. “It’s just the right thing to do, to be able to provide for their needs.” 

StepUp Ministry also offers programs for children, including life-skills training. 

The group currently operates in Raleigh and Greensboro. It hopes to expand to Durham and also create a central office overseeing all three locations. 

“Our obligation is to share who we are and what we are in other communities,” Nunnallee said.

The group relies on donations from the community and is hopeful the Band Together NC concert will help in its fundraising goal. 

Several bands will perform Saturday, including Michael Franti & Spearhead and Fat Cheek Cat. 

Tickets for the show are on sale now and start at $20 for general admission. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Saturday. There will also be an after party at Deep South. 

Strickland said it will probably be hot outside, but he’s anticipating “great music, a lot of fun and a lot of laughter all for the community.”