Empowered Parents in Community

Empowered Parents in Community (EPiC) is a non-profit, 501c3, that aims to cultivate parent leadership and improve family engagement to better support students’ educational needs. Our mission is to dismantle systemic racial inequities in education. We coalesce to advocate for high quality educational opportunities and equitable distribution of resources. We do this by intentionally engaging Black parents and empowering them through collective organization to advocate for accountability at all levels to close the educational opportunity gap. We came to life in one school and in one short year have grown to have parent leaders in one third of Durham Public Schools.

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Fast Facts

Relevant Actions
State or Local? Local
CountiesAlamance, Durham, Orange, Wake
Lead Agency Empowered Parents in Community
Type of Agency


Racial Equity Lens
  • In our work, the voices of marginalized families are central to educational theory, policy, and practice. Beginning with focus groups and community learning, we facilitate family and community discussions to map the concerns, priorities and insights that then inform our local, system-change goals to improve educational practices and policies. 
  • We promote the economic well-being of adults who care for, teach and develop young children through advocacy efforts to impact systemic change. As we increase capacity and work to empower parent leaders, we emphasize the importance of caregivers to stand in the gap to support the academic growth of young children without judgment of others who cannot or choose not to be available.
Community Voice
  • We use disaggregated data to help inform parents and administrators about inequities at their school that they can address. 
  • We do an assessment with disaggregated data and offer trainings to parent leaders on how to impact those identified areas.
  • As a result of Supporting Families in Advocating for their Children, at least 70% of our involved parents and providers consistently participate in the parent support group and create programming at their school to raise awareness of inequities and advocate for their children. 
  • We have had a 300% increase in Black parent leaders in Durham in under three years.
  • As a result of our strategies across programs to engage and learn from families, EPiC has been sought by other organizations to recruit parents to engage in decision-making processes and statewide coalitions.
Next Steps
  • In order to support the recommendation to eliminate or minimize the use of suspension and expulsion in birth-through-third grade classrooms, we are seeking funds to create and test a promising, innovative, and strengths-based model in conjunction with another project focusing on a culturally responsive curriculum to the ECE system.  
  • As a result of families collaborating with one another and moving from seeing themselves as consumers of service to co-creators in an exchange of wisdom and best practices of childcare, more children can thrive and have a better quality of life.
  • We are also working with Working to Extend Anti-Racist Education (we are) to create an anti-racist preschool curriculum. Our role is to engage parents and caregivers in shared power in the creation and input of the culturally responsive curriculum. 
Primary Partners
  • NC Child
  • North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation
  • we are
  • Durham Partnership for Healthy Children
  • Durham Early Care Action Plan
  • Every Child NC
Primary Funders
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield NC Foundation
  • Z. Smith Reynolds 
  • Manpower Development Corp
Contact Jovonia Lewis

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