Shop Talk Blog

Durham Living Wage Project falls short of goal

The Durham Living Wage Projects’ campaign fell way short of its goal to raise $20,000 by Friday, but an organizer said they will use the nearly $11,200 in donations to pay an employee to continue to certify and promote certified employees.

“We would have liked to reach that goal,” said Carl Rist, one of the project’s organizers, but the main idea was to raise awareness and some initial funds to hire someone and expand the number of certified businesses.

While the deadline for the initial campaign has passed, Rist said, people can still donate on the project’s website.

The project’s free certification process requires employers to pay individuals without company-provided health insurance at least $12.33 an hour, those with insurance at least $10.83 an hour, and independent contractors $14.33 an hour. About 48 employers have been certified.

Next steps for the project, Rist said, include a focus on diversifying the industries participating in the program and pulling in more companies outside of the city’s downtown district.

The living wage project grew out of the Durham People’s Alliance, a community and political organization that advocates for progressive solutions for issues such as environmental protection, LGBT rights and affordable housing.

More information about the project can be found at