Community Leadership

Since moving to Carrboro in 2004, Susan has devoted herself to community activism centered around local politics, hunger relief, and living wages:

 
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Local Politics

In 2006, Susan was selected by the Orange County Democratic Party as the first chair of the newly created Hogan Farms Precinct. She quickly learned the ropes of voter registration, get-out-the-vote campaigns, candidate forums, database management, and poll coverage, and went on to assume leadership positions within the party. In 2014, she launched OCDP’s first postcard writing campaign, enlisting the support of hundreds of women throughout the county to write handwritten notes urging other female voters in the county to support Kay Hagan for US Senate. Handwritten postcards remain a key component of OCDP’s get-out-the-vote efforts. In 2015, Susan was elected first vice chair of OCDP, later serving as interim chair while Matt Hughes ran for County Commissioner.

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Hunger Relief

In 2010, with neighborhood friends Debbie Horwitz and Christine Cotton, Susan founded and launched a grassroots hunger relief organization called PORCH. Built around the simple idea of leaving food on a porch, once a month, for pick-up by a neighborhood coordinator, PORCH has evolved to include 160 Chapel Hill-Carrboro neighborhoods. Its monthly food drives support 15 local food pantries and a fresh food program that nourishes 425 low-income families. Since 2010, PORCH has provided assistance of $2.3 million for local hunger relief efforts, and mobilized hundreds of volunteers in Chapel Hill-Carrboro and with other chapters across North Carolina. Susan currently serves as a PORCH director.

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Living Wage

With hunger relief addressing an immediate need, Susan set her sights on a longer-term approach to local poverty. In 2015, Susan and colleagues founded Orange County Living Wage, a non-profit organization that confronts the harmful effects of North Carolina’s unrealistically low wage floor. OCLW certifies and promotes employers paying all part- and full-time employees a living wage, calculated at $14.25 for the current year. Nearly 200 employers have voluntarily joined OCLW’s roster, including the Town of Carrboro, our county’s three other municipalities and two public school systems, and a diverse mix of non-profit and for-profit businesses. To qualify, some employers have lifted annual wages a combined $710,000, stimulating our regional economy by an estimated $2.3 million over the past four years. Susan currently serves as OCLW’s Executive Director.

I work at the Latino Community Credit Union, a proud Orange County Living Wage Certified employer. As a Carrboro resident, I appreciate Susan’s leadership in this important living wage effort here in Orange County.

— Gabe Treves-Kagan