SDOP_2006_withText-300x103Self-Development of People is a ministry that affirms God’s concern for humankind. We are Presbyterians and ecumenical partners dissatisfied with poverty and oppression, united in faith and action through sharing, confronting, and enabling. We participate in the empowerment of economically poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged people, seeking to change the structures that perpetuate poverty, oppression and injustice.

(Read more about SDOP and how it’s assisting businesses by clicking here.)

There are three levels of committees – National, Synod and Presbytery. Projects are eligible to apply to all three for grants.


WEEE Incubator Project – prepping corn for canning

Who can apply? The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People is prepared to establish partnerships with groups in the United States who:

  • are oppressed by poverty or social systems,
  • want to take charge of their own lives,
  • have organized or are organizing to do something about their own conditions,
  • have decided that what they are going to do will produce long-term changes for their lives or communities,
  • will control the programs they own and will benefit from them directly.

Partnerships are initiated by applications to the Self-Development of People Committee and are evaluated against Self-Development’s funding criteria.


Click for SDOP chart

Click for Synod’s Pre-Application

First-Time Synod SDOP Application

Previously-funded Synod SDOP Application


thumb-down► a crisis fund for emergency situations

► a provider of funds to social service agencies

► a financial institution for personal loans or grants

► a provider of scholarships

► a source of assistance for church-controlled mission programs

► a charity

Recently Funded Projects

The Alumni Group, Wallingford, PA: former substance abusers working in low-paying jobs came together & created transitional housing for at risk low-to-no income men who also have graduated from a long-term drug rehabilitation facility & have a desire to succeed & not relapse .

Holy Smokes! Café, Harwick, PA: unemployed short-order cooks with a passion to feed the hungry, regardless of the ability to pay. By accepting donations at meals, they were able to create a business & continue to feed those who cannot pay

Second Cup, Pittsburgh, PA: low income parents created a Coffee House/Co-op to teach each other life skills to improve themselves, their children, and their economic situation

AngelTreats-Girls_kitchen-300x196Angel Treats, Duquesne, PA: chocolate candy business (pictured on right) formed by disadvantaged teens as part-time jobs which prepared them for the future by acquiring business and social skills in a very economically depressed area

Stargazers, Pittsburgh, PA: unemployed group that came together with shared musical talents to break into the music business