Self-Development of People (SDOP) is a mission program that aims to ameliorate poverty and powerlessness by providing grants to organizations committed to diminishing the effects of poverty, oppression, and injustice. The Presbyterian Church (USA) founded the program in 1970.

Self-Development of People of Central Virginia is an authorized affiliate of the PC(USA) program and is supported by the Presbytery of the James.

The program is rooted in the belief that the poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged possess firsthand knowledge of the type of conditions that facilitate poverty and powerlessness, and they have a legitimate sense of what is needed to promote and encourage change.

Self-Development was created to assist organizations involved in such efforts. The program’s core beliefs recognize the potential of the poor and disenfranchised to speak truth to power through community organizing, and for this reason, SDOP focuses its funding support on organizations committed to initiating change and subsequently encouraging self-development. SDOP does not fund individuals but targets organizations seeking effective change.

SDOP 2019_IMG_0141_web
 People Investing in People
People Investing in People


Lamar Lockhart, moderator
Susan Albaugh
Ruth Brown
Beverly Bullock
Peggy Fox
Curtis Kearns
Humphrey Muraya
Renita Page
Lori Purcell
Lauren Ramseur
Deborah Regal
Jochelle Young


Lift Them Up Through SDOP Grants

The Self-Development of People Ministry seeks to lift up those in need. Churches within Presbytery of the James can lift up organizations and groups in their communities who support the poor and oppressed in our community as possible funding recipients. Learn about SDOP's funding criteria and program through this virtual workshop recorded in October 2021.


Self-Development of People of Central Virginia offers grants of up to $3,000 to community organizations working on issues of poverty, injustice, and oppression.

Funding also is available from the national Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. In 2019, each national grant recipient was awarded $15,000. There are no deadlines for national grants; the committee receives and reviews grant applications throughout the year.

Past SDOP of Central Virginia Grant Recipients and Projects

VA League for Safer Streets

Embrace Richmond - Brookland Park Young Leaders Project      >> Read more >>

Elevated Imagination Life Center

Stafford Junction - Helping Us Grow Strong (HUGS) kindergarten readiness program

Daily Planet - quality health services regardless of financial, housing or insurance status

Friends Association for Children - leadership and career advancement program

FIRST Contractors, Inc - picnic table project

How You Can Help

Self-Development of People is funded through the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering and by individual donations from friends and supporters of the program.