Change Comes Knocking: The Story of the North Carolina Fund is a documentary about one of the first, and most innovative, initiatives in the “War on Poverty” during the 1960s. With the creation of the North Carolina Fund, Governor Terry Sanford along with George Esser and the rest of the Fund’s staff and board provided an example of what could be done within communities if they were given the resources to experiment and to look for local economic development opportunities. Unfortunately, we could not even begin to tell the full story of the North Carolina Fund in a 60 minute documentary, so we have created this website to offer additional resources and information. Please explore the pages above and the resource links to find out more, and let the story of the Fund empower you to take a stand against poverty!

Sanford Announces
“It is not enough to have here the most powerful nation in the world and then admit we are powerless to find ways to give our young people training and job opportunities. In North Carolina we want to go into a few communities and say to the leaders of school and government and welfare and health and charity, let’s see if together in a few neighborhoods near here we can’t break the cycle of poverty and give these children a better chance.” – Terry Sanford, 9/30/63, announcing the creation of the North Carolina Fund

Change Comes Knocking presents an snapshot of the creation of the Fund, one of the first bi-racial organizations in the South, in the midst of the turbulent sixties. The history of the North Carolina Fund encompasses 5 years of innovative and experimental actions, which also proved to be quite controversial. DurhamThe NC Fund encouraged communities around the state to create local agencies called Community action Programs (CAPS), whose agendas would have to include input from low income people. The Fund gave a voice to people who had been disenfranchised, and in turn empowered them to make substantial changes in their lives and communities. The empowerment of local poor people was one of the greatest goals of the NC Fund but what they hadn’t foreseen that it would threaten the establishment, and people who were comfortable with the status quo.

This documentary features a multitude of beautiful archival photographs and moving pictures taken in North Carolina throughout the 1960s. Billy Barnes, who was the Fund’s Director of Public Information took thousands of photographs which tell the story of the North Carolina Fund, and the communities it reached out to and helped. Photos from his amazing collection are featured in the film, and can be found at the UNC Photographic Collection. story of the North Carolina Fund is as rich and diverse as the people that shared in its creation.

For more information you can contact the Producer, Rebecca Cerese at or by phone at (919) 824-0811.  Screening Information Coming Soon!

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