Camryn Smith is a proud resident of Old East Durham and a community activist and organizer. She has been serving in place-based development work for over 23 years both stateside and abroad.
Ms. Smith is one of the founding members of Communities In Partnership (CIP), a community-rooted organizing and education group based in Old East Durham and serves as the Founding Executive Director. CIP focuses on addressing policy and systemic inequity for BIPOC and materially poor people within Durham focusing on social determinants of health, economic development, gentrification, and housing. Camryn is a RWJF Culture of Health Leader (Cohort 3), and an Aspen Institute Healthy Communities Fellow (current cohort/2022). She also serves locally as co-chair of Organizing Against Racism-Durham as well as serving as a member of the Racial Equity Taskforce for the City of Durham and the Built2Last/Durham Compact Board of Advisors. She also serves on the Executive and Steering Committees for the Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD) which is a national collaborative of food systems organizations run by black and brown communities to reshape the narrative surrounding food, community and economic development centered in black and brown liberation.
Ms. Smith recently co-authored a peer reviewed article with another CIP co-founder (Aliyah Abdur-Rahman) and two academic partners (Dr. Danielle Spurlock with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill City and Regional Planning and Dr. Kay Jowers with the J.D. Duke’s Nicholas Institute of the Environment) on the ideology of how CIP was founded and operates from a developmental model versus the common charity based model.
CIP has also been recently chosen to participate in the Kresge Foundation’s Fostering Urban Equitable Leadership (FUEL), which is an initiative to support the talent and leadership development needs of Kresge Grantees with a specific focus on racial equity and developing the leadership in emerging BIPOC leaders nationally. Camryn and her husband Ernest, a civil rights attorney and Assistant District Attorney with the Durham County District Attorney’s Office, love, live and work in their community in Northeast Central Durham.
The Smiths are the proud parents of five adult children (three girls—one son and one son-in-law), four of whom currently live in the community, and their Shepherd mix, Charli, and their Corgi grand-dog, Oswald.