Self-Development of People

SDOP logoPeople investing in People   


SDOP, a Tri-Presbytery Committee Presbyteries of the Redwoods, San Francisco, and San Jose
Committee Chair: Ginger Smyly <gsmyly at>

The Self-Development of People program of the Presbyterian Church (USA) offers local and national grants to organizations helping poor people overcome poverty and oppression. The organizations must be grassroots, operated mostly by the people being helped. Grants are awarded after reviewing a group’s application and visiting to evaluate the organization.
The SDOP mission statement, and links to SDOP criteria and an application, are below. Y ahora … en Espanol.pdf!

Join Our SDOP Committee!

If you are interested in joining us, please contact committee chair Greg Plant.

Every year the Presbytery of San Jose, with its partner Presbyteries, San Francisco and the Redwoods, approve grants to organizations trying to correct long-term conditions keeping people bound by poverty and oppression by establishing control over their lives through training, advocacy, and education.

The funds come from the One Great Hour of Sharing donations of our churches.
In the past we have supported the Day Worker Center of Mountain View in its “Victoria Verde” community garden, developed so day workers can find employment opportunities, acquire new job skills, and do outreach to the larger community; the 9to5 Bay Area, working to strengthen low-wage women’s ability to win economic justice; and Peer PALS, helping mental health consumers become less isolated and more engaged in their recovery and wellness and as self-sufficient as possible.

Our tri-Presbytery committee represents the ethnic diversity of our overall population, and we are currently seeking ethnically-diverse people to join us. We meet yearly, at least, and will use email to make decisions as needed (our three Presbyteries cover most of Northern California).

Mission Statement

Self-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 poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged people, seeking to change the structures that perpetuate poverty, oppression, and injustice.


A major responsibility of the Self-Development Committee is to establish partnerships with groups of poor and oppressed people through outreach, solidarity, and financial support. The Criteria and Guidelines are the measures the Committee uses to evaluate and fund proposals presented to them. Neither the Criteria nor the Guidelines are meant to deter groups from seeking help in their fight for self-determination but are intended to guide the funding of real self-development grass-roots efforts. The Committee keeps three fundamental concepts in mind when considering a proposal for validation. They are 1) need; 2) the potential for self-realization; and 3) the notion of people acting for themselves and being in control of their own actions. If a proposal has these ingredients of self-development, yet it does not entirely fit into all the following Criteria, it will not necessarily be disqualified. The Self-Development Committee reviews all proposals carefully and investigates creatively the aspects of self-development behind proposals.

How to Apply

  1. Read the Criteria Document to determine that your group qualifies.
  2. If you qualify, download and fill out the application: (DOC) (PDF)
  3. Return the application.

There’s more on SDOP from PC(USA).

We are always looking for volunteer Committee members!

God loves you. So do we.

Presbytery Committees

A.C. Watsonville
Church Health and Growth W.G.
Downtown San Jose Property Commission
Executive Search Committee
Financial Affairs
Guiding Preparing Safeguarding Subcte.
Mission and Outreach W.G.
Peace and Justice W.G.
Polity & Government
Preparation For Ministry
Presbyterian Women
Representation and Empowerment
Self Development of People
Synod Commissioners
Synod Permanent Judicial Commission