John Dempsey Parker is an independent community development consultant and organizer.  For over twenty years, he has worked to strengthen local economies and cultivate resilient and self-reliant community leaders, entrepreneurs, and activists.

John nurtures culturally appropriate leadership and cross-cultural collaborations.  He supports others in their vocational development – helping them discern how to share their talents, gifts, relationships, and resources, and be advocates for a better world.  John engages nonprofits, faith communities, funders, universities, entrepreneurs, tribes, and groups around their ideas, projects, plans, and initiatives.

John’s current strategic partners and collaborators include Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity, NCSU’s Institute for Emerging Issues, the Duke Endowment, the Beloved Community Center of Greensboro, the NC Council of Churches, and the NC Rural Center.

John is a native from Moore County, North Carolina.  He received a BA at Wake Forest University in anthropology, international relations, and politics, a MA in applied anthropology from the University of Memphis, a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University, and a M.Div. from Duke Divinity School.

John’s career has included directing Good Work (a community development collaborative), the Triad Regional Office of Self-Help (a community development financial institution), teaching cultural and applied anthropology, ethnographic research, research assistant with the Wake Forest University Overseas Research Center, and a variety of consulting work with small businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations.  

Some of the boards John Parker serves on include Repairers of the Breach, Apiopolis, and the UNC American Indian Center

Contact John at

Mailing address:  PO Box 6013, Raleigh, North Carolina 27628

John’s guiding questions:

  • How do we nurture and grow cultures that cultivate and strengthen community?
  • What encourages generosity, hospitality, solidarity, and empowerment?
  • What nurtures healing, wellness, resilience, and self-reliance?
  • How can we identify, leverage, and share our individual and collective gifts and assets in ways that are life-giving, nurture creativity, sustain diverse collaborations, and cultivate commitment to place?
  • What and where are the times, spaces, and places to do this work?