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

John Parker engages leaders, nonprofits, congregations, funders, universities, tribes, and businesses around their ideas and initiatives.  He nurtures culturally appropriate leadership and collaborations to strengthen communities and local economies.  John also supports others in their vocational development – helping them discern how to share their talents, gifts, relationships, and resources to be advocates for a better world.

John’s current partners, collaborators, and colleagues include Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity, the Institute for Emerging Issues, the Duke Endowment, the Beloved Community Center, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries,  Repairers of the Breach, the NC Council of Churches, the NC Rural CenterApiopolis, and the UNC American Indian 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.

Contact John at

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?