About Families & Communities Rising

About Families & Communities Rising

Families & Communities Rising, formerly known as Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project, was established in 1969 with funding from the Federal government as part of our nation’s earliest attempts to provide educational services to young children with disabilities. Under the direction of Anne R. Sanford, who was the founder of FCR, the strategies and materials developed by FCR during these early years became known as the Chapel Hill Model. The Model included assessment instruments, curricula, and strategies for parent involvement and family-centered programming. In 1983, the Chapel Hill Model was validated unanimously for “exemplary program status” by the U.S. Department of Education’s Joint Dissemination Review Panel (JDRP). Recently the Chapel Hill Model was renamed the LAP System.



Anne Sanford

Founder, Retired


Anne Sanford is the founder and lead the organization for 21 years from 1969 – 1990.

Mike Mathers

Executive Director, Retired

Retired Executive Director

Mike Mathers was the Executive Director and lead the organization for 28 years from 1990 – 2018.

Terry David



Terry David is our current CEO and has lead the organization since 2018.

The Scope of Our Work

Families & Communities Rising is a national provider of training and technical assistance services, and audiovisual and print materials, as well as a provider of direct services to families and children such as Head Start. FCR has assisted Federal and State governments in networking various clusters of grantees and has developed an impressive history of training and technical assistance activities and a reputation for quality product development.

Families & Communities Rising (FCR) was founded by Anne Sanford in1969 when she received a small grant from the US Department of Education to develop strategies and materials to assist with the education of young children with disabilities. With this funding, FCR became part of a national effort to address the needs of this overlooked and underserved population.

FCR developed an array of products and strategies that became known as the Chapel Hill Model and included assessment instruments, curricula, and strategies for parent involvement and family-centered programming. In 1983, the Chapel Hill Model was validated unanimously for “exemplary program status” by the U.S. Department of Education’s Joint Dissemination Review Panel (JDRP). Today these products are revised, updated and sold through our long-time publishing partner, Kaplan Early Learning Company.

FCR became involved with Head Start in 1973 when it was asked to create a network for training Head Start staff in Region IV. Its involvement increased when it began to provide Head Strat services directly to families and children in its local areas.

Today FCR serves approximately 1,000 children in Head Start programs in Orange and Durham Counties in North Carolina. Its KidSCope program serves children with disabilities in Orange and Chatham Counties and its FRIENDS and ARCH programs serve national priorities in community-based child abuse prevention and respite care for all ages .

In 1990, Mr. Mike Mathers succeeded Ms. Sanford as Executive Director. Previously, Mr. Mathers was the media coordinator for FCR producing training materials to support various FCR objectives. He remained executive director until his retirement in 2018 when he was succeeded by Mr. Terry David, former director of the Durham Head Start program, a division of FCR .


  • Originally funded as part of the HCEEP, First Chance Network, under the administrative (fiscal, legal) umbrella of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System, to develop and demonstrate strategies for the education of young children with disabilities.


  • Published the Learning Accomplishment Profile (LAP) for children functioning age 3-5. One of the first criterion referenced assessment instruments developed to help teachers of children with disabilities to design prescriptive educational intervention and measure their progress.


  • Assisted in the development of the Region IV Network of services to children with disabilities in Head Start.
  • Established a demonstration site in Smithfield, NC to develop strategies for Head Start disability service delivery.


  • Established demonstration site at UNC Dept. of Developmental Disabilities (DDDL) to continue strategy and product development.


  • Published the Early-LAP for children functioning 0-3 years.


  • Established Region IV Resource Access Project (RAP) for Head Start disability services.


  • Established demonstration for disability services for Head Start at Operation Breakthrough, Durham, NC.


  • Developed multi-media training packages for national training on PL 94-142.


  • The Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project model of services for children with disabilities and their families won unanimous approval by the US Department of Education Joint Dissemination Review Panel (JDRP).


  • Established the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Head Start program as a model demonstration site.
  • With the Kentucky Department of Education, established the Kentucky’s Individualized Kindergartens (KIK) program.


  • Worked with NC-ICC agency and parent committees to design and implement a state-wide public awareness program in support of the state adoption of PL 99-457. The program was successful.
  • With the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System, established program to demonstrate strategies to help children make a smooth transition from Head Start to public school.


  • In collaboration with ACYF, coordinated the National Transition Steering Committee.


  • Collaborated with FPG and the school system to develop a blended model classroom where half the children were eligible for Head Start and half were from middle class families.


  • In collaboration with a network of ACYF Transition programs, developed and disseminated a multi-media package of transition materials to Head Start programs across the nation.


  • Established the ARCH National Resource Center for crisis and respite care programs.


  • Received funding as one of 32 projects across the nation to demonstrate effective transition practices for Head Start children and families.
  • Established the NC Head Start Teaching Center to demonstrate the efficacy of intensive, hands on training with guided practice and feedback for Head Start staff.


  • In collaboration with the NC Interagency Coordinating Council, established the NC Transition Project to help Local Interagency Coordinating Councils develop procedures to help young (0-5) children with disabilities and their families navigate between and among local programs.
  • Established the 501(c)(3) that would eventually become the umbrella agency for the Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project, Inc.


  • Established the Orange County Network of Family Resource Centers


  • Established the FRIENDS program that would eventually become the FRIENDS National Resource Center in 1999.


  • Established the NAEYC accreditation initiative for Head Start programs in NC.


  • In October of 1997, CHTOP, Inc. became fully independent of the Chapel Hill Carrboro School System


  • Established the Orange County Early Head Start program for children 0-3.


  • Established Fuquay-Varina Early Learning Center for 140 children


  • Expanded Early Head Start program to include Orange County Pre/k Head Start


  • Established CB-CAP National Resource Center, FRIENDS


  • Acquired Orange County Early Intervention Program, KidSCope


  • Acquired Chatham County Child Development Center which was merged with the KidSCope program


  • Successfully led national effort to pass federal legislation for Lifespan Respite which was signed by the president in December 2006.


  • Began collaborative publishing venture with VIPcare of Shanghai, China.
  • Re-established the ARCH National Resource Center in collaboration with the National Family Caregiver Alliance.


  • Expanded the Orange County Early Head Start program by 50 additional slots.
  • Established the Durham Early Head Start program in collaboration with the Durham Partnership for Children.


  • Acquired the Durham Head Start program.


  • Expanded DHS with Early Head Start program


  • Mike Mathers, Executive Director, retired.
  • Terry David appointed new Executive Director.


  • Celebrated 50th Anniversary of organization.


  • Headquarters moved from Chapel Hill, NC to Durham, NC


  • Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project (CHTOP) changed the name of the organization to Families & Communities Rising (FCR).