Endowing People


Endowing People was founded by Rev. David Baker. Pastor Dave is a Danville native, entrepreneur and investor. He has a B.A. from William and Mary and an M.div from Princeton Theological Seminary. Dave is currently the lead trainer for Endowing People.  

Our board consists of other people local to Virginia, including:

  • Dr. Adrienne Brune, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Program Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Averett University.
  • Rev. Dr. Carl Utley, M.div, D.Min Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Endowing People is starting off in the town of Danville, Virginia in part because the demographics and economic situation of the city make it an ideal candidate for a Basic Income and Financial Literacy Training experiment, but also because the founder of Endowing People, David Baker, grew up there.  

Danville is a picture of American decline.  In the 20th century, it boasted the largest textile mill in the world, and was a regional hub for the tobacco trade.  Manufacturing jobs were plentiful and there were many more people living and working in the city.  Unfortunately, Dan River Mills, which used to employ 14,000 people, closed in 2006 and is now in the process of being converted into a casino. 

Unlike many cities in its situation, Danville has fought back against decline somewhat effectively.  There is a thriving downtown area popular with Millennials and many new businesses coming to the area, to the extent that the Atlantic wrote an article on it before the pandemic.  Nevertheless, the city has had high unemployment and crime for a city its size compared to national averages for decades.  

Other interesting items of note about Danville include the local college, Averett University and the minor league baseball team, the Otterbots.  The city also has a rich history from the Civil Rights movement, including a visit from Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Demographically, Danville is similar to other regional towns.  Located in the southern Piedmont region of Virginia, Danville is a small city of about 38,000 people.  It’s 49.42% African American, 44.39% White, 4.45% multiracial, and 1.26% Asian.  Economically, the city is far below the national averages.  Average household income in Danville is $51,599 with a poverty rate of 22.97%, compared to $76,563 and 11.4% nationally.  Danville is also slightly older than the US at large, at 40.9 years compared to 38.1 years nationally.