120 E Innes St, Salisbury, North Carolina 28144, United States

888-285-5565 info@pldginc.org

Paul L. Dunbar Group Inc

Making a Difference Through Community Development

Making a Difference Through Community Development

Making a Difference Through Community DevelopmentMaking a Difference Through Community Development

Board of Directors


Board Chairman

Kenneth Foxx Muhammad El


Kenneth Muhammad El grew up in the rural community of East Spencer, North Carolina, a small predominantly Black township. Born to the late Howard E. Foxx, Sr. and Essie Mae Kiser Foxx, Kenneth was one of eleven children. Kenneth was inspired early in his life watching both parents find ways to provide for such a large family during some really tough economic conditions. Kenneth’s mother, Essie Mae, who was considered the Queen Mother of the community, instilled the principle of “family and leadership” in him at an early age. As a result of his upbringing, and benefitting from the service of others to his family and himself, Kenneth grew to want to continue that unique perspective of family and service.

Kenneth graduated from North Carolina Central University in 1981 and moved about the Piedmont region of North Carolina to find suitable employment. In 1992, Kenneth became a member of the Nation of Islam, something he referred to as “my rebirth." After the historic Million Man March, Kenneth decided to move back to East Spencer after receiving distressing news from his Mother about the Town’s poor socio-economic conditions. 

 In 1997, Kenneth was elected Deputy Mayor of the Town of East Spencer, serving in that capacity for two years. In 1999, Kenneth was elected Mayor, and  used the two prior years to lay the base for community and economic development in a community afflicted with high poverty and inadequate business infrastructure. 

Kenneth worked to develop strategic alliances in the Rowan County area before deciding to lunge into the political arena. As Deputy Mayor, Kenneth established the first economic development organization in the Town - The Empowerment Network (TEN), which developed a 5,700 square foot business resource center to assist residents and businesses with growing small businesses and developing community strategies. 

Over the last 25 years, Kenneth has acquired numerous skills, forged strategic relationships, and refined what others refer to as “his vision” for the East Spencer community. Kenneth, who prefers to be called Muhammad El, simply believes that the vision is comprised of efforts and services of many who helped to shape him, and who assisted his family over the years. His greatest desire is not only to give back what was received, but to ensure that those underlying principles and concepts are aspects of sustainable community development. 

Muhammad El believes that via Briarwood Entertainment’s efforts, and the financial strategies of ANI Financial Group, PLDG brings opportunities to develop effective planning tools and strategies that facilitate a cooperative spirit among individuals, businesses, households and communities for increased economic prosperity. 

Muhammad El has led a storied career, working in the political venues. His recent activities have led him to become engaged in global politics and emerging issues such as the unification of North and South Korea where he was a member of an international council. Muhammad El spent three years in Abu Dhabi working with government and private sector businesses, including members of the oil and gas industry. Muhammad established the “Institute of Social Impact LLC, an ongoing effort designed to bring educational facilities and services into communities that had no public or private schools, libraries, or recreational facilities. In August of 2018, Muhammad El opened the Essie Mae Kiser Foxx Charter School named for his mother, a local icon and community activist. Muhammad plans to build a charter high school that features a polytechnic and career development curriculum featuring digital media, television, film, and content production services. 


William Coleman

William Coleman is the Owner of InTwinding Technology Sales & Marketing Inc, geared to brand upcoming companies in the Southeastern Region. William Coleman is also contracted with Technocom, one of the leading Office Technology companies in the Southeastern district which has been in business for over thirty years. He is charged to rebrand Technocom and its subsidiaries, Document Imaging Solution and Marathon Business Center as holistic companies, showing that Technocom offers more than copiers and printers but an array of services which includes IT Services, Mailing Systems, Scanners, Document Management, Wide-format, Data Security and Workflow Management. Before joining Technocom, William Coleman worked at Freightliner, presently known as Daimler for fifteen (15) years. While working for Daimler, William Coleman held numerous positions to include but not limited to Assembler, Quality Control Documentations Auditor, Quality Control Inspector, Materials Team Leader, and Logistics Supervisor. During his tenure with Daimler, William was instrumental in assistance with the implementation of the Daimler Chrysler Production Systems, Lean Management, Takt Time, Standardized Work, One Piece Flow or Continuous Flow, Pull Systems & Kanban, Five Whys, Quick Changeover/SMED, Five S, Total Productive Maintenance, Place for Every Part(PFEP), Best Safety and Problem Solving/ PDCA/ PDSA in which he received the Daimler Chrysler Production Award.
While working for Daimler, William received Certifications in Six Sigma Green Belt and Lean Six Sigma from Villanova University which equipped him with the skills needed to eliminate Non-Value-Added Processes and reduce companies bottom line costs.
William is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Public & Health Administration. He received his Masters from Strayer University in Health Services Administration, a dual undergraduate Bachelor of Science from his beloved Livingstone College in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems. William is currently the President of the Salisbury Rowan Davie Alumni Association. He serves on the board of the Paul L. Dunbar Group, is the Vice President of Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church Laymen League, Vice President of Charlotte Chapter Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship Inc and President of the Livingstone College Virtual Bear Chapter II. William has been married for over thirty years to his beautiful wife Sharon Hosch Coleman, and they have one daughter, Alena Hosch who in the Fall of 2019 will marry Rasheed Owens . They have one grandchild, Cayman Eli Owens.
William is a God-fearing man who lives by the quote from Erma Louis, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say. I used everything You gave me.” 



Nancy Lund Ph.D

Dr. Lund is a graduate of the University of Maryland program in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She has worked a a Speech and Language Pathologist and as a Professor in the field at the State University College of New York in Buffalo. She also served as Dean of the Faculty of Applied Arts and Sciences and as an Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs at this institution. She co-authored a widely used text book on assessing children’s language.

Since locating to Salisbury in 2003, she has been an activist citizen and an active volunteer, serving as a tutor and on the Board of the Rowan County Literacy Council, and assisting seniors with Medicare through the Senior Health Information Program. 

In 2017, Dr. Lund was recognized as a Champion of Liberty by the ACLU of North Carolina for extraordinary service in defense of Civil liberties in North Carolina.

She currently serves as treasurer of the Paul L. Dunbar Group.



Whitney Peckman

Ms. Peckman is an artist/entrepreneur who partners and collaborates with non-profits, professional artists, and members of local government to bring business and personal opportunities to underserved populations. After spending several decades as a professional independent artist, Peckman opened a retail outlet for origin-sourced arts and crafts from Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and Africa. Traveling widely to remote areas expanded her knowledge base, enabling her to provide her American audience with a view into the lives of many rural communities around the world. 

Peckman, having devoted much of her time to creating this unique retail market, turned to her personal career once again. Her artwork has been commissioned by clients both nationally and internationally. Her artistic focus has always been to bring forth a world-view of harmony in Nature and humanity. Artwork is the balance beam for her work with communities in conflict.

In 2006, Peckman had an opportunity to develop an old factory building in Salisbury, NC into a mixed-use space. She was been able, for many years,  to maintain it as a flexible community-oriented space where artists in the beginning of their careers had opportunities to exhibit, work collaboratively with others, teach and perform their work. It also served to bring segments of the community together for programs, lectures, forums and coalition building. Recently Peckman sold the building, and has committed her time to the development of the Dunbar Neighborhood property in East Spencer.

In 2015, Peckman and her team developed, and in 2018, opened a charter school in East Spencer, NC. This school is the first in the town since the integration of schools in the late 1960s closed the original Black school and moved the students to school in another town. 

Peckman operates the second level of the building as a Bed & Breakfast, and is finishing a heretofore unfinished portion for use by PLDG. In 2017 she returned to school to work on a degree in African American Studies.

Her interest in art, civil rights, and education form the triangle of focus for her ongoing community development work.



Phillip T. Carter, Sr.

Phillip T. Carter, Sr; native of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, N.C.As of January 2018, I am currently on the boards and committees listed below or my board ship has expired. I have and will forever act as a Community Activist within the African American community to ensure that my people are empowered economically, politically, educationally, and socially.  The boards and committees that I currently serve on are; Church Lay Leader, Saint Andrews United Methodist Church (2011- current) Certified Speaker, Finance committee, Pastor Parrish Committee, Men’s Sunday Morning Bible Teacher  Political Engagements 2nd Vic- Chair Forsyth County Democratic Party (2015-current).  State Executive Member of the North Carolina State Democratic Party (2011-current) 12th District Representative for Forsyth County Democratic Party (2011-2016) Chair/ Precinct 404 Malloy Jordan Library (2014-current ) Chair Precinct 207 New Hope UMC (2007-2009) Former President of the African American Caucus of Forsthy County DP (2009-2010) Former Vice President of the African American Caucus of Forsthy County DP (2007-2009)  Civil Engagement Board member; Paul L. Dunbar Group CDC, Inc; Spencer N.C. (2017- current) Cooperation Winston; Co-founder 2017-current) Experiment in Self-Reliance, (2014-current) Forsyth County Nursing Home Advisory Committee,(2011-current ) Co-Chair& Executive Board Member, Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County (2011-2017) Board of Directors member, W-S Operation Impact Steering Committee, Winston-Salem, City Government (2011) Executive Board Member, and Fund Raising Committee Member, of Harry's Veterans Outreach, Winston-Salem, N.C. (2011 expired)



Tony  L. Hillian 

Tony Hillian has followed in the footsteps of a family of community leaders, but as an adult, the East Spencer native has forged his own path as a leader. In 2017, Hillian, 44, made his first leap into an elected office and was voted onto the East Spencer town board.

At 14 he entered the public spotlight when his uncles Darrell and Kenneth began an anti-drug focused drill team. The team was formed in 1987 with about 20 young men and expanded to over 150 youth and became co-ed. The drill team opened the door for various opportunities that included taking part in an episode of BET’s Teen Summit and an assortment of civic awards and accolades.

He attended Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in business from Shaw University in 2013, and, in 2018, he received a Masters in Business from Strayer University.

Hillian has held a number of jobs within the East Spencer and Salisbury communities, most of which have involved working with youth.

He began a program, Boys to Men, through the Rowan County Housing Authority. This program was held at Weant Street Apartments and focused on manhood training.

He then landed a job in 1999 as an activity director for the then-Paul Dunbar Resource Center. While there, he began an after-school program. He said most of the youth were interested in basketball so he made a deal with them — homework and community service before play.

He coached Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball, within the police athletic league, as well as the Youth Basketball of America (YBOA) for more than 16 years.

Hillian said he loves working in the community, “just seeing where I was needed.” As Alderman, his commitment to service is now on a trajectory that points to fresh, forward thinking supported by action for the Town of East Spencer.  



Darlene Gaither

Darlene Gaither was born in Salisbury, NC in 1960. She is the wife (40 years) of Thomas L. Gaither, Jr. She has six grandchildren. Darlene graduated from West Rowan High School, Mt. Ulla, NC in 1978. She attended Salisbury Business College in 1985 and AIU in 2005 as she worked towards her Business degree with a concentration in Human Resources.

Darlene developed an early interest volunteering her services in local communities and with NC Head Start in an effort to ensure that no child was left behind, that seniors' needs are met, and everyone in the community is fed through a local food pantry. 

Darlene was employed with the Cleveland YMCA Branch in 1996, and spent ten years working with the youth and their families. She ensured grants were available for those families who were unable to afford membership dues, and that they still had the opportunity to benefit from all available programs that the YMCA offered. While working at the Y, Darlene developed and chaired a Teen/Preteen Committee that consisted of a small group of parents who began youth programming including monthly dances, movie nights, and other special events. These programs kept the youth busy in positive activities and minimized the amount of energy focused on "screen time" and time spent hanging out in the streets. After this Committee had been formed for six months, Darlene received the Governor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.

After the Cleveland YMCA closed, Darlene did not stop working. She continued her volunteering services with the NC Head Start Program. She has been working with them for nearly thirty-four years. She has spent the last two years on the Board where she has played an integral part introducing the children and their families to a healthy, farm fresh diet. She creates a schedule with a meal plan and travels to each Head Start facility to prepare a meal. The children get the opportunity to participate in prepping and cooking, after which they get to eat the fruits of their labor.

Darlene is never satisfied with the amount of time she spends volunteering to help others. She always believes she can do more. Not only does she volunteer in Rowan county, she has spread her wings and is volunteering in Davie County as well. She volunteers twice a month to assist with the Cooleemee Community Pantry, shopping for those families who are in need, stocks the pantry, donates to the pantry, and assist in picking up food from SecondHarvest.

Darlene is a caring and giving individual,  always willing to work and eager to learn. She is resourceful, and in her spare time enjoys canning and spending time with her family. Family is very important to her, and she delivers this message wherever she goes.