Doris Cromartie, a longtime advocate for women, children and minorities discovered in early 1982 that USDA offered a Federal food program for family child care home providers. There were already child care centers in North Carolina that received reimbursement, yet not family child care homes. Doris decided to apply for a grant with the NC Department of Public Instruction. After first having to convince some folks that there were indeed children in NC that could benefit from this program, the organization was formed in late 1982 and began contacting child care homes in 1983.
Doris Cromartie had a long history of working to protect women and minorities rights. She campaigned alongside John F. Kennedy in the late 1950’s, and served as vice chair of the Democratic Party from 1960-1963. She worked as an investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission beginning in 1965, and started her own employment practices company in 1972 to help business comply with the civil rights law of 1964. She became the director of employment services for Duke Power in 1979 and later the Director of Corporate Affairs. Doris served as Asst. Secretary of Commerce for Women’s Economic Development in 1984, having been appointed by Governor Jim Hunt. Doris served on many boards and commissions during her distinguished career as well as serving on the CNP Inc. board until her death in 2001.
Vicki Lipscomb, Doris’ daughter, Vicki, was employed for the Division of Social Services as a Supervisor for Child Support Enforcement in Mecklenburg County when her Mother approached her about serving on the board and helping to start the food program in North Carolina. Being of similar mindset as her mother, a parent with a full-time job and understanding the juggling act of parents, Vicki signed on to assist with the development of the program. Vicki had worked in a capacity of serving families of children in NC since 1979, and prior to that had been involved during the very early days of the Habitat for Humanity, working with Millard Fuller in the early 1970’s building low cost housing in Americus Ga. along with her soon to be husband, William. Vicki continued her employment at Child Support Enforcement while serving on the CNPInc. board of directors from 1982 until 1988. In 1988 she decided to leave State Government and work for CNP as the full time Executive Director. Since that time, CNP has grown into one of the most effective and well run CACFP organizations in the country.
Vicki has served on numerous committees and work groups to help eliminate unnecessary regulation, streamline paperwork, support training needs of child care providers and sponsors. Under Vicki’s leadership, CNP now serves family child care, child care centers, and afterschool programs. Vicki is currently the Policy Chair and the Immediate Past President of the National CACFP Sponsors Association. She counsels other sponsors and providers throughout the country on running effective programs and has also served on the NC child day care commission – the governing body for child care in NC.
Lois Hunter, Doris’ dear friend and Vicki’s Godmother, also agreed to assist with the startup of CNP Inc. Lois jumped in and took the reins to run the organization from 1982-1988. Lois visited child care sites and trained and worked with child care providers to ensure the providers knew the importance of good nutrition. During these early days, with little regulation or guidance, Lois took it upon herself to personally ensure that every provider had the tools they needed to operate a good program. Commonly know just as “the food lady”, providers and children looked forward to her visits. Lois worked for CNP until she retired in 1994. Lois died in November of 2001.