The first weekend of December brings together the community’s love of college football and helping children in the greater Charlotte region succeed.


United Way of Central Carolinas has partnered with the Atlantic Coast Conference for more than 20 years. In the past five years, the partnership has grown through the support of local, youth-education based charitable initiatives associated with the ACC Football Championship Game.


Mascot Reading Challenge Celebration


This year the ACC and United Way continued their partnership to support student literacy by working with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) through the ACC United Way Reading Challenge.


With a focus on improving reading proficiency at three CMS schools—Pineville Elementary, River Gate Elementary and Winget Park Elementary—the reading challenge encourages students to spend more time reading for a chance to attend the ACC Football Championship Game and be honored on the field during the game. For three weeks, students recorded their number of pages read, with more than 907,000 pages logged during the reading challenge.


Leading up to the big game on Saturday, December 7, students and principals from the three elementary schools gathered on Friday, December 6 at River Gate Elementary to celebrate a successful reading challenge during a high-energy pep rally with ACC mascots.


Radio personality and Charlotte Hornets arena host Fly Ty introduced the mascots and led the students in chants, songs and dancing before announcing River Gate Elementary as the winner of the reading challenge.


ACC Executive Associate Commissioner & Chief of External Affairs Amy Yakola also read “The Book with No Pictures” to the students while the mascots acted out the story. In addition to rewarding the hard-working students with a fun event, the ACC presented 1,000 gift cards to each principal of the three elementary schools.


Football Legends, Fan 5K & Championship Game


On Friday night, members of United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society (ADT) had an exclusive opportunity to engage with football greats during the 2019 ACC Night of Legends in Charlotte. The signature event recognized a legend from each ACC football member institution, along with 2019 ACC football award winners.


“The ACC Night of Legends event is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for exposure to ACC football at a much deeper level than I’ve ever experienced,” said Wes Beckner, ADT member. “The event provides a chance to meet the ACC Legends Class in an intimate and relaxed setting and the opportunity to meet players and coaches. All ADT events provide unique opportunities for supporters of United Way, and this event is among the best.”


The following morning, United Way joined the community bright and early in uptown Charlotte for the ACC Fan 5K and Kids Mascot Run. All event proceeds were given to support United Way’s work.


Finally, on Saturday night the cold weather didn’t stop local students from having a blast at the ACC Football Championship Game. United Way joined the students on the field, where they were recognized for their hard work and where the ACC presented $25,000 to United Way of Central Carolinas to support education initiatives in the community.


“Our longstanding partnership with the ACC is incredible and we thank them for their investment in the Charlotte community,” said Clint Hill, chief development officer at United Way. “We are thrilled to co-create the fun atmosphere to challenge and reward young children to read early and often in their daily lives. The $25,000 donation will be invested in early childhood education programming to help ensure every student in our community has the opportunity to feel the same excitement about reading.”


Visit United Way’s Facebook page to see more photos from these great events!