Partnership with City of Charlotte addresses community violence and promotes public safety
United Way of Central Carolinas, in partnership with the City of Charlotte, will award $1 million in grants to grassroots nonprofit agencies committed to supporting efforts to curb violence and increase safety across the city. Neighborhoods most affected by violence will be prioritized for funding through the Safety and Accountability for Everyone (SAFE) Charlotte grant program. The grant program responds to the reality that creating and sustaining a city where all residents are safe requires collaboration, innovation and community involvement.
In October 2020, Charlotte City Council adopted the SAFE Charlotte plan, which includes recommendations to re-imagine policing and make the city safer. The first recommendation in the SAFE Charlotte report is to provide $1 million to community organizations to address violent crime in Charlotte. Through the SAFE Charlotte grant program, a total of 20 grants in the amount of $50,000 each will be awarded to 501(c)3 organizations meeting eligibility requirements under guidelines established by the City of Charlotte.
SAFE Charlotte grant funds also will provide capacity-building support to grant recipients throughout the year and implement plans to evaluate and communicate the impact of each organization’s progress. Funding for the SAFE Charlotte grant program is made possible to the City of Charlotte in part through the federal Community Development Block Grant.
Through its annual grantmaking activities that include more than 100 funded partner agencies, United Way of Central Carolinas is uniquely positioned to manage the SAFE Charlotte grant application process and deliver capacity-building support to funded organizations. A group of community stakeholders will serve on a special grants panel to review applications and make funding recommendations.
“Our goal is to distribute funds through an equitable process that reflects community priorities, and to help organizations strengthen their internal operations so they continue to provide vitally important services,” said Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, Chief Impact Officer at United Way of Central Carolinas.
Additionally, United Way initiatives Unite Charlotte and United Neighborhoods that launched in 2016 and 2017, respectively, are well aligned to complement the SAFE Charlotte effort in strengthening neighborhoods and advancing racial equity in disinvested communities.
Over the past year, United Way of Central Carolinas has spearheaded multiple rounds of grant awards to area nonprofits. In addition to its annual grant process, United Way partnered with Foundation For The Carolinas to administer the COVID-19 Response Fund, awarding $23.6 million over six funding rounds.
“United Way continues to be a strong and reliable partner in our goal to address public safety and reduce violence in our community,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “This initiative will direct grant funding where it is most needed and provide recipients with an opportunity to enact meaningful and sustainable programs to benefit all Charlotteans.”
As part of the SAFE Charlotte partnership, United Way of Central Carolinas will work with two local entities to support the capacity-building efforts, reporting requirements and program evaluation for each organization receiving grant funds to ensure they are meeting requirements throughout the yearlong grant period.
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute will conduct two workshops focused on program evaluation and data collection. The goal of the workshops is to help agencies better understand the most relevant data points to collect and how to collect them. Grant recipients will receive a data collection template and guidebook to track their progress and outcomes. They also are required to complete a quarterly check-in reporting form and submit a final report at the end of the grant period that contains both qualitative and quantitative evidence of their work and its impact.
A second company, Bringing You Excellence (B.Y.E.), LLC, will host monthly capacity-building workshops to help SAFE Charlotte grantees grow their understanding of philanthropy, the business of nonprofit management and their role as a grassroots organization within the nonprofit network. B.Y.E. also will provide individualized support to each grant recipient and seek opportunities to explore collaboration among those with similar missions.
Applications for SAFE Charlotte grants will open at 8 a.m. on March 8, 2021 and close on March 31, 2021 at 5 p.m.
Organizations interested in applying for SAFE Charlotte funding are encouraged to attend one of two upcoming webinars hosted by United Way of Central Carolinas, University of North Carolina Charlotte and City of Charlotte: March 4 from 5:30 p.m.–7 p.m. and Thursday, March 11 from 8 a.m.–9:30 a.m. Advance registration is required. For complete details and application information, visit www.uwcentralcarolinas.org/safecharlotte.