–FY 2021 investment reflects United Way grants and special COVID response funding
–United Way increases funding for racial equity, neighborhoods and economic mobility
–COVID grants go to agencies providing food, shelter and other assistance for basic needs
United Way of Central Carolinas announced today the investment of $21.7 million into communities across the Charlotte region, awarding grants to more than 100 agencies in five counties that are building stronger neighborhoods, improving racial equity, boosting economic mobility and helping people meet basic needs in the pandemic.
Thanks to thousands of corporate and individual donors, the investment includes $10.7 million for United Way initiatives and partner agencies in fiscal year 2021. The funding includes a $1 million contribution from Mecklenburg County to expand United Way’s Unite Charlotte initiative to improve racial equity, which was seeded by Wells Fargo in 2016. United Way also broadens its reach by welcoming 36 new partners with first-time grants to programs aligned with its mission.
The investment also includes $9.2 million for agencies providing relief for individuals and families facing hardships due to the pandemic. The money, which began going out in July, is part of the COVID-19 Response Fund co-launched in March by United Way in partnership with Foundation For The Carolinas. The remaining $1.7 million represents additional United Way community investments and donor-directed funding for nonprofits.
“United Way continues its evolution toward taking on this community’s highest priority needs, and there’s no question the pandemic and the urgent cry for racial equity top the list,” said United Way President and CEO Laura Yates Clark. “At the same time, we continue our focus on fueling economic mobility in a city that lags behind in creating opportunity for those living in poverty. And that work begins at the ground level with empowering neighborhoods.”
United Way’s Board of Directors boosted the 2021 funding by committing up to $3 million from its reserves to keep the overall funding pool for agencies the same as last year’s. The Board had previously taken steps to move away from reserve funding to ensure United Way’s sustainability, however, without dipping into reserves this year overall grant funding would have declined due to a decrease in community contributions.
United Way has awarded 127 grants totaling $10.7 million in partner funding to 119 agencies beginning in January. View the full list of funded partners. Highlights include:
- $1.1 million will dramatically expand the Unite Charlotte effort, going to build capacity and fund 33 grassroots organizations working to advance racial equity and create opportunity. Grants range from $15,000 to $40,000 and recipients include such groups as Our Turn, Profound Gentlemen and Southside Rides, most of them led by people of color.
- $800,000 will continue funding for United Way’s United Neighborhoods program. Grants will go to 16 groups and eight neighborhood ‘quarterback’ organizations that work together to identify – and address – specific needs within their communities.
- $8.8 million in Community Impact Grants will go to 70 agencies, ranging from $6,250 to $777,500, in Anson, Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Union counties. Recipients include longtime partners such as Roof Above and Mental Health America, as well as new partners such as Socialserve, Time Out Youth, and Promise Resource Network.
United Way also played a crucial role in the COVID-19 Response Fund for emergency relief in the pandemic. In a unique partnership, United Way and Foundation For The Carolinas employed their joint expertise to raise funds, assess needs and distribute grants beginning in March as North Carolina’s economic shutdown began. The Charlotte region responded to the call for help, with more than 1,100 donors contributing $23.6 million throughout the year. Grants flowed to agencies on the frontlines based on decisions made by a special Grants Committee of community leaders.
United Way also stepped up recently to lead community efforts to find housing for residents of the Lake Arbor apartment community after owners abruptly decided to sell the property – leaving more than 300 low-income families without homes in a city with a severe shortage of affordable housing.
“United Way has always functioned as the go-to agency when our community is in need, but what this organization has done in 2020 is remarkable and unprecedented,” said United Way Board Chair Scott Vaughn, a partner at McGuireWoods. “United Way is far more than a funding organization; it’s a convener and leader with a vast network of partners that together make a collective impact in our community far beyond what agencies might do individually.”