United Way of Central Carolinas is pleased to announce two major gifts and a new home as the organization continues its drive toward improving economic mobility through partnerships and support from individuals across the region.


Howard Levine, philanthropist and former CEO of Family Dollar, has donated $1 million over five years to United Way, and The Gambrell Foundation has donated $500,000 over five years. With the gifts, Levine and The Gambrell Foundation urged the Charlotte community to join them in their support for United Way’s mission to improve the education, health and financial stability of everyone in the region.


“United Way’s collective approach to our community’s complex economic mobility challenges is more important than ever, and I have been inspired and encouraged by the hard work it has undertaken as it plans for the future,” Levine said. “I have complete trust that United Way will maximize the impact of this gift and support the individuals and families in our region who need it most.”


The Gambrell Foundation was also motivated to make a $500,000 gift because of the changes United Way has made in recent years to modernize the agency while also shifting its funding strategy to address the region’s most pressing needs.


“Supporting the development of a vibrant and healthy community that provides opportunities for everyone is a priority for The Gambrell Foundation, and the innovative work that United Way is leading in our region’s most under-resourced neighborhoods aligns perfectly with our mission,” said Sally Gambrell Bridgford, president of The Gambrell Foundation.


The Foundation’s gift will support United Neighborhoods, which is United Way’s innovative approach to improve economic mobility through holistic neighborhood revitalization.


“We are profoundly grateful to Howard Levine and The Gambrell Foundation for their confidence in our ability to comprehensively address the challenges facing our community,” said Laura Clark, president and CEO of United Way of Central Carolinas. “We are excited about the future and for the opportunities these gifts and our new home will create for children, families and neighborhoods in our community.”


United Way recently sold its longtime building on Brevard Street and will relocate to leased space at the Children and Family Services Center, at 601 East 5th Street in Charlotte. The Center is home to several partner agencies and will allow for more collaboration as United Way works to improve economic mobility through its nonprofit network.


Created by nine Charlotte nonprofit agencies serving children and families, the Children and Family Services Center opened in 2003 through a public-private partnership with the City of Charlotte. More than a building, the Center offers 100,000 square feet of office, meeting spaces and shared administrative services which allow collaborating agencies to maximize resources, reduce costs and redirect savings to support and expand programs.


“We and our 11 partner agencies are truly excited about the additional synergies that will result from United Way of Central Carolinas joining our collaboration,” said Shelley White, executive director of the Children and Family Services Center. “Their participation as a partner agency will enhance our ability to achieve our mission of improving the lives of children and families through an innovative partnership of community resources that promotes strong families and advocate for change.”


One of the area’s largest private funders of health and human services, United Way shifted its community impact strategy in 2018 to more directly address the lack of economic mobility and has adopted more sustainable practices to ensure its long-term financial health. This relocation is the latest step in that strategy.


“This is truly an ideal real estate solution for United Way,” said Clark. “We are energized by the opportunity to work alongside this committed group of agencies, and we look forward to driving lasting change from our new home at the Children and Family Services Center through even deeper network collaboration and efficiencies.”