Fund focuses on improving racial equity and increasing social capital
United Way of Central Carolinas announced today the distribution of $400,000 in Unite Charlotte grants to 24 nonprofits and grassroots organizations in Mecklenburg County. Originally established in response to the civic unrest in Charlotte in late 2016, Unite Charlotte provides early funding for organizations and programs focused on improving racial equity and increasing social capital.
“This second round of Unite Charlotte funding brings the total investment to over $850,000,” said Sean Garrett, United Way’s executive director. “Unite Charlotte is one of the primary ways United Way is driving innovative change within our community. It’s exciting to see so many promising organizations and programs working to create an environment of opportunity for everyone across our region.”
Unite Charlotte distributed its first round of funding in March 2017. Organizations eligible are those in Mecklenburg County with budgets under $500,000 and programs designed to improve economic mobility through social justice initiatives that specifically address racial equity, poverty, civil rights and/or access and inclusion for historically underrepresented or marginalized groups.
The grants range from $3,000 to $15,000, totaling $258,505 invested into a variety of programs. Of the 24 organizations receiving funding, seven groups are second time recipients. They include Profound Gentlemen, Refuge Support Services, Southside Rides, Transcend Charlotte, West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition and West Side Community Land Trust. Over 60 applications were reviewed by a committee consisting of leaders from the faith, education and business communities, as well as community-based organizations and donors.
New Unite Charlotte grant recipients are focused on initiatives ranging from providing technology for learning and job training, to building trust between communities and police. Unite Charlotte will continue investing in Race Matters for Juvenile Justice to support the organization’s two-day Racial Equity Training workshops and training for local nonprofits. Additionally, funds will be used for capacity-building initiatives benefitting the grant recipients.
“Capacity building is an important part of the Unite Charlotte effort,” said Garrett. “United Way will hold workshops and provide mentoring to strengthen organization and financial stability, program quality and growth of our Unite Charlotte grant recipients.”
Initial investors in Unite Charlotte included Wells Fargo, Knight Foundation, Duke Energy, Walmart Foundation, Elevation Church, Foundation For The Carolinas, Charlotte WILL and Clariant.
Selected Grant Recipients at a Glance (full funding list follows)
Mission: As Charlotte’s first and only inclusive tech hub for entrepreneurs and technologists of color, BLKTECHCLT aims to connect, equip, and support diverse innovators building businesses and growing jobs in the community. It also aims to make Charlotte’s startup community one of the most diverse in the Southeast by providing programming and leadership within local technology initiatives.
Program: The Learning Lab Series pilot program was introduced in January 2018 to provide business and technical skills to aspiring and current entrepreneurs across Charlotte. BLKTECHCLT intends to grow the monthly hands-on workshop to at least four times per month to accommodate the growing interest in sessions. The workshops are led by experienced professionals and cover topics including preparing for funding, understanding the customer discovery process, and developing systems for sales funnels.
Mission: Profound Gentlemen strives to build a community of male educators of color who provide a profound additional impact on boys and young men of color. Through developing, supporting, and retaining highly effective male teachers of color across the nation, the nonprofit aims to positively impact the academic achievement of children in public and charter schools, with a focus on boys of color.
Program: During the upcoming school year, 10 male educators of color will be placed in a collaborative cohort of educators. They will meet quarterly for professional growth and community support. Each educator will receive coaching, grant funding, and one-on-one support to engage students in projects that address issues of civic engagement, social capital, education equity and racial inclusion. The collaborative cohorts are led by a practicing teacher that is supported with a stipend from Profound Gentlemen.
Soy Latino Como Tu
Mission: Soy Latino Como Tu works to educate, empower and develop self-confidence through cultural awareness and leadership skills. Goals include improving the interaction and relationships with children from diverse backgrounds to enhance their cultural awareness and provide them with a deeper multicultural view.
Program: Launched in 2017, the Connecting You with Your Roots through the Language program addresses the lack of connection to the Spanish language and Latino culture and heritage by providing a Spanish program for children 8 -18 years old. Soy Latino Como Tu plans to grow the program to help more children learn about Latin American culture, traditions, and language and to encourage them to be more involved in school, church and the community.
Unite Charlotte 2018 Funding
|Alexander Art Foundation||$10,000|
|Aspire Community Capital||$15,000|
|Brookhill Community Organization||$5,002|
|Build the Good/ BLKTECHCLT||$15,000|
|Cops and Barbers||$15,000|
|Lakewood Neighborhoods Alliance, Inc.||$5,000|
|Latin American Leadership Future Search||$15,000|
|Mecklenburg Council of Elders||$15,000|
|MenTouring Our Brothers||$10,000|
|NC Center for Public Policy Research||$15,000|
|Refugee Support Services*||$15,000|
|Soy Latino Como Tu||$5,000|
|Stiletto Boss University||$15,000|
|Students for Education Reform||$10,000|
|The QC Family Tree||$14,000|
|West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition*||$10,000|
|West Side Community Land Trust*||$10,000|
|Race Matters for Juvenile Justice*||$91,495|
*2nd year recipient