The City of Charlotte was affected by last September’s civil unrest more than any other entity.
The tension was evident for police, the mayor’s office, and city council, but others such as CATS, community relations, the fire department, and many more had to continually adapt to a rapidly evolving situation.
Months beforehand, the City’s annual United Way campaign had been scheduled to start that same week. The City chose to delay its campaign kickoff – but only by a week. In the view of Charlotte Fire Department Division Chief Daracus Newman, the events of September made the importance of the City’s work with United Way even more evident.
“September’s events strained every department, it was ‘all hands on deck’ for everyone,” said Newman. “But it also shed a light on how much the people in our community need our help more than ever, and United Way is a critical partner for us in helping our citizens.”
So even after a very tough week, people went over and above to kick off the United Way campaign. “We had incredible energy from every City department,” he said. “People who previously helped on the campaign offered to pitch in, even though it wasn’t their responsibility anymore – the response was amazing.”
Assistant City Manager Ann Wall leads by example, serving on United Way’s board of directors, as interim City Manager Ron Kimble did before her. But the City’s relationship with United Way is widespread – during the campaign, ambassadors from 19 different departments were represented at a tour of Goodwill’s Opportunity Campus to see United Way funding in action, bringing an in-person perspective back to their peers.