Launched in 2017 by United Way of Central Carolinas, United Neighborhoods is changing the odds in disinvested communities by supporting resident-driven revitalization efforts that improve economic mobility, so that a person’s zip code no longer determines their future success in the Charlotte region.

 

 

UNITED NEIGHBORHOODS MODEL

 

In 2013, a Harvard University/UC Berkeley study ranked the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region 50th out of 50 in economic mobility. More specifically, a child born into poverty in this area is more likely to remain in poverty than in any urban area in the country.

 

Through the United Neighborhoods program, from 2018-2020 nearly two dozen community partners have provided support to residents. Whether helping families become financially stable and find affordable housing or preparing children to enter school ready to read and learn, the needs of these communities are unique.

 

Resident Empowerment

 

United Way believes those most affected by a situation—neighborhood residents—are also best equipped to identify and advance solutions. Revitalization efforts are driven through community-specific strategies. Based on the needs identified by stakeholders within that unique community, residents identify support services needed, select organizations to provide services and determine grants through United Way funds.

 

Community Quarterbacks

 

True neighborhood transformation requires a generational commitment. United Way offers flexible, multi-year support to each United Neighborhoods Community Quarterback, a local and embedded organization dedicated to engaging residents, building local leadership and coordinating partners and services.

 

Community Quarterback organizations receive grant funding from United Way, have access to technical assistance and report annually on progress of goals.

 

Block Building Grants

 

United Way invests additional funds and provides professional development opportunities as Block Building grants. These grants support resident-led organizations that provide a voice through community engagement activities and resident-driven planning efforts to neighborhoods in the early stages of revitalization.

 

 

UNITED NEIGHBORHOODS PROGRESS

 

Renaissance West

 

As a United Neighborhoods Community Quarterback, Renaissance West Community Initiative (RWCI) serves more than 1,300 residents in Renaissance West through 334 mixed-income housing units. RWCI also provides support services and programs that strengthen opportunities for career advancement, youth education, programs for seniors and access to economic mobility.

 

Education

  • 85% of children who graduated from the Howard Levine Child Development Center in 2019 were meeting developmental milestones in social emotional measures and early literacy
  • Third-grade English Language Arts proficiency among children enrolled in Renaissance West STEAM Academy increased from 11.6% in 2017-2018 to 23.6% in 2018-2019

 

Financial Stability

  • 80% of Renaissance West residents maintained employment; Little Rock Apartments resident employment increased from 42% to 71%
  • Working adults enrolled in the Family Self Sufficiency Program increased their median income from $13,000 to $22,000 in 2019
  • 80% of Renaissance West residents retained housing, meeting the national average

 

*Outcome data does not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Grier Heights

 

Grier Heights is home to more than 3,000 residents, with CrossRoads Corporation serving as the neighborhood’s Community Quarterback organization. This United Neighborhoods partner focuses on engaging residents at all levels to position the neighborhood for stability and success beyond revitalization.

 

Education

  • 60 middle school children participated in Bulldogs Matter afterschool program
  • 17 residents participated in HSE/GED classes held at the community center
  • Local nonprofit partner Freedom School Partners doubled participation from previous years to 65 scholars

 

Financial Stability

  • CrossRoads completed construction on nine homes in Grier Heights, purchased and occupied by hard-working families
  • Five residents and a member of another organization now serve in leadership roles between the CrossRoads Board of Directors and Grier Heights Community Center Advisory Board
  • 12 residents received certifications, job training and placement with support from local nonprofit partner Grace-Mar Services, Inc.

 

*Outcome data does not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Help us continue to invest in local neighborhoods and revitalization efforts that improve economic mobility by giving to United Way.