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United Way Stories

Meet the faces your donation helps every day.

We measure our success in lives changed. These stories are a testament to the difference our community can make when we come together to create lasting change.

Impact Grant Stories

Boosting Youth Health and Happiness

Lanitta got pregnant with her daughter at age 13 and soon felt overwhelmed without people or a place she could turn to for support.

Thriving Through Quality Education

For most of her childhood, Chloe struggled with learning disabilities that caused her to fall almost three grades behind her peers.

The Places You’ll Go

After years of drug abuse and rebellious behavior in her teens, Rylee unexpectedly found herself pregnant and homeless at age 20.

A Place to Call Home

For the first 25 years of her life, Neekie was constantly on the move, sometimes in shelters, other times sleeping on a relative’s couch. Time after time, her family lost their home.


By giving back, Amir turned his crisis into a new beginning. In doing so, he has helped the teens at The Relatives embark on a new path as well.

From Homeless to Housing

  “My family became homeless because I lost my job,” said Katrina Guiles, who worked at a distribution center until she got sick during pregnancy….

Roadmap to the Unexpected

Brody was born with a one-of-a-kind chromosomal defect. There was no roadmap for how to help him. His mother turned to United Way.

Stepping Out of Stereotypes

Ja’Lynn grew up in a single-parent home in an older public housing neighborhood. Driven by her high hopes and expectations, Ja’Lynn’s mother enrolled Ja’Lynn and her brother in the nearby Boys & Girls Club.

Stable Ground in a Time of Need

Although her journey was rocky, Vaneta always felt supported by Vann and United Way programs, like YWCA and The Relatives. With their support, she followed her passion and became a special needs teacher.

Unite Charlotte Stories

Eliminating the Digital Divide

Motivated by his young daughter’s concern about fellow students struggling to complete assignments because they lacked access to a computer and internet connectivity in their homes, Pat Millen sought a solution to bridge the digital divide in area schools.

Guiding Future Young Professionals

After working hard to become a successful philanthropist and entrepreneur, Jania Massey sought a way to fill the void she saw with social capital and opportunity for girls of color in Charlotte.

Adapting to a New Home

With nearly 17,000 refugees resettling in Charlotte over the past 20 years, Rachel Humphries saw a need for helping these newly-arrived residents successfully adapt to their new home.

Positioning Entrepreneurs for Success

Frustrated by a lack of public programming in Charlotte inclusive of black tech professionals and startups, Sherrell Dorsey sought a way to boost opportunities in the city for entrepreneurs of color.

Unite Charlotte

United Way established Unite Charlotte in response to the civic unrest in Charlotte in late 2016. The initiative provides funding for local nonprofits and grassroots organizations focused on improving racial equity and increasing social capital.

Growing Teachers Into Leaders

Jason Terrell and Mario Shaw started Profound Gentlemen, a nonprofit focused on building a community of male educators of color – from pre-K through high school – who can provide a profound impact on boys and young men of color.

Creating New Opportunities

Dave Moore understands that young men getting out of jail most often won’t be able to secure a job quickly, because he’s an ex-felon himself; the idea for Southside Rides came to him while serving a sentence for dealing drugs.

United Neighborhoods Stories

Tackling Food Insecurity in West Charlotte

For residents like Ms. Moore, eating well and accessing healthy, affordable groceries on a consistent basis are challenging when living in a lower-income, food insecure community.

Restoring Neighborhood Stability in Grier Heights

Grier Heights is changing as nonprofits, residents and other stakeholders work together to improve the neighborhood’s quality of life.

Making Neighborhood Strides in Renaissance

Charlotte’s Renaissance neighborhood is undergoing revitalization into a mixed-income community where families have a greater chance for success.

United Neighborhoods

United Neighborhoods launched in 2017 with a $2.4 million commitment over three years into the Renaissance and Grier Heights neighborhoods in Charlotte.

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