CHARLOTTE – United Way of Central Carolinas is investing $21.7 million into communities across the Charlotte region.
The nonprofit is awarding grants to more than 100 agencies in five counties that are building stronger neighborhoods, improving racial equity, boosting economic mobility and helping people meet basic needs in the pandemic.
Thanks to thousands of corporate and individual donors, the investment includes $10.7 million for United Way initiatives and partner agencies in fiscal year 2021.
The funding includes a $1 million contribution from Mecklenburg County to expand United Way’s Unite Charlotte initiative to improve racial equity, which was seeded by Wells Fargo in 2016. United Way also broadens its reach by welcoming 36 new partners with first-time grants to programs aligned with its mission.
The investment also includes $9.2 million for agencies providing relief for people facing hardships due to the pandemic. The money, which began going out in July, is part of the COVID-19 Response Fund co-launched in March by United Way in partnership with Foundation For The Carolinas. The remaining $1.7 million represents additional United Way community investments and donor-directed funding for nonprofits.
“United Way continues its evolution toward taking on this community’s highest priority needs, and there’s no question the pandemic and the urgent cry for racial equity top the list,” President and CEO Laura Yates Clark said. “At the same time, we continue our focus on fueling economic mobility in a city that lags behind in creating opportunity for those living in poverty. And that work begins at the ground level with empowering neighborhoods.”
United Way’s Board of Directors boosted the 2021 funding by committing up to $3 million from its reserves to keep the overall funding pool for agencies the same as last year’s. Without dipping into reserves this year, overall grant funding would have declined due to a decrease in community contributions.
United Way has awarded 127 grants totaling $10.7 million in partner funding to 119 agencies beginning in January. Highlights include:
$1.1 million will dramatically expand the Unite Charlotte effort, going to build capacity and fund 33 grassroots organizations working to advance racial equity and create opportunity. Grants range from $15,000 to $40,000 and recipients include such groups as Our Turn, Profound Gentlemen and Southside Rides, most of them led by people of color.
$800,000 will continue funding for United Way’s United Neighborhoods program. Grants will go to 16 groups and eight neighborhood ‘quarterback’ organizations that work together to identify – and address – specific needs within their communities.
$8.8 million in Community Impact Grants will go to 70 agencies, ranging from $6,250 to $777,500, in Anson, Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Union counties. Recipients include longtime partners such as Roof Above and Mental Health America, as well as new partners such as Socialserve, Time Out Youth and Promise Resource Network.
United Way also played a role in the COVID-19 Response Fund for emergency relief in the pandemic.
United Way and Foundation For The Carolinas partnered to raise funds, assess needs and distribute grants beginning in March as North Carolina’s economic shutdown began. The Charlotte region responded to the call for help, with more than 1,100 donors contributing $23.6 million throughout the year. Grants flowed to agencies on the frontlines based on decisions made by a special grants committee of community leaders.
United Way also helped find housing for residents of the Lake Arbor apartment community after owners decided to sell the property – leaving more than 300 low-income families without homes.
“United Way has always functioned as the go-to agency when our community is in need, but what this organization has done in 2020 is remarkable and unprecedented,” said Scott Vaughn, chairman of United Way board Chair and a partner at McGuireWoods. “United Way is far more than a funding organization; it’s a convener and leader with a vast network of partners that together make a collective impact in our community far beyond what agencies might do individually.”
Select Union County agencies and funding
Community Health Services of Union County – $90,000
Council on Aging in Union County – $35,625
HealthQuest of Union County – $17,325
The Arc of Union/Cabarrus – $53,000
Turning Point – 97,500
Union County Community Shelter – $90,000
Union County Crisis Assistance Ministry – $109,375
Union-Anson County Habitat for Humanity – $40,000