Celebrating Our Community's Response

Leading on Opportunity

When Charlotte was ranked last among major US cities in economic mobility for children, our community took action. The Leading on Opportunity report provides a roadmap for improving social and economic mobility for all residents. Following it's strategies, our community's public, private and nonprofit sectors are focusing on systemic and structural change to improve our children's future. While there is still much work to be done, our commitment is showing tangible results. Read highlights of our community's commitment.

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Another Charlotte company needs 1,000 workers

Asheboro Courier Tribune NC • Hannah Smoot and Danielle Chemtob / Tribune News Service

Leading on Opportunity Task Force credited with acknowledgement of impact of segregation in Charlotte's development.

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Meeting Presents Opportunity to Galvanize Community for Lakeview

WSOC • Kevin Campbell - August 28, 2019

“We need to lift up potential bright spots in neighborhoods like Lakeview,” Cooper-Lewter said. “If things are going to change, we have to have conversations and work.”

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Community Conversation: The American Dream vs. Charlotte Reality

WBTV • Dedrick Russell - July 26, 2019

Featuring Leading on Opportunity Executive Director Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, Leading on Opportunity Council Member and County Manager Dena Diorio, and community organizations like Crisis Assistance Ministries, Central Piedmont Community College, the Urban League of Central Carolinas, Meck Pre-K, and Workforce Investment Network.

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The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream

The Atlantic • Gareth Cook - July 17, 2019

"No one has done more to dispel the myth of social mobility than Raj Chetty. But he has a plan to make equality of opportunity a reality ... In Charlotte ... Opportunity Insights is planning housing and higher-education initiatives, but social capital is at the center of its approach. It is working with a local organization called Leading on Opportunity, and looking at nonprofits that are already operating successfully, including Communities in Schools, a national group that provides comprehensive student support, as well as a job-training program called Year Up."

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The Agent of Change for Opportunity in Charlotte

WSOC TV • Kevin Campbell - June 10, 2019

“Our child and family stability strategies need to ensure that parents who are coming into a housing challenge of figuring out where they’re going to live have immediate access to resources,” Cooper-Lewter said. Among the many Cooper-Lewter has connected is a group of community organizations that have been champions for change, including, A Child’s Place, Community Link, Charlotte Works, Goodwill, Crisis Assistance Ministry, For Charlotte, Northside Baptist Church and more.

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GreenLight Fund Invests $1 Million in Early Childhood Initiative

Queen City Nerve • Ryan Pitkin - May 29, 2019

“This investment connects directly to our early care and education strategies,” [Leading on Opportunity Executive Director] Cooper-Lewter continued. “It aligns and fills a gap where early care recommendations were not being addressed and says, ‘This is something that we can do differently as a community.’”

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As Employment Rises, African American Transplants Ride Job Wave to the South

NPR • Daniella Cheslow - May 23, 2019

Don Thomas is on the front lines of that change. In Chicago, he and his wife Monica worked with children in the juvenile justice system until funding for their jobs ended. In Charlotte, he is the community impact director at Leading on Opportunity, an organization devoted to improving economic mobility in the city.

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Taking the Lead: Leading on Opportunity Advances the Call for Economic Mobility

Foundation For The Carolinas • March 27, 2019

Launched in 2017, the Leading on Opportunity Council is already reshaping the way the community looks at economic mobility, from improving access to preschool to increasing funds for affordable housing.

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How Charlotte Has Changed After Two Years of Focus on Economic Mobility

Charlotte Business Journal • Erik Spanburg - March 27, 2019

Affordable housing, economic mobility and more educational and training opportunities are all part of public-private efforts started two years ago with the release of a 73-page task force report. On Tuesday, CEOs, political leaders and nonprofit executives pledged to keep pushing for investments to improve the standard of living for people in need.

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