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.

Our Efforts Are Igniting Change.

  • Leading on Opportunity launches our Community Impact Alliance in 2019, engaging hundreds who commit to being a part of our opportunity movement across Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
  • Charlotte City Council mapped its budget to the report's recommendations.
  • United Way of Central Carolinas realigned its focus, investing more than $13 million in economic mobility in 2018 and another $13 million in 2019 to continue to move the needle in economic mobility and improving neighborhoods.
  • The Charlotte Executive Leadership Council structured its work to align with Leading on Opportunity's strategies and recommendations.
  • Harvard University's Economic Opportunity Institute has selected Charlotte as a pilot city, using big data to inform policy and philanthropic decisions.
  • Charlotte is participating in Living Cities' Project on Municipal Innovations, which supports innovations in city government to improve the lives of residents.
  • Multiple stakeholders have committed millions to directly support economic mobility programs and initiatives.

The Impact of Segregation

  • On the Table CLT, funded by the Knight Foundation, convened 6,000 residents to discuss the impact of segregation on October 24, 2018.

Early Care and Education

  • Mecklenburg County increased its budget for early care and education by $15 million.
  • $9 million was earmarked for free, high quality pre-K, resulting in 33 new classrooms serving 600 additional children.
  • The Board of County Commissioners is crafting next year's budget with a larger commitment to universal pre-K.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools partnered with a Harvard professor to improve early literacy.
  • The Howard Levine Child Development Center opened, providing quality care to more than 100 young students.

College and Career Readiness

  • Johnson C. Smith University President Clarence Armbrister announces new “Pinnacle Opportunity Scholars Program” to increase the number of Charlotte students accepted at JCSU working with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and other area schools to identify perspective Pinnacle Scholars as early as middle school in April 2019.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools new career outreach program quadrupled the number of students receiving industry certifications to 2,500 over the past two years.
  • The Charlotte Executive Leadership Council partnered with Charlotte Works and Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont to launch customer service and construction training programs.
  • Central Piedmont Community College, with the support of 22 major donors, launched the Opportunity Scholarship Initiative for students from high-poverty Charlotte Mecklenburg high schools.
  • The workforce training nonprofit Year Up launched a site in Charlotte, preparing students for entry-level technology and customer-facing roles.

Child and Family Stability

  • Foundation For The Carolinas launched a private housing fund. To date, the private sector has donated $31 million, plus an additional $97 million in other support of affordable housing efforts.
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Charlotte kicks off $2 million in operating support for affordable housing and commits to make another $25 million for investments to revitalize communities.
  • Charlotte voters overwhelmingly approved tripling the City's Housing Trust Fund in November 2018.
  • Novant Health and Atrium Health raised their minimum wage to $12.50.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools increased wages for bus drivers to $15.00 per hour.
  • Foundation For The Carolinas, Mitchell's Fund and the Children's Medical Fund reported on gaps in mental health resources. In response, Thompson Child and Family Focus opened three new residential programs.
  • Charlotte Area Transit Systems implemented a new bus grid system, which has reduced commute times by 15%.

Social Capital

  • Intentional Movement for Social Capital launches first expedition in October 2018 and screens social capital documentary in June 2019.
  • Communities in Schools launched their "All in for Social Capital" campaign in April 2018, resulting in new paid internships opportunities.
  • On the Table CLT, funded by the Knight Foundation, convened 5,000 residents to discuss social capital on October 25, 2017.