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Year in Review: United Way’s Biggest Impact Moments of 2019

From giving and volunteering, to impacting and advocating, it has been a busy year at United Way of Central Carolinas. As we look forward to the New Year, we thank our community for joining us in the fight for the well being of every person across the Charlotte region.


Here are a few of our 2019 highlights and biggest moments of impact propelling us into 2020:



A big community response to neighbors in need.


In early September, United Way of Central Carolinas began accepting donations to its Critical Need Relief Fund during a special appeal to the public in support of displaced Lake Arbor apartment residents in Charlotte.


Within days, close to 170 donors joined the effort by pledging nearly $270,000 in financial support. This unique appeal and response to the housing crisis at Lake Arbor showed the power of collective giving and provided individuals, the business community and local government the opportunity to support their neighbors through a different approach at United Way—one that will have a real impact on Lake Arbor families.


Read more about the Lake Arbor response here.



A week with hundreds of volunteers.


Volunteerism is one of the ways United Way of Central Carolinas brings people together to share their time and talents, solve local challenges and build a stronger community. Hundreds of volunteers across the Charlotte community answered this call during United Way Volunteer Week, April 5-13, uniting in service and taking action to assist local nonprofits, schools and neighborhoods.


United Way Volunteer Week, presented in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, included multiple opportunities for people of all ages to join us in rolling up their sleeves, lending a hand and getting involved in meaningful projects.


Read more about United Way Volunteer Week events here.



A focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.


United Way of Central Carolinas values diversity, inclusion, empowerment, integrity and respect—knowing that our organization can’t be successful without elevating diverse perspectives, championing inclusive programs and advancing equitable outcomes.


This year we strengthened our work around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) by convening nonprofit partners to learn how to apply an equity lens to their economic mobility work; attending United Way’s Equity Summit and launching an internal staff-led DEI initiative; supporting the CLT 2019 Unity Letter to reject racism, bigotry and hate in Charlotte; and continuing Unite Charlotte, our program that has invested nearly $1.2 million over three years in local organizations focused on boosting economic mobility through social justice initiatives.


Read more about United Way’s DEI work here.



A thought leader in the community.


Staying true to its role as a thought leader in the community, United Way of Central Carolinas collaborated on two significant reports released in spring 2019:


*Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Shelter System Assessment of Capacity & Utilization—released in partnership with Mecklenburg County Community Support Services as the first-ever assessment of the county’s emergency shelter system.


*Creating a Trauma-Informed Early Childhood System report—released in partnership with Child Care Resources Inc. to review the impact of trauma on children and families and explore useful strategies.


These reports provide important insights for United Way and nonprofit agencies to help inform their impact strategies and philanthropic work.


Read more about the two reports here.



A stronger partner network.


United Way of Central Carolinas works every day to give organizations the tools and resources needed to be successful and maximize their impact. Through the United Way Learning Network, this year our organization introduced a series of partner learning opportunities aimed to increase the knowledge, capacity and leadership of United Way grantees.


Three half-day workshops explored specific topics—from building trauma-informed organizations to advancing racial equity frameworks to developing two-generation interventions. United Way’s partner learning opportunities will expand in 2020 with new in-depth learning cohorts for each of the three workshop topics.


Read more about the United Way Learning Network here.