© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Charlotte's new $250M initiative aims to address racial inequities, mayor says


Charl otte M ayor Vi Lyles s ays a newly la unc hed in itiati ve aim s to raise $2 50 million t o help bri dge the digita l ga p between a ff luent and pover t y -stricke n com munitie s in North Ca rolina's la rgest c ity.

O ther goals of th e Mayor 's Ra cial Eq uity In itiat i ve , ann ounced Monday , in clude in vest ing in Charlott e's cor r idors of oppor tunity an d ele vating Johnson C. Sm ith Univers ity into one of the top 10 HBCU s in t he U.S. Some of Charlot te's bigg est c o mpanies have alread y do nated to t he in itia tive , but L yles says t he p roject does w hat the Queen Ci ty do es best b y com bining bo ld ideas , phil anth r opy and collabor ative proble m-solvin g.

Gracyn Doctor

“The thanks that I want to give is to this community, because you’re making it possible for us to achieve a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming city,” she said. “You’re making it possible for us to tackle racial inequity and upward mobility with accountability and abundance.”

The Ally Charitable Foundation made a $5 million donation, allotting $2 million to the digital divide and $3 million to the corridors of opportunity. Over $62 million was donated to Johnson C. Smith, including a $40 million donation from the u niversity’s long-time partner, the Duke Endowment. In addition, M oores vil le-bas ed Lowe’s is planning to launch a retail management program at the school while Charlotte ' s Atrium Healt h is collaborating with Wake Forest Univer sity to provide J ohnson C. S mith with a pre-med track.

As a part of it s mission to “improve lives and build a stronger community,” the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library contributed $8 million of funds from the F ederal Comm u nication s C omm ission ’s Emergency Connectivity Fund and plans to use it to provide 20,000 free devices to community residents. The l ibrar y system is also launching a program to provide free internet access to over 800 households in Charlott e 's Histor ic West End.

As of Monda y , the initiative received $196 million in donations .

Copyright 2021 WFAE

Gracyn Doctor