Mark your calendars for November 30, when people around the world will unite forces to celebrate Giving Tuesday. This internationally recognized holiday and movement, created in 2012, began as a day to encourage people to simply do good. The nonprofit GivingTuesday focuses on encouraging radical generosity and driving home the idea that everyone has something to give through its international movement.
In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, Queen City Nerve has compiled a list of local nonprofits that readers can support through giving of time, finances and more. Many of which we’ve covered in recent months, so look for hyperlinks if you’re interested in learning more.
If you’re looking for a way to make a local impact this holiday season, check out some Charlotte-based organizations working tirelessly to make the Queen City a better place for all. Use this list as a starting point to explore places to volunteer with your family over the holidays, challenge your corporation to make an end-of-the-year gift, or give a donation in memory of a loved one this year.
Among its other services, Charlotte’s Promise Resource Network (PRN) now supports people experiencing mental health distress or substance use challenges in a different way than traditional hospitalization or hotlines. The network is fully staffed by people who have experienced mental illness, psychiatric hospitalizations, homelessness, incarceration and/or substance use themselves.
In addition to wellness classes, educational programs, a warm-line fielding calls 24/7, and a plethora of social justice initiatives, PRN opened Retreat @ The Plaza in August 2021 as a free, voluntary alternative to hospitalization for those in acute mental health distress. Guests can choose to spend up to 10 days at the respite house while receiving 24/7 one-on-one peer support on top of the classes and supports offered by PRN’s office located next door.
Home Again Foundation (HAF) is looking to tackle Mecklenburg County’s affordable housing crisis with plans to build 300 homes housing over 500 people experiencing homelessness or at risk of finding themselves homeless. HAF’s community plans include resources like 24-hour child-care services, a community garden, a fitness center and more. At this time, they have built a pilot with eight single family homes.
Named in memory of Jen Pagani, the Go Jen Go Foundation provides over $135,000 in financial support each year to patients fighting breast cancer in the greater Charlotte area. Continuing Jen’s generous legacy, the organization provides financial assistance so that cancer fighters can focus on their fight, not worrying about paying rent, buying gas to get to treatments or purchasing Christmas gifts for their children.
Throughout her seven-year battle, Pagani met countless other cancer patients in need of support, and the foundation continues to support them just as she did.
Tesfa Ethiopia takes a holistic approach to supporting children’s education in Ethiopia, run by folks now living in Charlotte who have direct ties to the country. In addition to fundraising for school tuition, uniforms, libraries, school supplies and necessities like nutrition and personal protection against COVID-19 to support students in Ethiopia, the organization works with Ethiopian and Eritrean students living in Charlotte as well.
Tesfa Ethiopia is intentional in bolstering the Ethiopian communities they work with by using funds raised to hire local professionals to produce whatever is needed for the students in their own community. For example, local tailors sew school uniforms and local contractors build libraries.
The KnowCLT app, developed in partnership with the Levine Museum of the New South, allows residents to engage with the former Black neighborhood of Brooklyn in the heart of uptown. The app uses augmented reality to allow users to match archive photos of important cultural landmarks of this once-thriving neighborhood with the current day parks and buildings that took their place. The team behind the app became a nonprofit in early 2020 and have plenty of other similar projects with community impact in the works as we speak.
Pat’s Place is a safe space with holistic supports for children who have experienced abuse involving sexual abuse, severe physical injuries, life-threatening neglect, human trafficking or witnessing serious domestic violence or homicides. Often children who experience these traumatic events must repeat their story several times to several different agencies, which can add to their trauma.
Pat’s Place offers all the services a child would need including medical examinations, forensic interviewing, advocacy support and education in one safe location at no cost to the family. Pat’s Place also educates adults on recognizing and reporting child abuse, as well as other programs aimed at keeping children safe and cared for.
This organization is working to reimagine criminal justice in Charlotte and support those with a history of incarceration, also known as justice-involved individuals. The Center for Community Transitions (CCT) provides services for people reentering society that include family support groups, job-readiness training and a residential facility for women transitioning out of incarceration. CCT’s Center for Women houses 30 women as they finish out the final years of their prison sentences while working or continuing their education.
Refugee Support Services (RSS) steps in to help newly arrived refugees make Charlotte their home. RSS helps meet physical needs of housing and food as well as emotional and cultural needs with educational programs. In addition, RSS seeks to enrich the Charlotte community by facilitating intercultural relationships in which a Charlotte family is paired with a family of recent refugees to provide mutual friendship and support transitioning to life in the U.S.
Bright Blessings brings birthday celebrations to kids experiencing homelessness or poverty who may not otherwise have a cake or presents. As the organization has grown, they have expanded to offer “Bless-A-Baby” baskets for expecting mothers living in shelters, domestic violence refuges and transitional housing. In addition, Bright Blessings distributes new books to students of all ages and provides care packages of hygiene items and stuffed animals to children in transient living situations.
The Carolina Raptor Center provides educational programs, environmental stewardship and rehabilitates injured or orphaned birds of prey. The center impacts over 27,000 students per year in formal educational programs, but many more visitors experience the wonder of dozens of bird species on-site in their .75 mile nature walk dotted with bird enclosures, which is currently being reconstructed in light of the organization’s recent move to the Quest educational facility at Latta Nature Preserve. Their raptor medical center treats and rehabilitates raptors, allowing nearly 70% of their patients to be released back into the wild.