The Greater Enrichment Program held its annual fundraiser Wednesday,
attracting a large crowd to the Crown Plaza hotel in uptown Charlotte.

If you’re unfamiliar with Greater Enrichment, it’s certainly a program worth getting to know.

34 years ago by a young AME Zion preacher named George Battle, the
program today is one of the Qcity’s oldest nonprofits providing
afterschool enrichment for kids who come from
low-income homes.

Battle, now a bishop in the AME Zion Church who
presides over the North Eastern Episcopal District, said the Greater
Enrichment journey has been nothing short of amazing.

journey is always hard when you work with the poorest of the poor,” he
told after the event. “But God has bless us.”

launched the program in 1974, along with Adelaide Hunt, its first
director, shortly after he was called to pastor Gethsemane AME Zion
Church. Battle recalled that all about him he saw young children
roaming the streets after school and on weekends with nothing to do, so
he decided to get involved.

“These were kids like I was, “ Battle
said, “most of them coming from single-parent homes. We wanted to show
that we believed in them.”

Since its inception, Greater Enrichment has served more than 10,000 students.

Wednesday luncheon is the group’s only annual fundraiser, though
Battle said the program needs many more contributors so that it can
expand to accept more students. (It now serves CMS students in grades

The event’s keynote speaker, Richard “Stick” Williams,
president of the Duke Energy Foundation, said “hidden jewels” often go
undiscovered in poor neighborhoods because they are different. He used
the example of Dr. Ben Carson, the Detroit-born neurosurgeon who once
languished at the academic bottom of his fifth-grade class.

differences between success and failure, Williams told the audience,
often boils down to having an adult who takes an interest in a child
and sets high standards and expectations.

“There are many more jewels in low-income families,” he said, “just waiting to be discovered.”

To learn more, go to


(In the photo below, Bishop George Battle (r), offers a gift of appreciation to Richard “Stick” Williams, president of the Duke Energy Foundation and keynote speaker at the Greater Enrichment Program’s annual fundraiser luncheon, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009. Photo:

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