Hornets raise funds and bring awareness to support local economic mobility issue

The Charlotte Hornets hosted its “50/50 For Change Night” while its foundation led a conversation with corporate and community leaders.

Even with all of Charlotte’s growth and an elevated profile over the past several years, it’s dirty little secret about economic mobility has been exposed.

The 2014 Harvard study that ranked Charlotte last among 50 major U.S. cities in economic mobility for poor residents, coupled with the current affordable housing crisis, has given the city a black eye matched with local leaders trying to quickly come up with solutions.

In an effort to aid in the problem, the Charlotte Hornets and Bank of America hosted a 50/50 For Change Night. During the March 19 game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Hornets fans were encouraged to participate in a raffle with half of the proceeds going to The Hornets Foundation’s efforts to combat economic mobility. The raffle collected just under $9,000.

During pregame, Hornets players wore shirts with a “50 out of 50” message to bring awareness to the issue.

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Hornets players Miles Bridges (left) and Devonte’ Graham with Myers Park High School students — Tyrese Gwinn, Caleb Lee and Terrence Johnson — before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 19, 2019. Photo credit: Qcitymetro

Earlier that day, the Hornets hosted a panel that included leadership from Bank of America, United Way of Central Carolinas and the Leading on Opportunity Council to explore economic challenges for poor residents. In the audience, nearly 50 community and corporate leaders, teachers and students.

Among the crowd was West Charlotte High School teacher Merisha Leak. During the Q&A session, Leak added insight about the challenges some teachers are facing as they manage classrooms filled with students impacted by poverty. She said it led to her coaching new teachers because she recognized that the extra layer of support made a positive difference.

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West Charlotte High School teacher Merisha Leak was among nearly 50 people who attended a conversation on economic mobility hosted by the Charlotte Hornets. Photo credit: Qcitymetro

“It’s hard work but it’s heart work,” she said.


Kallan Louis is a writer and consultant for qcitymetro.com. He does a lot, but never feels like he’s doing enough. His life can be described as a Venn Diagram: News media, Black culture and sports. He’s always on TV, but rarely seen.

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