Photo: QCity Metro
Photo: Qcitymetro

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today that it will provide $700,000 to fund nine projects aimed at helping residents of the Historic West End play a greater role in shaping the rapidly gentrifying area located five minutes west of Uptown.

Projects range from boosting small business and property development to a Lakewood Park beautification plan to a community-based journalism initiative with Qcitymetro.  Other programs include continued events in the Five Points area, an economic development study of the Beatties Ford Road and Lasalle Street intersection, as well as support for the West Side Council of Elders and neighborhood leadership training.

“As our city moves forward, long-term success hinges on ensuring all neighborhoods and residents can participate in and benefit from our region’s progress,” said Charles Thomas, the Knight Foundation’s Charlotte program director. “These nine projects will do that for the Historic West End, help it secure its spot as an inclusive and thriving residential, commercial and university corridor.”

Qcitymetro Founder and Publisher Glenn Burkins said the Knight Foundation’s support helps validate and expand the online news outlet’s efforts to provide targeted news relevant to Charlotte’s African American community and other interested readers.

“We are excited to play a role in gathering and documenting residents’ input about the changes in their community as well as helping them remain knowledgeable and involved in what’s happening,” said Burkins.

Thomas of the Knight Foundation’s Charlotte office noted in his blog that there’s a lot of excitement about the Queen City’s bustling growth with lots of construction and reports of 60 new people arriving each day. But at the same time, residents of historic and underserved neighborhoods along Center City’s fringes fear being priced out of their homes with no voice in the decision-making process.

“Charlotte is at a crossroads, facing tough decisions that require input from grassroots leaders, nonprofits and private businesses alike. To ensure our city’s growth supports all Charlotteans, it’s critical that residents have access to the tools and resources necessary to guide public and private investment to foster neighborhoods of high opportunity,” noted Thomas.

Award recipients

Since 2015, the Knight Foundation has invested more than $5 million in West Charlotte. The most recent nine projects selected for funding are:

  • Historic West End Partners ($160,000) – Support Historic West End Partners hiring full-time staff, providing programs to develop small businesses and elevating the brand of the Historic West End.
  • West Side Community Land Trust ($125,000) – Increase the capacity and presence of the West Side Community Land Trust by supporting full-time staff and the acquisition and development of several properties.
  • GlennOaks Media ($125,000) – Engage residents in community-based journalism with Qcitymetro, which will host a series of events to determine residents’ news needs and employ a reporter to cover issues affecting the neighborhood.
  • The City of Charlotte ($100,000) – Build on engagement around Charlotte’s Aging In Place Program and to help connect residents with existing resources to improve their quality of life.
  • League of Creative Interventionists ($75,000) – Support the 2019 fellowship program to recruit four fellows to engage and train Historic West End residents and youth in beautifying, activating and programming for Lakewood Park.
  • Five Points Community Collaborative ($46,700) – Support programming and events that advance neighborhood engagement and collaboration among the three neighborhoods at Five Points at Beatties Ford Road and Rozzelles Ferry Road.
  • Northwest Corridor Council of Elders ($32,000) – Advance the capacity of the Council of Elders—a gathering of West Side community leaders—to host community convening and events that foster a shared vision and goals for Historic West End residents.
  • City of Charlotte ($14,865) – Support a business and economic development study of the intersection of Beatties Ford Road and Lasalle Street with a focus on findings that can inform and support resident engagement.
  • United Way of Central Carolinas ($14,000) – Train and work with leaders from neighborhood organizations through Duke University’s Nonprofit Certificate Management Program.