LendingTree Foundation announces inaugural LendaHand Alliance cohort

Do Greater Charlotte, West Side Community Land Trust among the 10 participating Charlotte-based nonprofits.

LendingTree Foundation is looking to transform the corporate giving model with the launch of its signature philanthropy program, the LendaHand Alliance.

Black-led nonprofits Do Greater Charlotte and West Side Community Land Trust are among 10 Charlotte-based organizations announced Tuesday as the inaugural cohort.  

Powered by a $3.75 million infusion from the foundation, selected nonprofits each will receive $375,000 — divided as $125,000 over three years — to invest in homeownership, upward mobility, financial wellness, and entrepreneurship and innovation. In addition, cohort members will meet quarterly to foster collaboration and gain access to the foundation’s business expertise and social capital.

In 2012, online lending marketplace LendingTree began giving employees $200 during the holiday season to donate directly to those in need. The LendaHand Alliance is an extension of this idea, according to LendingTree’s founder and CEO, Doug Lebda.

“Our goal is for the Foundation to serve as the ‘angel funders’ of the nonprofit community by empowering emerging, founder-led nonprofits, as well as a few larger organizations that pivoted their philanthropy model to accommodate evolving needs post-pandemic,” April Whitlock, executive director of the LendingTree Foundation, said in a statement.

William McNeely, a west Charlotte native whose corporate background includes business and marketing development at Apple, launched Do Greater Charlotte with a mobile technology truck that traveled into underserved communities to teach entrepreneurship and creative classes to kids. 

Earlier this year, he set out to create a permanent co-working and co-learning space for youth in west Charlotte called the CRTV (pronounced “creative”) Lab. After completion of the nearly 8,000-square-foot renovation of Shiloh Institutional Baptist Church’s basement, the converted space in Charlotte’s Camp Greene neighborhood will house the CRTV lab, a local coffee shop, a maker space, production studios and several event spaces. It will also be home to Do Greater Charlotte’s Start UpWard Academy, a design and entrepreneurial training center launching in the fall.

“We’re looking at about $800,000 to totally complete the entire renovation, so we’re probably at about 60% to 65% of that goal right now with the LendingTree investment,” McNeely said. “We hope that it will kickstart the final leg of the process to push us over the finish line.”

CRTV Lab rendering. Courtesy of Do Greater Charlotte

West Side Community Land Trust plans to use the funds as working capital that supports its land acquisition and development efforts. During the first year of the cohort program, the land trust said funds will be allocated to its Gilbert St. House Move project. In May, the nonprofit announced that three homes would be moved from other Charlotte neighborhoods to vacant lots on Gilbert Street in Lincoln Heights.

Related: West Side land trust will add three affordable homes off Beatties Ford Road

West Side Community Land Trust Executive Director Charise Blackmon at groundbreaking event for three “permanently affordable” homes in the Historic West End. Photo: QCity Metro

Other members of the 2021-23 LendaHand Alliance cohort include ArtPop Street Gallery; Charlotte Is Creative; Charlotte Rescue Mission; Common Wealth Charlotte; Digi-Bridge; Dottie Rose Foundation; Freedom Communities; and The Relatives.

See full details about their projects here.


Katrina Louis
Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a news tip? Email her at katrinalouis@qcitymetro.com.

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