The Mayor’s Racial Initiative is moving forward by addressing four key areas.
- Bridging the digital divide
- Investing in the six corridors
- Transforming JCSU into a career-focused HBCU
- Advancing more Black leaders and leaders of color in individual corporations
Malcomb Coley and Michael Lamach will lead the initiative. Each key area will be led by an organization that correlates most with the key area’s goal.
The initiative has a funding goal of $250 million, $150 million is anticipated to come from private funding and $100 million will be publicly funded.
Public and private dollars contributed to the initiative will remain separate.
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Previously, the role of overseeing funds was held by Kimberly Henderson until she resigned from the position amid controversy surrounding her previous role.
Leads of the initiative said that the Executive Director role would no longer be needed. The entire initiative will handle fund management, with the leader of each priority area overseeing the allocated funds.
The overall priority of the initiative is to push Black and Brown people into “leadership roles,” according to Chairman Coley.
Some progress has already been made within a few of the initiative’s areas.
For example, the digital divide focus has donated 10,000 laptops, courtesy of Bank of America, to thousands of CMS families in the Charlotte region. Executive Director of Digital Charlotte Bruce Clark said the majority of Charlotte could have digital equity within five years.
When it comes to the initiative’s focus on the professional field, President and CEO of CLT Alliance Janet LeBar said that one of the main goals is to create a “road to hire” that helps Charlotte’s university graduates have an easier time finding work after college.
LeBar will also lead the “Employer Commitment” focus area to “engage regional business in equity.”
Corridors of Opportunity
Charlotte’s six key corridors, a few of which are in the historic west end, are a key component of the initiative. According to City Manager Marcus Jones, one of the initiative leaders, housing, transportation, and job opportunity are among the top priorities.
Johnson C. Smith University
JCSU President Clarence Armbrister wants to transform Charlotte’s only Black college into a “premier professional liberal arts HBCU.” Through working with the initiative, Armbrister aims to achieve JCSU’s “Golden Blueprint,” which includes improving academic excellence, strong professional outcomes such as paid internships, a pathway into and out of college, and developing retention.
Ensuring that a lack of personal or family wealth does not disqualify students from pursuing their education is also a major key.