Navigating students to upward mobility

Navigating students to upward mobility

When the coronavirus crisis hit Charlotte, the United Way of Central Carolinas and Foundation For The Carolinas partnered to launch the COVID-19 Response Fund.

The fund supports a range of nonprofits, assisting people most badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, this fund will help not just those who get sick, but also those who are economically impacted, such as families of students who cannot afford educational materials and supplies needed for remote learning.

One of the grant recipients was GenOne, which received $5,700 to provide Wi-Fi hot spots for families who do not have internet access.

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GenOne helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds navigate to and through college with resources such as mentorship, peer support, academic enrichment and college advising.

“We are also using the funds to purchase virtual software to better serve our scholars’ college preparation and advising needs virtually since it is unlikely, we will be able to operate in the schools like normal,” said Ian Joyce, executive director of GenOne.

Like many nonprofits, GenOne is forced to adjust its programming operations due to the pandemic.

“We are going to have to change our operating model quite drastically in this first year especially, given that we can’t put 40 students on an activity bus for our weekend trips or hold 30 students in a classroom during an after school club and maintain social distance,” Joyce said.

Joyce added that while his organization has lost two large grant funders, individual donors have stepped up to support their mission.

“A person supporting college access organizations like GenOne means that students from low-income backgrounds quadruple their chances at upward mobility,” he said.

GenOne is one of many organizations working to improve the quality of education.

Since 1997, in partnership with Classroom Central and Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the WSOC-TV 9 School Tools program has collected school supplies, which are then distributed free to students in grades K-12.

For many families, the needs of the home sometimes outweigh needs at school. When a family must choose between buying enough food for the evening dinner or paying the power bill, the pressure of purchasing school supplies is an added expense that families can’t afford.

A 9 School Tools financial donation program is in place with different levels of giving that will support the needs of Classroom Central . Donors can equate their monetary donation to what can be supplied by Classroom Central.

Here are some of the giving levels:

  • A donation of $9 will help provide homework supplies for students.
  • A donation of $25 will help fill a student’s backpack with school supplies.
  • A donation of $50 will supply a teacher with essential school items.
  • A donation of $100 will supply an entire class with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) kits.

Learn more about 9 School Tools at