Game-Changing: Mecklenburg County leaders provide $99 million in COVID-19 funds

CHARLOTTE — In a presentation that felt like an awards ceremony, Mecklenburg County leaders presented 75 community groups and nonprofits with more than $99 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The county opened applications for the COVID-19 relief funding in October and received more than $450 million in proposals. The community groups who received funding say the funds are game changers.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kendal Carrick was hard at work making candles, but her real passion is baking.

“My grandma taught me about it,” she said.

She’s one of 10 employees at Cakeable.

The Oakhurst nonprofit hires people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and sells baked goods throughout the community.

“This is my dream, actually,” she said. “I want to be a baker one day, to have my own cafe one day.”

Her dream to have her own cafe is coming true. The county is giving Cakeable $810,000. The funds will allow the nonprofit to open a storefront in Uptown and hire people from its 40-person wait list.

“They remind me every day to see people, to see a person, by their abilities first,” owner Renee Ratcliffe said. “These students are so capable.”

The new Cakeable location will be near the old Rock Bottom Brewery at 401 North Tryon St. It is expected to open in late spring.

“We were stunned and were just so excited,” Ratcliffe said. “We made a request and we hoped we would get a little of our request and then we found out we were funded in full.”

Another nonprofit receiving funding is Freedom Fighting Missionaries. Executive Director Kenny Robinson’s nonprofit helps formerly incarcerated people transition back into society. The $1.3 million his nonprofit is receiving will help build 16 affordable housing townhomes.

“Historic. (This) has never happened before in the history of Mecklenburg County,” Robinson said.

Robinson says he received an email on a Saturday morning notifying him of the approval in funding.

“I am used to getting denied so I am looking for the Keep swinging at them, Kenny-type of email,” he said. “I was so ecstatic.”

Belmont neighborhood nonprofit, The Bulb, is receiving $919,000. The Bulb plans to work with Freshlist to provide fresh food boxes to residents in east and west Charlotte.

“Our motto is, ‘Take what you need. Give what you can,’” said Dulce Jarquin, who is with The Bulb.

The food is sourced from local farms and donated by Trader Joe’s.

“We are really excited to show Charlotte what we can do,” said Erin Bradley, who is with Freshlist.

The nonprofits all have different approaches, but they are connected in their mission, which is to make Mecklenburg County a better place. The COVID-19 relief funding helps that happen.

“It can bring people together and make happiness,” Carrick said.

Projects approved by the board are:

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

  • CrossRoads Corp. for Affordable Housing & Comm. Dev. Inc., $144,900
  • Town of Davidson, Comprehensive Housing Affordability Program, $1,000,000
  • Dominium, Creekridge On The Park, $5,000,000
  • DreamKey Partners, Johnston Oehler Seniors, $2,750,000
  • DreamKey Partners, Easter’s Home at Caldwell, $2,500,000
  • Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, Hope Springs Infrastructure, $1,737,249
  • Laurel Street Residential, LLC, Mount Moriah Seniors, $6,000,000
  • NHP Foundation, LaSalle at Lincoln Heights, $1,100,000
  • Urban Trends Real Estate Inc., Lakeview Apartments, $1,600,000
  • West Side CLT, West Side Community Land Trust, $650,000
  • Department of Community Support Services, Coordinated Entry Expansion, $612,349
  • Department of Criminal Justice Services, Vendor Housing Expansion, $1,458,287
  • Freedom Fighting Missionaries Inc., Second Chance Homeless to Housing, $1,250,000
  • Coalicion Latinoamericana, Multisector Response Network for Humanitarian Relief, $2,000,000
  • County Manager’s Office, West Charlotte Homes, $6,000,000
  • Matthews Help Center, $350,000
  • Salvation Army, Expansion of Center of Hope Shelter, $3,156,389
  • Pineville Neighbors Place, Better at Home, Part 2, $2 300,000
  • Roof Above, Expansion and Enhancement of Day Services Center, $710,000
  • Veterans Bridge Home, Mecklenburg County American Rescue Plan Act ‐ VBH Housing Sustainability Program, $1,013,200

Behavioral Health and Health Equity

  • Hope Haven Inc., Increasing Access to Services for Substance Use Disorder for Underserved Populations, $604,167
  • HopeWay, Mental Health Equity: Providing Evidence Based Psychiatric Care in Community Clinics, $800,000
  • On Eagles Wings, OEW ARPA Safe House with comprehensive services, $865,400
  • Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center, Improving Outcomes for High-Risk Youth, $437,865
  • ProCure Therapeutic Agency, Inc., Expanding Access to Community‐Based Mental and Behavioral Health
  • Services, $1,500,000
  • Services, $1,500,000
  • Safe House Project, Equitable Access to Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking, $503,439
  • Time Out Youth, Protecting the Mental Health of LGBTQ Youth in Mecklenburg County, $315,000
  • UMAR, Van Replacement, $283,161
  • Ada Jenkins Families and Careers Development Center, Sustaining a Healthy Lifestyle, $363,746
  • The Bulb Gallery, Promoting Equity in Locally Grown Foods, $919,432
  • Carolina Farm Trust, Local Foods Production and Distribution Center, $3,000,000
  • Hearts and Hands Food Pantry, Food Security Initiative, $666,700
  • LMC Children Services, Meals On‐The‐Go, $423,294
  • Loaves and Fishes, NourishMeck‐A Hunger Hub for Hope, $2,000,000
  • County Manager’s Office, West Blvd Food Cooperative, $250,000
  • Department of Social Services, Food Insecurity, $989,000
  • C. W. Williams Community Health Center, Inc. (CWWCHC), $2,052,195
  • Camino Community Development Corporation, Inc., Access to Bilingual Dental Care, $4,683,215
  • Charlotte Community Health Clinic, Inc., $3,810,415
  • Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group, Providing Access to Trans Health (PATH), $1,168,502
  • Department of Community Support Services, Multi‐Interdisciplinary Outreach Team, $650,000
  • Johnson C. Smith University, Community Outreach‐Black Birthing Professions, $943,000
  • Department of Public Health, The Way Forward Community Violence Prevention Plan Implementation, $3,260,500
  • Department of Public Health, Pediatric Dental Clinic, $1,453,904
  • Department of Public Health, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Services, $845,772
  • Village HeartBeat, Inc., $750,000
  • Vision To Learn, Eye Exams and Prescription Glasses Provided Aboard New Mobile Vision Clinic, $708,114

Childcare and Early Childhood Development

  • Castle’s Daycare Academy, $450,000
  • Center For Community Transitions, Families Doing Time, $300,000
  • Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, Early Learning Center, $3,000,000
  • Freedom School Partners, 2023‐2024 Freedom School Summer Program, $260,000
  • Greater Enrichment Program, Transportation, $130,000
  • Mount Carmel Baptist Church, Youth Academic Enrichment Program, $415,000
  • POP’s Passion, $400,000
  • Save Our Children Movement Inc., KEFA Tutoring and Mentoring Academy, $782,320
  • Department of Social Services Early Childhood System Building, $706,000
  • StriveCLT, Strive to Thrive, $325,536
  • YMCA of Greater Charlotte, Parents as Teachers, $250,000
  • Parks, Environment and Infrastructure
  • Town of Davidson, Baccalaureate School Gymnasium Renovation, $2,000,000
  • Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, Irwin Creek Stream Enhancement Project at the Old City Landfill, $2,350,000
  • Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, Ambient Air Monitoring Program, $420,000
  • Department of Park and Recreation, Inclusive and Accessible Playgrounds with Path of Travel, $2,960,000

Workforce and Economic Development

  • Academy of Goal Achievers, Goal Achievers Mentor Program, $443,925
  • Angels and Sparrows Community Table and Resource Center, Pathway Program Enhancements, $395,055
  • Cakeable Charlotte, Inc., Cakeable Vocational Training and Café, $810,500
  • Charlotte Is Creative, Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative, $384,750
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce, Healthcare Workforce Development, $600,000
  • Mecklenburg County Emergency Medical Services, $1,200,000
  • Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte, $1,500,000
  • Per Scholas, IT Training, $400,000
  • Public Library, Digital Divide, $2,917,635
  • The ROC Charlotte, Inc., $900,000
  • She Built This City, Workforce Development, $540,413
  • Smart Girls HQ LLC., Smart Girls Squad STEM Program, $435,800
  • Department of Public Information, Marketing of ARPA Spending, $500,000
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