‘Together, we will face this crisis’: Fund to help those in Charlotte impacted by coronavirus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A community-wide fund announced Monday will help those affected by the coronavirus crisis in Charlotte.

LendingTree announced it is donating $1 million to the “COVID-19 Response Fund,” which is overseen by Foundation For the Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas.

“There is no way of knowing the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s important we act now so that assistance is available when it’s needed most,” said Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree. “The COVID-19 Response Fund will empower our community to aid key organizations responding to the unforeseen challenges and needs that result from this crisis, from human services to health care to economic assistance and more. We all have an important role to play, and LendingTree is committed to helping our community during this unprecedented time of need.”

Mayor Vi Lyles announced the City of Charlotte will match the $1 million gift with $1 million in public money.

“Charlotte has always had robust private-sector support, particularly in times of crisis, which is why it is important for the city to respond to Doug Lebda and LendingTree’s lead gift of $1 million,” Lyles said. “We will commit to matching Doug’s gift and challenging the community with a $1 million commitment. We also know that our efforts are amplified through public-private partnerships, and together, we will face this crisis.”

Grants from the fund will be awarded by an advisory group of community members and will go to any agency that meets certain criteria. Details about the grants will be released as fundraising continues.

“Under the leadership of Doug Lebda, LendingTree is setting the example the rest of our community needs to follow,” said United Way of Central Carolinas President and CEO Laura Yates Clark. “When our community faces a crisis, we’ve shown in the past we can come together and tackle it. I’m proud of the way the private and public sectors have immediately responded.”

“The leadership and dedication to this community displayed by Doug Lebda and LendingTree is exemplary,” said Foundation For The Carolinas President and CEO Michael Marsicano. “This was not a crisis any of us could have imagined just a few months ago. It’s a testament to the strength of this community and our corporate leadership that we are responding so quickly.”

The money will go to nonprofits so they can help many people who are out of work, missing paychecks and late on rent. Local nonprofits who spoke to Channel 9 said they are already feeling a strain to deal with the demand as the need increases with a tightening economy.

“Many of these families may lose their jobs,” Pedro Perez from Charlotte Family Housing said. “They’re still going to have to pay rent. They’re still going to have to buy food.”

Charlotte Family Housing is working on an outreach program to make local landlords aware of the assistance for families in need. Anyone can donate to the fund and those involved with it hope Charlotte companies will come forward and donate.

Here’s how you can donate:

March 17 Update: The fund has more than $5 million

Other donors:

  • Howard R. Levine Foundation donated $1 million
  • Truist donated $1 million
  • Mecklenburg County donated $1.3 million