Bill Norton, [email protected]
704.371.6206 direct; 704.763.6059 mobile
United Way Wins Siemer Grant to Help Homeless Children in School;
$600,000 in New Funding Over Three Years with United Way Match
News Coincides with United Way’s Second-Year Data Release for
Collective Impact Initiative to Raise Graduation Rates for At-Risk Children
Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 3, 2014 – United Way of Central Carolinas has won a matching grant
from the Siemer Institute for Family Stability – $300,000 over three years, matched with
$300,000 in funding from United Way, for a total of $600,000 in new funding.
The funds will go to Charlotte Family Housing and the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson –
$100,000 annually to each agency, starting this month – to help families with school-age children
who are on the verge of homelessness. The grant brings together United Way’s two most
significant initiatives: one Collective Impact program to raise graduation rates for at-risk
children, and the other aimed at shortening and preventing homelessness.
Ada Jenkins Center and Charlotte Family Housing were selected by United Way as the agencies
best-positioned to address both initiatives concurrently. The funds will enable each agency to
add a case manager equipped to prevent homelessness and simultaneously help families address
the academic challenges that instability places on children.
The latest data shows there are more than 4,100 children attending Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
who are homeless, including those living in motels or doubled up with relatives.
“When we were first contacted by the Siemer Family Foundation, I was amazed at the potential
for a perfect fit with our two Collective Impact initiatives,” said Jane McIntyre, United Way’s
executive director. “This is the first Siemer grant awarded in the state of North Carolina, which is
a tremendous endorsement of this United Way’s strategic direction.”
United Way’s board of directors authorized the match to come from its reserve fund, so the grant
is on top of agency funding generated by United Way donors through the annual campaign. Thus,
this $200,000 per year, plus the $500,000 agency funding increase that United Way announced
in June, amounts to a $700,000 infusion of new funds for local agencies this year.
United Way’s overall agency funding in the current fiscal year is now $17.2 million.
Graduation Rate Initiative Unveils Second-Year Data
The grant news was announced today in conjunction with the release of second-year data, as
compiled by UNC Charlotte’s Institute for Social Capital, in United Way’s 10-year initiative to
help raise graduation rates for at-risk children.
301 South Brevard Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
 704-372-7170 
Based on results from 16 agencies participating in the Collective Impact program, the new data
shows how students have improved after receiving United Way agency services, compared to
where they were before entering that particular program:
84.7% remained stable or improved in math
82.3% remained stable or improved in reading
80.4% experienced fewer or the same number of suspensions
52.9% experienced fewer or the same number of absences
“For our most vulnerable students, achieving stability is a significant result,” said Victoria
Manning, United Way’s director of community investment. “The achievement gap between the
general population and our at-risk students widens as a child gets older, so helping stabilize these
children is a sign of progress. It’s a great platform to build upon, and we believe that subsequent
years will demonstrate additional academic gains.”
A report on the second-year data is available on the United Way homepage. Other big-picture
United Way agencies are reaching the children most in need of support – those in the
highest-poverty neighborhoods, attending the lowest-performing schools, and facing the
greatest income-disparity gap.
Most of the children are enrolled in a single Collective Impact agency program.
Multi-program participants (a child enrolled in two or more Collective Impact programs)
have lower test scores than the collective group, but showed more improvement and
growth on test scores than the collective.
Areas of concern include a high rate of chronic absenteeism. Additionally, 24 percent of
students had been suspended at least once.
“Obtaining strong data can be challenging, but it is critical in determining how to improve how
we serve children,” said Karen Calder, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte.
“That’s the best part of United Way’s leadership, not only in analyzing the data, but bringing us
all to the table where we can learn and share best-practices from one another.
“For example, it’s alarming to see the number of student absences, and that goes back to the fact
that for many of these children, their families are dealing with extreme challenges that other
students never have to face,” she added. “So reducing absenteeism is not a quick fix, but our 16
agencies will certainly lean on each other to share what’s working best.”
Former UNC Charlotte Dean of Education to Help Agencies
Dr. Mary Lynne Calhoun, who retired as dean of the College of Education at UNC Charlotte last
year, and who served on United Way’s board from 2010-14, will act as an expert adviser to
United Way in helping the agencies utilize the data effectively.
“Going forward, our Collective Impact reports will grow richer each year, with new information on
high school completion rates, promotion to the next grade, and report card grades,” said Calhoun.
“Collective Impact intensifies the power of United Way donations by moving from the isolated
impact of the individual agencies, to the shared impact of working toward a unified goal. This is
sophisticated work, which is what’s necessary to move the needle on complex issues.”
The Siemer grant is the third six-figure grant that United Way has received for its graduation
initiative, and the first brought in from outside the region. The program was launched in
January 2012 with $200,000 in seed funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and in March
2014, United Way won a $150,000 grant from the Sisters of Mercy Foundation to fund data
collection and analysis in Mecklenburg County, as well as expand it into Union County.
United Way is working on expanding the program into both Union and Cabarrus counties now.
New data on United Way’s Collective Impact work to reduce homelessness was also released
last month. More detail about that initiative can be found here on United Way’s website.
About United Way of Central Carolinas
United Way of Central Carolinas focuses on three vital areas: Children & Youth; Housing & Financial Stability; and
Health & Mental Health. Through 82 health and human service agencies, United Way creates lasting change for
those most in need, working in Anson, Cabarrus, Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Mooresville/Lake Norman and Union.
To get help, call United Way’s 211 hotline, or to learn how you can help, visit