By 2012, the Renaissance West Community Initiative was born to create a collaborative community in West Charlotte that took a holistic approach to address the economic, education and health and wellness needs of its residents. The idea was clear: more stability at home means greater opportunities and access to economic mobility.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, many communities in West Charlotte had become known for crime and a lack of quality affordable housing. To address the problem, the Charlotte Housing Authority received a grant to revitalize the Boulevard Homes public housing site, central to the West Charlotte community.
Renaissance West was named a Bank of America Neighborhood Builder® in 2016. As a Neighborhood Builder award recipient, Renaissance West received $200,000 in flexible grant funding and leadership development and training for CEO Mack McDonald and Senior Associate Program Officer Jackie Tynan. The training gave the team a fresh perspective on how to approach the organization and implement initiatives to support long-term solutions for the community.
“One of the things I learned through the Neighborhood Builders leadership development and training is to think of nonprofits as investments. The return on that investment is stronger and healthier families, more vibrant neighborhoods and better quality of life,” said McDonald, who also noted that the award had been a catalyst for additional investment from the Charlotte community. “The Neighborhood Builders award has helped open doors for us with partners and other funders.”
Renaissance West serves more than 1,300 residents through 334 mixed-income housing units. The organization does more than put a roof over its residents’ heads; Renaissance West also provides career advancement opportunities, educational programs, family strengthening activities and housing and programs for seniors. For example, the Howard Levine Child Development Center and Renaissance West STEAM Academy are working with and providing support to children in the community from birth through eighth grade. Additionally, adults in the community have access to GED classes, computer and financial literacy programs, and more. The initiatives help drive the mission of holistic community redevelopment.
Since 2004, Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders program has helped advance sustainable communities by investing more than $220 million in 49 communities — partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders, and counting.
Learn more about how the Neighborhood Builders program helps nonprofit partners advance economic mobility and supports skills development for nonprofit leaders, powering nonprofits like Renaissance West to build thriving communities.
Originally published 11/14/2018