Leading on Opportunity Announces the Launch of the North Mecklenburg Economic Mobility Collaborative

Uniting for Change in North Mecklenburg County

Community leaders in Davidson, Cornelius, and Huntersville unite for transformative change.

Updated February 13, 2020
By Loán C. Lake, Communications Director | January 31, 2020


In a standing room only space at the town hall in Cornelius, North Carolina, over 200 residents from North Mecklenburg County convened for the launch of the North Mecklenburg Economic Mobility Collaborative (NMEMC). The initiative, which began in January 2018, consists of nonprofit professionals, faith and community leaders, and engaged citizens from the cities of Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville. Some of the participating institutions include Davidson College, Caterpillar Industries, Ada Jenkins Center, the Smithville Coalition, Davidson United Methodist Church, United Way of Central Carolinas, and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. NMEMC’s mission and vision is to “break barriers, create opportunities and empower all people to create a unified community where everyone can thrive.” NMEMC has come together to address: 1) affordable housing; 2) affordable health care; 3) adequate transportation; 4) availability of quality childcare; 5) local living wage opportunities, job training, and apprenticeships; 6) cradle-to-grave education.

The NMEMC steering committee intends to build a community-centric framework where those who were closest to the problem could be an integral part of the solution. Prior to the launch, our Community Impact Director Don Thomas shared his insights with members of NMEMC on the nuances of implementing a systems change framework and the committee gained a deeper understanding of the Leading on Opportunity Task Force report’s recommendations for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The NMEMC will identify ways it can build capacity to meet the specific needs of the residents of these three, very different cities, and identify a way forward that would create a fair, just, and equitable community for everyone.

“The impact of this collaboration between three distinct cities will be profound. Each region in Charlotte-Mecklenburg has different populations with varying needs. Therefore, by building capacity based on the diverse perspectives of each set of neighborhoods, we can yield a collective impact that brings the entire county together for transformative change," Thomas said.

Social justice will look different for each section of the county, but collaboration allows residents to build trust which leads to cooperation that helps to bring about the desired result. “We don’t lack resources or opportunity. We lack a collective vision on which we can move,” Thomas also said.

The formation of this collaboration brings us one step closer to creating the type of community in which each resident has a fair chance at a quality life.

Listen to Don Thomas’ remarks.

The impact of this collaborative will be profound!
Don Thomas, Community Impact Director at Leading on Opportunity