Celebrating Our 50 Inaugural Opportunity Champions

— It's going to take all of us to move Charlotte from 50 out of 50 in economic mobility. So we set a goal to build an Opportunity Movement that celebrates everyone's contributions.

On Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at Founders Hall, Leading on Opportunity honored 50 Inaugural Opportunity Champions. Held at the 2-year anniversary of the creation of Leading on Opportunity, nearly 500 people joined at Founders Hall focused on the theme: Connect, Convene, Empower. Through words and action these Opportunity Champions stepped in, going above and beyond to support implementation and align to 1 or more of our 21 community-inspired strategies within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force Report. Often without any public recognition, this group of distinguished leaders set the bar high for others in our community to invest in building a stronger equitable community for all children, youth and families.

The esteemed group consists of visionaries, faith leaders, elected officials, equity advocates, affordable housing experts, nonprofit executives - large and small - corporate social responsibility executives, government employees, philanthropists, neighborhood leaders and many more. Each individual and their organization addresses one or more of our five core areas of work: the impact of segregation, early care and education, college and career readiness, child and family stability, and social capital.

Council Co-Chairs James E. Ford and Andrea B. Smith, along with Executive Director Stephanie Cooper-Lewter and Council member Michael Marsicano, thanked the Inaugural Class of Opportunity Champions for their many contributions in their remarks. Collectively, our Opportunity Champions commitment and leadership serves as inspiration to others across Charlotte-Mecklenburg to step forward in bigger, bolder ways for our children, youth and families.

Read who we honored and learn more about their organizations (listed alphabetically):

• Bishop Claude R. Alexander, Jr., The Park Church and For Charlotte Board
• Derrik Anderson, Race Matters for Juvenile Justice

• Laura Clark, United Way of Central Carolinas
• Myra M. Clark, The Center for Community Transitions

• Malcomb D. Coley, Ernst & Young
• Carrie B. Cook, GreenLight Fund

• Floyd R. Davis, Jr., Community Link
• Jon Davis, Intentional MVMT

• Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont Community College
• Dena Diorio, Mecklenburg County Government

• Ric Elias, Red Ventures
• Dianne English, Community Building Initiative

• Danielle Frazier, Charlotte Works
• Don Gately, CrossRoads Corporation

• Carol Hardison, Crisis Assistance Ministry
• Nancy Hughes, Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and Meck Pre-K

• Chris Jackson, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
• Alvin C. Jacobs, Jr., Alvin C. Jacobs Jr. Photography

• Don Jonas, Care Ring
• Lee Keesler, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

• L. Jamall Kinard, Lakewood CLT
• Georgia Krueger, Ada Jenkins Center

• Mayor Vi Lyles, City of Charlotte
• John Martin, Young Black Leadership Alliance

• Wendy Mateo-Pascual, Crossways Consulting
• Hugh McColl, Falfurrias Capital Partners

• W. “Mack” McDonald, Renaissance West Community Initiative
• Nicole McKinney, Upstream North Carolina

• Mary Nell McPherson, Freedom School Partners Charlotte
• Senator Mujtaba Mohammed, Mujtaba A. Mohammed – NC Senate

• Bart Noonan, West Blvd Ministry
• Karen Parker, Family Justice Center and Safe Alliance

• MC Belk Pilon, John M. Belk Endowment
• Chief Kerr Putney, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

• Aaron Randolph, Carolina Youth Coalition
• Ana Silva Rey, Latin Americans Working for Achievement

• Munro Richardson, Read Charlotte
• Crystal Rountree, Teach For America Charlotte-Piedmont Triad

• Molly Shaw, Communities in Schools Charlotte-Mecklenburg
• Kirsten Sikkelee, YWCA Central Carolinas

• Janet Singerman, Child Care Resources, Inc.
• Hane Tarris, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Carolinas Board

• David Taylor, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
• Jason Terrell, Profound Gentlemen

• Todd Tibbits, YMCA of Greater Charlotte
• Banu Valladares, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

• Nicholas V. Wharton, Charlotte Area Fund, Inc.
• Dr. Clayton Wilcox, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

• Lacey Williams, City of Charlotte
• Liz Winer, Charlotte Resilience Project and Winer Family Foundation

The Day of Opportunity was supported by Bank of America, the Foundation For The Carolinas and Leading on Opportunity.

Leading on Opportunity thanks our 50 Inaugural Opportunity Champions for acting, inspiring and igniting change. As you carry the torch of commitment to others, your impact will multiply - from 50 to 500 to 5,000 to 50,000 more. #OurChildren

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