Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Biggest unmet local needs

Where should you direct your charitable efforts?

Last night, a panel of philanthropy experts received a great question from the audience I sat in. If someone has a limited amount of time, energy and money to give to local nonprofits, where should they try to get involved first?

I often hear from newcomers who want to get involved in volunteering fairly soon after they move here. It’s a great way to meet new people and learn about the community – in addition to helping causes you’re passionate about.

Last night’s discussion was part of a program I’m enrolled in, the Impact Fund for Emerging Philanthropists at the Foundation for the Carolinas. Young professionals who want to get involved in philanthropy apply to be a member of this fund for a year. We agree to make a personal donation; go through the process of assessing community needs; seek grant applications from targeted agencies and learn how to give out the group’s pooled money where it will do the most good.

Last night’s panel was aimed at helping members of this group learn other ways to stay involved after this program ends in December. The greatest local needs, according to the panelists, include environmental causes; organizations that help small businesses; and social issues, defined broadly as the “haves” helping the “have-nots.”

If you’re looking to get involved somewhere, check the Web sites of the Foundation for the Carolinas, the United Way of Central Carolinas and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts & Science Council for some ideas. Both of the latter groups have their own similar programs for getting young professionals involved in local nonprofits (called, respectively, the Cultural Leadership Training program and Leading the Way). A good way for newcomers to get started is with Hands on Charlotte, which works with a lot of local agencies to supply volunteers to a wide range of causes; they’re especially looking for volunteers for Hands on Charlotte Day, coming up Oct. 27.

Meanwhile, I’m curious to know your thoughts on some more specific needs that aren’t being sufficiently met in this community, and some suggestions of charitable agencies that need more volunteers or donated dollars.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need a philanthropy group to get the bums off of Tryon and to stop the loitering. It's some of the priciest real estate in the state and our government lets this kind of crap go on.

Hell, there's never a place for anyone to sit on a bench because they are all taken up by bums. Same bums, all day, everyday on the same benches.

By bums I mean BUMS. I am not talking about homeless, people going through hard times, divorce, job loss, etc. These are down right drunken bums. Cursing and cat calling woman as they pass.

Surely the philanthropy experts can see this as a noble cause.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like the Bumbapolooza some church holds every Sunday afternoon behind the new Rustic Martini.

Oh, they gotta love that crap.

They want to help them, fine, take them to their neighborhood and feed them, preach to them and leave them there while they're at it.

Philanthropy away.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should donate money to Vote Against the Repeal because mass transit IS important!!! A train to UNCC would be awesome!

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

charlotte rescue mission is a good place to donate food/clothes.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with bums downtown (oops...Uptown)? I mean, some bums might like to ride a bike or ride a trolley, or...God forbid...walk to do their panhhadling. Just think about bums in one more that really gets your juices flowing. Do the right thing, and help out an uptown bum so he can conveniently walk to the new Target or Home Depot (how exciting!!).

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the first poster. Let's get rid of the bums uptown, asking people for cigarettes and money! They are using up our space, making uptown unsightly, and causing our taxes to go up when they go to the hospital. How about starting a center where they can all be contained and live away from the general, law-abiding population!??

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about a need for enforcing our nation's immigration laws??????

2:51 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

This comment deleted by mistake:
My biggest unmet local needs are fun, diversity, culture, entertainment, and nightlife. Actually, I guess those are WANTS not needs...haha!

2:52 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Hi everyone. Well, this post is certainly not generating its intended effect. Congratulations to Charlotte Mortgage at 9:45 a.m. for making the only comment of the type I was looking for. As I pointed out on the last post, newcomers often use this blog because they are hoping for some helpful information. Can't we help them out a little? I get that the panhandlers uptown are a sensitive issue - personally I have felt my safety threatened by them on more than one occasion - and I hope to find a way to address that in the future. Meanwhile, can we make some productive suggestions for people who genuinely want to do something to help this community?

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hard to want to help the community when you are hit head on with the bumapolooza issue on a daily basis.

I guess it kind makes you jaded towards issues of such.
When I first moved uptown I would give. But after repeated insults if I actually didn't have any cash on me I finally gave up. They are, for the most part, BUMS.

Alright, I'll throw you a bone...........

3:02 PM  
Blogger unicorn1824 said...

You have to identify what's important to you then find a charity that supports it. As the saying goes, we save the world one person at a time.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Cato said...

If you're not feeling entirely altruistic, we are coming into the big charity benefit season. Lots of big parties - many quite well done - and chances to meet people.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Kevin Decker said...

Whether you are with a group of people ready to get their hands dirty, or just one individual looking to lend a hand, United Way can connect you with agencies that can use your help. Contact the Volunteer Center at 704-371-6324 or

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

United donate to the head admin's 400,000+ annual salary (not counting bonus and expense account).

6:35 AM  
Blogger unicorn1824 said...

I've done a lot of volunteer work with the Special Olympics, here and in Raleigh. There aren't many more worthy, noncontroversial organizations.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More money for open space and water quality protection. With development pressures and real estate prices continuing to rise at such an alarming rate, we need this now more than ever.

The only non-profit local land trust serving Mecklenburg County is Catawba Lands Conservancy. Visit them at and give in any way you can.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They don't do much anymore in Meck. Co. except for assist wealthy land owners get tax breaks. Hop on a plane and you'll see A LOT of open space.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:41 a.m.-

You're an idiot. Show me the stats on their Mecklenburg County efforts to "assist wealthy land owners get tax breaks" if you're going to make stupid claims like that.

Facts? Figures? Stats?

Didn't think so.

You should be a little more appreciatitve of the efforts of the area's sole non-profit land trust.

P.S. Meck. Co. is losing about 5 football fields of open space PER DAY. Look around.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't think so? Who owns the property in the Ramah Creek area? The Steeplechase property in Union Co? Uh, how about the fact that they are specifically catering to "conservation buyers", folks with lots of cash that want to purchase properties to build estates on and reap tax benefits. They market this stuff to them. How many true public access areas do they have? Didn't think so. They're not doing this for you. You want to talk about stats? PLease list the source for the 5 football fields a day figure. Hopefully it wasn't put together by some grad student with a flawed methodology at UNCC. What was the method used to derive that number?

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, anon 3:55, it's easy to call someone an idiot while you hide behind your monitor. Pathetic. I volunteered there several times years ago, and was treated rudely by some small little man with a chip on his shoulder.

Who's on their board...oh, yeah, the "movers and shakers" of the area, not necessarily land preservation experts. If you ain't got no dough, you won't be invited to the party.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to see your opinion is based on your volunteer days "years ago." Quite a foundation for which you base your idiotic ramblings, but I appreciate you disclosing this fact. Any stats on the "conservation buyer" transactions that CLC "market" to? (Don't think to hard for your answer...wink wink). Still waiting for your numbers on the "tax breaks" for the big rich folks (particularly since most of CLC's land protection efforts are focused in Gaston and Lincoln Counties). Indeed, the Steeplechase property is in Union County, one of THREE total projects CLC has here. WOW!

Nah, doesn't look like there will be any public access throughout this 15-county area (which includes Mecklenburg County, if you care to read the map).

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, more name calling. Typical liberal. How about you posting the methodology for your 5 footbal fields a day statement? Don't think too hard...wink wink. Facts, figures, stats...didn't think so.

THREE projects in Union?? Awesome. I bet the strawberry farm and horsie race track make HUGE impacts on local air and water quality. Maybe you can find a single clam in goose creek (seen any lately...didn't think so...wink wink)and protect some land there, too.

And your trail...good luck. Nice pipe dream, hippie. BTW, loved the clearly legible map. Did you enjoy playing with your crayons? Throw some people's tax parcels up there and see what kind of response you get from deciding what those people should do with their own land. Gee...come to think of it...Meck's got a greenway plan. what's holding that up? Oh yeah, private property rights darnit. I bet ALL of thos epeople are aware you all have planned a trail through their land. Tell me, why did the Nature Conservancy suspend it's conservation buyer program, and where's the property you own under easement? Why not?

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes, nothing like another neocon with Napoleon's Complex trolling the blogger boards.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here ya go, angry Bushite:

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angry Bushite? Interesting. He's a liberal globalist. Look at who started the name calling. You did. Bye.

Thanks for practicing tolerance.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 1:13...keep parroting.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Somebody disagreed and theyw ere labeled a Bushite. I lways though the liberals didn't see everything in such black and white terms.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you make arguments without providing substantive evidence, you're either a Bushite, an idiot, or some combination of the two, as with the case of Angry Volunteer from "years ago."

6:56 AM  

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