The Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation is giving $100,000 to Charlotte’s YWCA Central Carolinas to help the nonprofit preserve its 51-year-old campus on Park Road with renovations.
Part of the work will improve the site’s fitness center, which is used as a money-raising program to support the YWCA’s efforts on behalf of homeless women with children. Among those programs is a transitional housing initiative that houses homeless women on the property while they gain financial independence.
The planned site changes will be both cosmetic and safety-related, and will include better ventilation, lighting and a re-grouted and chemically cleaned pool, officials said. The YWCA anticipates the updated amenities will attract 250 new members within a two-year period after the renovations.
“Our fitness center is … acting as a portal of entry for the YWCA’s mission,” said YWCA CEO Kirsten Sikkelee, in a statement.
“We are building a more understanding community by bringing together people of different ages, races, genders and economic classes, and finding new supporters is an important part of sustaining the YWCA for future generations.”
The YWCA is among the charities tackling Charlotte’s biggest social issue: a lack of affordable housing for low-income people. The agency has operated the Women in Transition program for 17 years, offering affordable housing and comprehensive charity support for women who are struggling to stay in a home. Program participants may remain in the program up to 18 months.
Nearly 95 percent of the women who stay in the program end up finding permanent housing, and 83 percent were able to increase their income, YWCA officials say.
Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, has an ongoing partnership with the YWCA, previously supporting the organization with energy efficiency audits, solar panel installation, employee volunteer efforts and financial support for the organization’s Families Together and Women in Transition programs.