Business

Business leaders’ group gathers to address social mobility

Participants share a laugh as Bob Morgan, center, of the Charlotte Chamber relates a story during the first meeting of the Charlotte Will initiative at Foundation for the Carolinas on Tuesday.
Participants share a laugh as Bob Morgan, center, of the Charlotte Chamber relates a story during the first meeting of the Charlotte Will initiative at Foundation for the Carolinas on Tuesday. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

A new group of local business and community leaders officially got underway Tuesday with an effort to address the vexing problem of social mobility in Charlotte – how likely it is that the poor stay poor.

The “Charlotte Will” group, which includes business leaders such as Charles Bowman at Bank of America, Bob Morgan of the Charlotte Chamber and Tony Zeiss of Central Piedmont Community College, plans to discuss strategies and ways social mobility could be improved.

The group will meet monthly over the year as the initiative progresses.

Charlotte ranked last in a 2014 study of social mobility in America’s 50 largest cities, prompting a number of community initiatives to focus on the issue. The study measured how likely it is for children whose parents are in the bottom 20 percent of the national income distribution to reach the top 20 percent of the income distribution themselves.

“We’re trying to engage the community to help us with this issue,” said Charlotte Observer Publisher Ann Caulkins. The Observer’s business side started the Charlotte Will initiative, which isn’t connected to the Observer’s news-gathering operations.

Charlotte Will plans to promote and bring attention to various community initiatives that offer ways to help improve education and social mobility. The Foundation for the Carolinas, which has been involved in efforts to improve social mobility, is involved in helping coordinate and carry out the Charlotte Will initiatives.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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