Education

Leon Levine Foundation matching grant to help Charlotte nonprofit expand services

Communities in Schools Site Coordinator Anna Kennington tutors student Valery Granobles, 10, at Winterfield Elementary School.
Communities in Schools Site Coordinator Anna Kennington tutors student Valery Granobles, 10, at Winterfield Elementary School. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte’s Leon Levine Foundation has awarded Communities In Schools a $350,000 matching grant to expand the services of the program, which helps students succeed in school.

Over a two-year period, the foundation will match contributions from new donors and increases from previous donors. The foundation, started by Family Dollar founder Leon Levine and his wife Sandra, will match up the donations until June 2019.

“Often, a match will allow other donors to double the impact of their own giving,” said Gina Salvati, the vice president of advancement for Communities in Schools.

Salvati said this grant will allow Communities In Schools to take its work to a deeper level and make sure each student is getting the right service at the right time.

The Charlotte branch of Communities In Schools has about 70 to 75 site coordinators and case managers who work within schools and directly with students to ensure they graduate on time and have the resources needed to succeed. The national program has affiliates across North Carolina, including Salisbury, Gastonia and Asheboro.

“What we want for all kids in Charlotte is to thrive,” Salvati said.

While Communities In Schools wants to increase graduation rates and decrease dropout rates, the program must overcome challenges created by poverty. Most of the students served come from high-poverty families. Salvati said they want students to see beyond neighborhood boundaries.

“It really takes more than graduating from high school,” Salvati said.

Communities In Schools previously received a grant from the Leon Levine Foundation in the 2011-12 school year.

Communities In Schools helps over 6,000 students each year across 43 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools through case management services. The program helps 30,000 other students in the Charlotte area through school-based programming and volunteer resources. In the 2015-16 school year, 99 percent of students in Communities In Schools stayed in school.

Jamie Gwaltney: 704-358-5612, @jamielgwaltney

  Comments