It is no secret that North Carolina is undergoing a big transformation. Communities are changing, demographics are shifting and the gap between rural and urban is widening. In Charlotte and across Mecklenburg County, we are seeing tremendous growth, alongside pockets of poverty that are causing challenges for many individuals and families.
At Crisis Assistance Ministry, we have seen that the challenges of people in poverty are so complex, they require new strategies, disruptive thinking and innovative collaborations. That is why I was so excited to see an old friend move into a new role at a North Carolina organization on the forefront of change.
Over 10 years ago, I was introduced to Maurice “Mo” Green, who was general counsel for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Several people in the community encouraged me to recruit him to join our Board of Directors. By his second meeting, I had slated him to serve as chair one day, which he eventually did. Mo zeroed in on customer impact and the experience our services provide people in financial crises. He then sought to uncover the smartest ways to meet the growing need. His thoughtful questions, careful analysis of data and passion for moving people out of poverty helped make the agency more proactive and effective.
After serving as deputy superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and then superintendent of Guilford County Schools, Mo has taken on a new role as executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation – an 80-year-old private foundation based in Winston-Salem that has invested more than $530 million into building a more equitable, sustainable, vibrant North Carolina.
Under Mo’s leadership, it is no surprise that the Foundation announced it was embarking on a yearlong strategic assessment to examine and evaluate its work. As part of this assessment, Mo, the Trustees, and staff are setting out on a statewide listening and learning tour – called “Mo Wants to Know” – to meet with leaders, experts and community members to understand the changes our communities are facing, while celebrating the successes, opportunities and ideas that make our state the best place to live.
Mo’s next stop is Thursday in Charlotte.
This is a unique opportunity for us to share our ideas and solutions for what Charlotte and North Carolina could look like in five, 10, even 20 years. Let’s work together to envision a North Carolina where all people are given the opportunity to succeed. Ideas can be shared with the Foundation at www.zsr.org/MoWantsToKnow.
Mo, the people of Charlotte welcome you back and thank you and the Foundation for your work to address North Carolina’s changing needs in order to make the future better for all of us.
Carol Hardison is Chief Executive Officer of Crisis Assistance Ministry.