Charlotte funders eye public schools

PJ staff report

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A group of private funders and community leaders has formed to study and propose how philanthropy can help address the challenges facing the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Investment Study Group consists of 13 members from family foundations, corporate funders and business and community leaders.

Together, they will study how philanthropy has worked with public education in other parts of the U.S. and offer recommendations by year’s end on how funders can help local schools reach goals related to student performance and equity.

The committee will be co-chaired by Anna Spangler Nelson of the C.D. Spangler Foundation and Richard “Stick” Williams, president of the Duke Energy Foundation.

“To work on this problem with private philanthropy is a farsighted and community-minded approach,” Peter Gorman, superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, says in a statement. “Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are fortunate to have citizens who are willing to provide such leadership.”

Gorman has pledged the school system’s support to the committee and will provide information and context to the group as needed.

Administrative support and facilitation for the effort will be provided by the Foundation for the Carolinas.

Other foundations represented on the committee are The Duke Endowment, Leon Levine Foundation, Belk Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Bank of America, Wachovia and Novant Health have representatives on the committee.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, R.J. Leeper of Ronald Leeper Construction, retired Superior Court Judge Calvin Murphy and retired educator Calvin Wallace also will serve.

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