Announcement, News, Press Release

The GreenLight Fund Launches GreenLight Charlotte

May 3, 2017



Contact: Margaret Hall, National Executive Director
[email protected]

Fund intends to commit $3.5 million in Charlotte over the next five years to attract innovative, proven high-impact approaches to address local needs and help improve outcomes

Charlotte – The GreenLight Fund, with support from more than 30 local philanthropic investors, today announced the launch of GreenLight Charlotte to identify and address critical needs of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s low-income children and families.

“Given recent studies showing limited upward mobility in Charlotte, this is a timely moment for the GreenLight Fund to come to the city,” said Rhett Mabry, president of The Duke Endowment. “GreenLight brings a strong and welcome focus on expanding successful programs and transforming lives in high-poverty neighborhoods. We look forward to supporting its efforts.”

In addition to The Duke Endowment, GreenLight Charlotte’s founding funders include Bank of America, Duke Energy, the Leon Levine Foundation, the C.D. Spangler Foundation, Foundation for the Carolinas, Brighthouse Financial, John M. Belk Endowment, Scott and Anne Perper, John and Sue Simon, and the United Way of Central Carolinas.  Additional support comes from local business leaders and community supporters including Travis and Lise Hain, Sally and Russell Robinson, Tim and Sarah Belk, Doug and Laura Bollerman, Steve and Athena Bradway, Porter and Vicki Durham, Rob and Leigh Edwards, Cammie and Barnes Hauptfuhrer, Tommy and Jane Hunter, Kathy and Charlie Izard, David Jones, the Howard R. Levine Foundation Fund – Howard and Julie Levine, George McLendon and Carol Quillen, Walker and Anne Poole, Jack Purcell, Kevin and Peggy Roche, Matt and Jeannie Salisbury, Liz and Walker Simmons, and an anonymous donor.

“An incredible group of investors has rallied around GreenLight Charlotte and believes in its potential to help Charlotte address critical needs facing low-income children and families,” said John Simon, co-founder and board chair of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director at Boston-based venture capital firm Sigma Prime Ventures. “Our locally-driven, action-oriented approach will be amplified by the amazing civic spirit we’ve seen in our visits to Charlotte.”

GreenLight Charlotte will work to transform the lives of low-income children, youth and families in Charlotte by conducting an annual process to identify critical needs; import innovative, entrepreneurial organizations with proven, measurable results; and galvanize local community support to help programs reach and sustain impact.

Charlotte is the sixth community to join the GreenLight network. In other cities – Boston, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Cincinnati, and Detroit – the GreenLight Method has been used to address a wide variety of issues including early childhood literacy, college access and persistence, teacher effectiveness, poor health outcomes, family economic mobility, and youth aging out of foster care.

“GreenLight Fund’s approach is designed solely to address community gaps and bring proven, innovative approaches to meet the needs of low-income children and families,” said Charles Bowman, market president for Charlotte and North Carolina at Bank of America. “After seeing this model work successfully in Boston, Bank of America has been a proud partner in supporting GreenLight Fund’s expansion to the Bay Area, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Detroit. We are thrilled that the GreenLight Fund, in partnership with an impressive group of founding investors, chose Charlotte as the sixth community in its growing network.”

“Our commitment to Charlotte extends beyond the services we provide. Duke Energy is working in partnership with our neighbors to identify solutions to issues facing our growing, diverse community,” said Cari Boyce, senior vice president of stakeholder strategy and president, Duke Energy Foundation. “Bringing GreenLight Fund to Charlotte allows us to tap into innovative programs from around the nation that improve economic mobility and put them to work for the city.”

In 2015 alone, GreenLight’s 16 portfolio organizations reached more than 60,000 children and families across four cities with their innovative, replicable and effective programs.  With six GreenLight communities importing programs with demonstrated and scalable impact, GreenLight is on track  to reach 100,000 low-income children, youth and families annually in GreenLight cities across the nation in 2017.

Anne Perper, a founding philanthropic investor in GreenLight Charlotte is optimistic about GreenLight’s ability to energize and enhance Charlotte’s social sector: “We are extremely excited to support GreenLight as it launches in Charlotte – its sixth city.  GreenLight will serve as a beacon of hope – offering proven solutions to locally identified problems and bringing meaningful change to our community.  Given the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force’s findings and recommendations, there couldn’t be a better time to welcome GreenLight to Charlotte!”

“Bank of America has been a long-time partner with the GreenLight Fund in many communities across the country,” said Andrea Smith, Bank of America’s chief administrative officer and co-chair of the Leading on Opportunity Council. “We are continuing our investment to bring the GreenLight Fund model to Charlotte to provide even more support to work already underway to address economic mobility and the recommendations of the Opportunity Task Force.”

GreenLight Charlotte will be led by a local executive director with advice and insight from a Selection Advisory Council made up of Charlotte leaders from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropy and government.  The search for GreenLight Charlotte’s executive director is underway; once hired, the local executive director will engage the Selection Advisory Council in the annual GreenLight process to identify issue areas, perform diligence and select an organization for support.  The first selection will be made in 2018.

Margaret Hall, GreenLight’s co-founder and national executive director, said of the launch timeline, “Our all-important first step is to hire an executive director to lead GreenLight Charlotte. With this person in place, we plan to launch our first selection process this coming fall and look forward to keeping the community apprised and engaged with our progress.”

About the GreenLight Fund

The GreenLight Fund is a Boston-based 501(c)(3) organization that aims to transform the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to: identify critical needs; import innovative programs with proven, measurable results; and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city.

Learn more at: or contact [email protected]