Central Piedmont To Use Grant Funds for Food Drives to Help At-Risk Students

Bridge Builders Charlotte, a joint effort between Belk Chapel at Queens University and Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, has awarded Central Piedmont a $25,000 grant to promote social justice and educational equity across the Charlotte region.

Bridge Builders Charlotte aims to use campus-community partnerships to overcome social divides and make our community stronger – with a specific aim of strengthening the Charlotte community’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The grant proposal was spearheaded by Chris Brawley, a religion professor in the Humanities Division at Central Piedmont. The funding will be used to hire three Central Piedmont student interns who will work in conjunction with Central Piedmont’s Student Life department and local nonprofit Loaves and Fishes, to sponsor two food drives during the fall semester that will address the food needs of various faith traditions.

In addition to preparing specially made food boxes and participating in the food drives, interfaith cards will be included in the boxes, highlighting the common call of every religion to serve others. The food drives will be captured on film and distributed to the wider Charlotte community, showing how various faith traditions can work together (and learn from each other) during times of crisis.

Central Piedmont’s project is being funded through the Gambrell Foundation. Collectively, the Gambrell-Foundation is not only helping fund Central Piedmont’s initiative, but also a variety of projects housed at more than 10 faith communities, five other area colleges and universities (Davidson College, Johnson C. Smith University, Queens University, UNC Charlotte and Wingate University), and six nonprofit organizations.

“These projects will forge connections between Charlotte-area campuses, local nonprofit organizations and religiously diverse communities,” Brawley explains. “Central Piedmont is excited to be involved in this process, and an active participant in leveraging Charlotte’s potential to expand opportunity for those who are most vulnerable as result of the coronavirus crisis.”

Gambrell Foundation Grant will Provide Central Piedmont Students Pathway to Economic Mobility

The Gambrell Foundation of Charlotte has pledged $1 million to Central Piedmont Community Gambrell FoundationCollege to create the Gambrell Opportunity Scholarships. These scholarships will be part of Central Piedmont’s larger Opportunity Scholarship initiative, which seeks to assist some of Mecklenburg County’s most needy and yet deserving high school students forge a path to greater economic mobility.

The Gambrell Foundation grant will support 75 recent graduates of CMS high schools that serve majority low-income student populations. The scholarships will provide for the full cost of earning a two-year associate degree, including tuition, books and fees. All Gambrell scholarship recipients will receive laptop computers and participate in Central Piedmont’s Summer Bridge academic enrichment program. The scholarships also will provide for a full-time academic advisor/career coach to help the students with course selection, internships and career placement or moving on to further education.

“Economic mobility is directly tied to educational opportunity, and we are delighted to partner with Central Piedmont Community College to help open doors and eliminate barriers for deserving students,” said Sally Gambrell Bridgford. “Our investment will help this generation achieve economic self-sufficiency on their path to reach the American dream.

Central Piedmont established the Opportunity Scholarship Initiative in late 2016 to address the economic mobility challenges faced by many CMS students. To date, the college has welcomed 95 Opportunity Scholars in two classes, the first of which will graduate in May 2019.

“We thank the Gambrell Foundation for its generous grant. These scholarships will have a profound, life-changing impact on some deserving students who might not be able to attend college otherwise,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “So many of the young people in our community just need an opportunity, and with a little assistance, they can go on to do great things that will benefit their families and transform our community.”

The first class of Gambrell Opportunity Scholars will begin their studies at Central Piedmont in fall 2019.