Game-Changing: Mecklenburg County leaders provide $99 million in COVID-19 funds – WSOC Charlotte


Game-Changing: Mecklenburg County leaders provide $99 million in COVID-19 funds
CHARLOTTE — In a presentation that felt like an awards ceremony, Mecklenburg County leaders presented 75 community groups and nonprofits with more than $99 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
The county opened applications for the COVID-19 relief funding in October and received more than $450 million in proposals. The community groups who received funding say the funds are game changers.
On Tuesday afternoon, Kendal Carrick was hard at work making candles, but her real passion is baking.
“My grandma taught me about it,” she said.
She’s one of 10 employees at Cakeable.
The Oakhurst nonprofit hires people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and sells baked goods throughout the community.
“This is my dream, actually,” she said. “I want to be a baker one day, to have my own cafe one day.”
Her dream to have her own cafe is coming true. The county is giving Cakeable $810,000. The funds will allow the nonprofit to open a storefront in Uptown and hire people from its 40-person wait list.
“They remind me every day to see people, to see a person, by their abilities first,” owner Renee Ratcliffe said. “These students are so capable.”
The new Cakeable location will be near the old Rock Bottom Brewery at 401 North Tryon St. It is expected to open in late spring.
“We were stunned and were just so excited,” Ratcliffe said. “We made a request and we hoped we would get a little of our request and then we found out we were funded in full.”
Another nonprofit receiving funding is Freedom Fighting Missionaries. Executive Director Kenny Robinson’s nonprofit helps formerly incarcerated people transition back into society. The $1.3 million his nonprofit is receiving will help build 16 affordable housing townhomes.
“Historic. (This) has never happened before in the history of Mecklenburg County,” Robinson said.
Robinson says he received an email on a Saturday morning notifying him of the approval in funding.
“I am used to getting denied so I am looking for the Keep swinging at them, Kenny-type of email,” he said. “I was so ecstatic.”
Belmont neighborhood nonprofit, The Bulb, is receiving $919,000. The Bulb plans to work with Foodlist to provide fresh food boxes to residents in east and west Charlotte.
“Our motto is, ‘Take what you need. Give what you can,’” said Dulce Jarquin, who is with The Bulb.
The food is sourced from local farms and donated by Trader Joe’s.
“We are really excited to show Charlotte what we can do,” said Erin Bradley, who is with Freshlist.
The nonprofits all have different approaches, but they are connected in their mission, which is to make Mecklenburg County a better place. The COVID-19 relief funding helps that happen.
“It can bring people together and make happiness,” Carrick said.
Affordable Housing and Homelessness
Behavioral Health and Health Equity
Childcare and Early Childhood Development
Workforce and Economic Development
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