Lowe’s investing $3 million in Renaissance West neighborhood

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 4:48 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Lowe’s Companies and the Lowe’s Foundation announced today a multi-year, $3 million commitment to improving economic mobility in Charlotte’s Renaissance West neighborhood.

“This is a game-changer for our community,” said Renaissance West Community Initiative CEO Mack McDonald.

The three-year project will create an onsite skilled trades training center, support career programs to increase digital and financial literacy and improve the community through revitalization projects, organizers say.

“One thing that happened in this pandemic we saw a lot of jobs that became high demand jobs. One of the things that Lowe’s is focused on, they’re helping up with some of our existing programs but one of the things they’re also interested in is skill trades,” McDonald said.

Catrena Sanders and her son have lived here for the last five years, she says the programs are much needed.

“It makes me feel like other people see the needs in our community and are willing and able to help,” Sanders said.

Lowe’s partnership with the neighborhood will offer on-site skills development and job training to help people like Sanders who are on the rebound from the pandemic.

“A lot of us due to COVID lost our jobs, lost our careers, and forced to go a different route,” Sanders said.

Sanders is an entrepreneur and runs her own physical fitness and wellness business. She’s hoping to use the on-site training to propel her business forward.

Other programs include supporting life navigation and coaching programs, increasing accessibility to technology and promoting skilled trades workforce development.

“I want to thank Lowe’s for making such a significant investment in our community,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “This funding will have a tremendous impact on the lives of many residents and families because of the long-term opportunities this great program will create. From housing stability to workforce development, this program will ensure that our residents are positioned for success as our city continues to attract new industries and job opportunities.”

In 2020, the Renaissance West Community Initiative was designated as a HUD EnVision Center.

Spearheaded by the RWCI, the projects will support the organization’s goals to revitalize the community and end intergenerational poverty. Projects, classified as Housing Stability, Workforce Development and Neighborhood Improvement, include:

  • Expanding life navigation or coaching programs to help residents in the Renaissance West neighborhood, Little Rock Apartments and families attending the Renaissance West STEAM Academy meet their educational, career and financial goals
  • Creating an onsite training center focused on developing career pathways in skilled trades and technology in partnership with Central Piedmont Community College
  • Increasing neighborhood volunteerism to support the Renaissance West STEAM Academy, the Howard Levine Child Development Center, and more

Tutoring programs will be offered to students at the Renaissance West STEAM Academy.

Funding will also go toward the current life navigation program and add one extra life navigator for 30 LatinX families. The Life Navigation program helps residence with goal building, leadership growth, and other personal development qualities.

The investment will also help people living in the Little Rock apartments next to the Renaissance West Community.

“Little Rock Apartments is in our service area so they will get the same benefit from this investment that the folks in the residences at Renaissance are getting,” McDonald said.

Sanders says this a big step towards helping so many people with untapped potential to set them up for a lifetime of success.

“There’s a lot of gems here, there’s a lot of people here that just need a little bit of financial help but have minds and are brilliant,” Sanders said.

“We are incredibly grateful for this partnership with Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Foundation,” said Bill Currens, RWCI Board Chair. “This pledge is the largest corporate gift in the short history of RWCI. A commitment of this magnitude is a testament to the importance of the work the RWCI team performs each day to end intergenerational poverty and provide opportunity to a historically underserved and marginalized area of Charlotte.”

Future projects and details will be announced at a later date.

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