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February 1, 2024 | Faith, Community and Non-Profit Leader Check-In Meeting



Our every other week check-in meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting compassionate community response to our most vulnerable neighbors. Meetings are held online every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. In addition, if you would like to receive notification when these minutes are posted, please email LeDayne and ask to be added to the Thursday meetings email list.



Want to learn more about we do on our calls? Watch this short video clip!



 

Click HERE to Access Zoom Recording:

 

OPENING REFLECTION

“The first thing I want them to hear is something that makes them feel good,” [Ambrosio] said. “One thing I’ve learned in the world of activism is that you still need to feel good about what you’re doing. If you’re just grinding and grinding, and you feel bad, it’s not going to be effective.”

 

David Ambrosio as quoted by Greg Jarrell in an essay called The Joy of Civil Disobedience on his blog Trespasses of the Holy

 

More about David Ambrosio HERE



1. MeckMIN Updates


A NOTE ABOUT THESE MEETINGS


These meetings are open to anyone or any group interested in promoting the common good in our shared Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.


The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.


 


WHO ARE WE AND WHAT WE DO

 




OUR 2024 CALENDAR





Feb 29 CHECK-IN MEETING FOCUSED ON WORK TO PREVENT YOUTH VIOLENCE

 


Feb 29th Thursday meeting will focus on those working to prevent youth violence and youth crime.  That crime is escalating locally while other crime is decreasing. If you focus on that issue and want to present February 29 or if you have a group to suggest, reach out to LeDayne. Our goal with this meeting is to become more aware of the groups doing good work in this area, how our congregations and organization and our members/clients might benefit from that work,  and we might step up to support it.

 



OPEN TABLES at GALILEE MINISTRIES March 21

 

Open Tables at Galilee Center. Open to all. Potluck dinner and a chance to have a conversation around the table March 21st at 6:30 PM. Register HERE




2024 COMMUNITY LEADER AWARDS BREAKFAST

TIME TO NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL HEROS


We invite you to nominate an exemplary person or organization for one of our 2024 Community Leader Awards. The nomination process is now open – and the deadline to submit a nomination is Monday, February 12 by 5 p.m.

 

If you’d like to make a nomination but are unsure whether the person/group has been honored by MeckMIN in the past, visit our webpage and scroll down to find the list of past recipients.

 

The Sydnor Thompson, Jr. Community Leader award goes to a local leader or organization that exemplifies leadership and collaboration across differences in the community, fosters interfaith understanding to promote racial and ethnic understanding, and addresses social needs in the community. This award is most often given to someone who does this work as part of their career – such as a clergy person or nonprofit professional.

 

The Bridge Builder award goes to someone who directly promotes one-on-one relationships and bridge building across differences through their actions and daily life.  This award is most often given to someone who does this work as a volunteer.

 

●       2024 Bridge Builder Nomination Form - Click HERE to access form

●       2024 SYDNOR THOMPSON, JR. Community Leader Award Nomination Form - Click HERE to access form


 


FAITH LEADER LUNCH NETWORKING EVENT Thursday, February 22  11:30 to 1:00 p.m


Location TBA -- This is the first of new quarterly gatherings funded by a grant from the Foundation for the Carolinas. Each time we gather, we'll build in some wellness practices for ourselves, some exploration of what's working well in congregations, and LOTS of networking. We'll also share lunch provided by local small businesses -- you will NOT want to miss our February lunch from one of our FAVORITE local caterers. Save the date and watch for registration details soon.

 



FAITH LEADER-MAYOR MEETING

Tuesday, March 19 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Union Seminary

We are also working this year with CCCJ and other local clergy groups and the Charlotte mayor's office to provide regular opportunities for faith leaders to meet with Mayor Lyles and other city officials to discuss issues of concern. The first meeting of 2024 will be Tuesday, March 19. REGISTRATION REQUIRED. We are working to secure funding for lunch. Sign up HERE

 

We're also working to update the registration form -- if you get a Zoom link when you register, ignore it -- this is an in-person event hosted by Union seminary.



LATIN AMERICAN COALITION EMPOWERMENT Session Host Needed


Diego Torres, Immigrant Integration Specialist | 704.941.2544


The Latin American Coalition is holding a series of empowerment sessions for newcomers to our community. They would love to have different houses of faith step up to help make these events as welcoming as possible. The first chance to do this is coming up SOON. Feb 9th 10-1:00.

 

The house of faith would be asked to provide:

●         4-6 volunteers to entertain the kids in the next room with an open door to parents. Toys, coloring pages will be available. Can have volunteer shifts if shorter time to serve is needed.

●       Breakfast and/or lunch for 20-30 people. This can be as elaborate or a simple as you like. It could be to-go bags, buffet style, continental, or even just snacks.

 

Community Empowerment Sessions are action-oriented community workshops. An empowerment session for newcomers is a purposeful gathering designed to support individuals who are new to a specific environment or community. The primary objective is to equip newcomers with the tools, knowledge, and confidence needed to navigate their new surroundings, overcome challenges, and foster a sense of belonging. The session is typically structured to address various aspects of adjustment and empowerment. 

 

Different barriers faced by Newcomers can lead to a range of difficulties, such as limiting access to information, services, and resources, including health care, education, and employment opportunities. The consequences of these unfavorable conditions can increase isolation and stress, on the other hand, it can decrease levels of self-esteem, and poorer psychosocial well-being. 

 

Because of the negative, devastating, and intrusive consequences we have decided to implement Empowerment Sessions. In these sessions, we try to support and inspire newcomers to build a sense of community. We promote and encourage them to integrate into their new communities and increase their mobility through coaching on how to independently navigate community systems and resources. 

 

Newcomers use the knowledge gained to empower themselves and regain control over their lives through understanding the new environment, cultural sensitivity, and inclusivity, and with improvements in their language and communication skills, they have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams or goals in our new city that they will call their new home. 

 

Our Workshop topics include:

 

●       Cultural Orientation workshops. 

●       Availability of local resources and programs.

●       Basic use of technology.

●       Civic engagement and leadership.

●       Educational System – K-12 and post-secondary school education.

●       Emergency preparedness and services.

●       Entrepreneurship and Business Plan Development opportunities.

●       Financial literacy 

●       Health care and nutrition issues and services.

●       Insurance – auto, medical and more.

●       U.S. legal system, law enforcement, and immigration.



NEWSLETTER

If you are not yet receiving our regular email newsletter be sure and sign up here: https://www.meckmin.org/contact-us




THURSDAY MEETING MINUTES

If you are not getting the link to meeting minutes and want to sign up, just email meckmin@meckmin.org.




COMMUNITY HEALTH UPDATES


David Sweat | David.Sweat@mecklenburgcountync.gov Covid-19 Response Unit Director


We have finally dropped to an average wastewater monitoring Level 4.25 this week based on the latest data from NC DHHS after spending the past month at detection Level 5 for all sites. Currently > 60% of wastewater samples are testing positive for the county on average, although two sites remain at Level 5, suggesting that COVID does continue to circulate widely in parts of Mecklenburg County. In Atrium’s testing results ~ 11% of patients are testing positive, a decrease from last week. Per CDC, respiratory virus transmission levels are decreasing for COVID, flu and RSV at this time in Mecklenburg County.

 

 

Finalmente bajamos a un nivel promedio de monitoreo de aguas residuales 4.25 esta semana según los datos más recientes del DHHS de Carolina del Norte después de pasar el mes pasado en el nivel de detección 5 para todos los sitios. Actualmente, más del 60% de las muestras de aguas residuales dan positivo en promedio para el condado, aunque dos sitios permanecen en el Nivel 5, lo que sugiere que COVID continúa circulando ampliamente en partes del condado de Mecklenburg. En los resultados de las pruebas de Atrium, aproximadamente el 11% de los pacientes dan positivo, una disminución con respecto a la semana pasada. Según los CDC, los niveles de transmisión de virus respiratorios están disminuyendo para COVID, gripe y RSV en este momento en el condado de Mecklenburg.


 

Transmission is finally ebbing.  It is not yet low, but it is going down for COVID, Flu and RSV. Please continue to remind people to get vaccinated and be careful.  BUT …

 

MPox on the rise

Mecklenburg County has seen a recent rise in mpox — formerly called monkeypox — cases. Six new cases have been reported in the county since late 2023. Since the beginning of the mpox outbreak in July 2022, 255 cases have been reported in Mecklenburg County, and 720 cases have been reported statewide, according to a press release from the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department.

 

In response to the recent rise, Mecklenburg County Public Health is working with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to increase access to JYNNEOS, a free, two-dose vaccine that reduces the chance of infection as well as the severity of symptoms associated with mpox. Principle concern is those who already have HIV.

 

“What we learned from the 2022 outbreak is that vaccines and education are highly effective at slowing and containing new infections,” Dr. Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County public health director, said in a press release. “Even though the recent increase in cases is limited, we are ramping up our efforts to ensure residents at greatest risk have the resources they need to avoid infection.”

 

Mpox vaccines are available at no cost by appointment by calling 704-336-6500 or by walk-in at:

●       Northwest Health Department, located at 2845 Beatties Ford Road.

●       Southeast Health Department, located at 249 Billingsley Road.

●       VCW Community Resource Center, located at 3205 Freedom Drive

●       Ella B. Scarborough Community Resource Center, located at 430 Stitt Road.

 

The county is also offering mpox services at the following locations:

●       Monday, Feb. 5, 12-3 p.m., located at Skin’tique Beauty Bar, 1202 Beatties Ford Road. (Testing and vaccination in the mobile unit.)

●       Tuesday, Feb. 6, 6 – 8 p.m., located at  Atrium Health Northpark, 251 Eastway Drive. (Testing only inside the building.)

●       Thursday, Feb. 8, 1 – 4 p.m. located at Ella B Scarborough Community Resource Center, 430 Sitt Road. (Testing and vaccination in the mobile unit.)

 


City of Charlotte’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) initiative

Miles Vaughn | miles.vaughn@charlottenc.gov | (704) 336-5045

Strategic Partnerships Manager, Housing & Neighborhood Services Office


Accessory Dwelling Units are small homes either attached to the house or built on the same property as a main single unit dwelling.  Affordable housing, i.e. housing for low income but also teachers, police officers and many others, is in short supply.  The rule to determine affordable housing is whether you are spending 30% or less on your housing.

 

ADUs are typically between 400 and 1000 square feet. THe ADU cannot be more than 50% of the sq footage of the main structure.  Many qualify so they have launched a pilot whereby the city partners with investor owners and those who have the space. The city will build the accessory dwelling, covering the cost. If you are low to moderate income household you will get the full amount.  The homeowner must rent to low to moderate income household for a minimum of 15 years.

 

They will also hire a 3rd party property manager to deal with the issues in the ADU.  Willing to consider those who are not low to moderate as well.

 

They are launching on sites soon. Can help the low to moderate households who rent as well as those who build.

 

Website does not yet exist but guidelines and a mapping tool will let you learn more. Mapping tool will let you know if your site is eligible. Reach out to him for more information.




2. Non-Profit Updates


The views and opinions expressed below are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.



ROBIN DOMEIER - Seeking an Internship


Robin Domeier | rdomeier72@gmail.com


My name is Robin Domeier and I am in search of an internship to fulfill my deaconess internship requirement for the Lutheran Diaconal Association. I would like to serve wherever I can use my gifts of communication, organization and encouragement to help others see how God is at work in their lives' and to encourage them to use their gifts to spread the Gospel and grow his Kingdom.


The specifications for the internship are:

  • Work in a church or non-profit. 

  • Time frame is between nine and twelve months in length. I could begin as early as February.

  • Preferably paid; the salary is negotiable. The hours can be full or part time.


Reach out to LeDayne for contact info if you are interested.

RobinDomeierdiaconalresume2024#2 (2)
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FREE TAX PREP

VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE (VITA) PROGRAM



The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is an often overlooked but invaluable resource for families across the country, including many of the people served at Crisis Assistance Ministry. Aimed at promoting financial wellness and administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), VITA relies on trained volunteers to provide free tax preparation services to eligible taxpayers. Because the service is free, people who utilize VITA can keep more of their hard-earned money instead of paying a tax preparer or potentially making a costly mistake by preparing their own returns.

 

The VITA program was established in 1969 to offer free tax help to people with low to moderate incomes. It operates in partnership with community organizations and provides a range of services, including:

1.      Free Tax Preparation: The primary feature of the VITA program is free tax preparation for federal and state returns. All volunteer preparers must pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards, and every VITA-prepared return undergoes a quality review before filing.

2.      Electronic Filing (E-filing): VITA centers offer electronic filing services, enabling taxpayers to submit their returns electronically. E-filing is not only safe and convenient but also ensures faster processing and quicker receipt of any potential refunds.

3.      Education and Outreach: Beyond tax preparation, VITA volunteers engage in community outreach and educational efforts. This includes providing information about tax credits and deductions taxpayers may be eligible for, helping them maximize their refunds.

 

Eligibility for VITA is determined by household income level, which can vary slightly depending on the organization administering the program, but generally is around $64,000 per year.

 

Locally, VITA is administered by two nonprofit organizations: Community Link and the Ada Jenkins Center. These agencies oversee VITA sites throughout the county. Hours of operation vary by site, but the overall VITA program is open from February 1 through April 15.

 

To find a VITA site in the north Mecklenburg County area, check out this list from the Ada Jenkins Center: https://www.adajenkins.org/services/vita/

 

For a list of VITA sites in other parts of Mecklenburg County, refer to this information from Community Link: https://www.communitylinknc.org/pages/vita

 

If you have family and friends outside of Mecklenburg County who might benefit from VITA, refer them to the IRS’s online VITA locator tool. This database allows users to search for VITA sites throughout the country based on their zip code, ensuring easy access to assistance.

 

The VITA program benefits low-to-moderate-income families in our community in several important ways:

 

1.      By providing free tax preparation services, VITA helps individuals and families save money that would otherwise be spent on professional tax assistance.

2.      VITA volunteers are trained to identify tax credits and deductions that may benefit taxpayers, potentially leading to larger refunds.

3.      VITA fosters community engagement by relying on local volunteers and nonprofit organizations to deliver services. This not only promotes financial wellness for individuals but also strengthens community bonds.

4.      Through outreach efforts, VITA contributes to the financial education of taxpayers, empowering them with knowledge about their tax obligations and entitlements.


Community Link


The free tax preparation is available at Community Link’s offices starting February 1.  We will be open for the service Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5:30pm - 8pm. We are located at 601 E. 5th Street, Suite 500, in Charlotte.  No appointment necessary - first come, first served.  Individuals and households are eligible if their income is generally $64,000 or less.

 

Community Link prepared 1,625 tax returns for taxpayers last year. The average refund was $990.  Taxpayers of modest means often don’t realize they may be eligible for refunds.

 


Common Wealth

 Have you seen our VITA Latino results? Click here

¿Has visto los resultados de VITA Latino? Míralos aquí

 

Ya recibe nuestro boletin informativo? https://www.vitalatino.org/boletin

 

 

 

If you have a welcoming space accessible to the Hispanic population in our city, we want to invite your organization to host a VITA Latino site.

 

The VITA Latino program offers free tax preparation services to Hispanic low- to moderate-income individuals and families, helping them navigate the complex tax system and access the tax credits and deductions to which they are entitled. Please visit https://www.vitalatino.org/cwc-1 for more information.

 

You can also support us by sharing our website, www.vitalatino.org, with those needing our services. They can schedule an appointment for free if they speak Spanish and earn less than $64k a year.

 

If you are interested in hosting a VITA Latino site or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Find the available days to host our program here: bit.ly/3s7ZnM0. We look forward to answer any questions: Yuly Rodriguez yrodriguez@commonwealthcharlotte.org or David Arcia darcia@commonwealthcharlotte.org.



LEMON TREE

Claire Bleiler | claire@lemontreefoods.org 


We run a text message helpline that has connected over 100,000 people to the free food in their backyard.  Our comprehensive dataset of food pantries, soup kitchens, and SNAP resources incorporates real user feedback, so every client improves the experience for the next one. Most importantly, our customer service team meets everyone with warmth & empathy–we call it hospitality–which lets us build a deeper relationship with clients.

 

Last year we launched in the Charlotte community, and also partnered with SHARE Charlotte (https://sharecharlotte.org/nonprofit/lemontree!  You can learn more about our organization, and the impact we have on the communities we serve, at https://www.foodhelpline.org/.




ROOTED HEARTS MINISTRIES


Jomaira Ortiz, LMSW, Co-founder | hello@rootedhearts.org

Executive Director


At Rooted Hearts, we serve families of children recently diagnosed with autism by providing resources and education to the caregiver.  The majority of those we serve are from marginalized communities. Any way we can share what we do, as well as learn of others doing great work in the city, we are very much interested in being in conversation with.


Families are waiting on average over 2 years for an evaluation and then 6-12 months for the recommended therapies. Autism presents in many ways but some common themes are communication problems, sensory issues, other issues like digestive issues and ADHD.  With the long wait time it impacts the entire family. Rooted Hearts steps into that wait period with tools to help the child to learn and help the family learn how to encourage development. They are the bridge between evaluation and therapy.  Services are provided at no cost. They are Christian based but they serve everyone and are happy to work across faiths. They also provide education on how to engage the congregation in these issues.




AJ AND THE COOL KIDS, INC.

Antonio and Tonya Tolson | contact@ajandthecoolkids.org | 704-675-0161

Co-Founders


They provide the $$ for the provided services. After 3 years old, free services are cut off.  So AJ and the Cool Kids steps in to support that work. You reach out to the org and provide the bills or other documentation and they provide the money.

 

August 17th there will be a big event at Project 658. It will be a gala fundraising. They will present one family with a tax free 1000 dollar grant for whatever is needed.



2024 YOUTH LEADERSHIP FORUM (NCYLF)


Meredith Huml | meredith@youthleadnc.org | 919-213-0175

Program Coordinator


The 2024 Youth Leadership Forum (NCYLF) delegate applications are now open for youth and young adults ages 15-30 years old. The event is July 20th through the 24th, and will be held at NC State University in Raleigh. The NCYLF is completely accessible and free to all participants.

 

 

NCYLF is a program hosted by the non-profit organization Youth LEAD NC that helps to foster emerging youth and young adult leaders, teaching them to advocate for themselves and in their communities. The NCYLF is unlike a summer camp in that it focuses its activities on developing leadership and communication skills throughout the week. It’s an opportunity to network, meet other people with varying disabilities, and share their perspectives and experiences with others.

 

The NCYLF aims to support today’s young people in their transition process.  This can include transitioning from high school to college, college to work, moving out of parents home, or any other transition phase that may be taking place.

 

All applications are due no later than March 1, 2024! Please request an appointment for help filling out your application no later than 2 weeks before applications are due, February 16th.

 

For questions or help with filling out the application, please contact Meredith Huml, our Program Coordinator at 919-213-0175, or at meredith@youthleadnc.org.  Please text or email to set up a phone call.

 

You can also contact Meredith if you would like to volunteer in-person at YLF or help out in a different way! There are many opportunities to be involved with the YLF. And Please spread the word with your networks!

 


MECK Pre-K enrollment



MECK Pre-K is open for enrollment for the 2024-2025 school year. ALL children living in Mecklenburg County turning four years old by August 31stare eligible for the program. MECK Pre-K is a high quality pre-k program at no cost to parents. All of our classrooms are taught by licensed teachers with an assistant teacher. MECK Pre-K is one of three public pre-K programs offered in Meck County along with Bright Beginnings and NC Pre-K. We have no requisites to join the program and it is all first come first served. Parents can apply by visiting meckprek.org or calling our office at 704-943-9585 and making an appointment or by stopping at our office on 601 E 5th Street.

 

MECK Pre-K enrollment has just opened for the school year 2024-2025 and we’d like for everyone to have this information available to them if they have a child that is turning four before August 31st. I’ve attached a document with something that can be shared with your faith based institutions or community organizations through a bulletin board or a newsletter.

 

For Families of Four-Year-Olds:

Do you have a child who will turn four on or before August 31? You can apply for MECK Pre-K, a high-quality, free pre-K program open to all four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County. Classrooms are located in licensed child development centers and taught by licensed teachers and highly qualified assistant teachers. Children experience growth in social and emotional skills, language and literacy abilities, mathematical and scientific thinking, and the joy of learning. Decades of research have shown that pre-K helps prepare children for success in school and in life. Visit MeckPreK.org to apply A lifetime of learning starts at MECK Pre-K!

 

For Families of Younger Children:

Do you have a child who is not old enough for pre-K this year? Sign up for our email list and be notified when they're eligible for MECK Pre-K, a high-quality, free pre-K program open to all four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County. Simply go to MeckPreK.org/future-meck-pre-k-students and select your child’s age group. Children who participate in pre-K experience growth in social and emotional skills, language and literacy abilities, mathematical and scientific thinking, and the joy of learning. Decades of research have shown that pre-K helps prepare children for success in school and in life. A lifetime of learning starts at MECK Pre-K!




Church-Bulletin-Content-MECK-Pre-K
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LEARN HOW TO VOTE FOR YOUR LIFE! in Fifteen Minutes or Less -- Premier of the Third Module


The Importance of Precincts

 

Join AMP for the third module, in a series of seven, in our civic education presentations.  In 15 minutes or less, you’ll learn all about Precincts: what they are, how to find your precinct, why it’s important for you to participate in your Precinct, how political parties utilize Precincts, why it’s important for Precincts to be organized, and more. 

 

Please share this notice with every voter you know as we need your support to get as many voters as possible to the polls.  Share with members of your organization, friends, and family, particularly younger people. If you are interested in sponsoring their work, please reach out.

 

Attached is a brief overview of AMP's Voter Education Project.

 

 

(Non-Facebook subscribers:  If when you sign on you get a box requesting information, simply click on the "X" to close)

 

Upcoming trainings will include:

●       NC state elections

●       Judicial

●       federal





February 13th 12-4. job fair for employers or potential employees. It will be at CPCC Central Campus.



PRESBYTERIAN & PLURALIST WEEK @ QUEENS


Adrian Bird | birda@queens.edu


Belk Chapel of Queens University invites you to join in the annual Presbyterian & Pluralist week which features a variety of speakers and events from a rich diversity of perspectives. MeckMIN’s own LeDayne McLeese Polaski will be one of the speakers this year.

 

Register for specific events HERE

 

Imam Abdullah Antepli will receive the Stan Greenspon Upstander Award

Imam Abdullah Antepli will be receiving the 2024 Stan Greenspon Upstander Award which is bestowed upon an individual who has taken great risks and exhibits great courage in responding to hate. His speech that night will be titled, “To Heal Our Broken World: The Role of Interfaith Efforts in Uniting Us.” The program will take place on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 7:00 pm at Queens University.

 

This program is part of Queens University Presbyterian and Pluralist Week –  a week of events that showcase Queens’ broad reach that embraces people of all faiths and world views.  During this week we offer a range of opportunities to showcase diverse religious and spiritual voices. We explore the intersectional realities of religious and spiritual life at Queens and the wider community. A dessert reception will follow the program.

 

Imam Abdullah Antepli is a globally-acknowledged scholar and leader of cross-religious and cross-cultural dialogue in American higher education and in the non-profit world.  His Muslim Leadership Initiative helps young Muslim American leaders understand Judaic and Israeli studies and cultivates compassion in the face of fear and hate.  He has built multiple organizations that facilitate religious and spiritual life on America’s college campuses, sowing seeds of understanding between religions, while upholding their cultural integrity and dignity. He writes regularly on religious and cultural issues, contributing his vibrant voice in national and international media on this crucial area of public affairs. As a Muslim-American Imam and one of the few scholars bridging faith, ethics and public policy, and as someone who was born in Turkey, and has lived in three different countries, Abdullah Antepli offers the academic world an important element of intellectual, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity.

 

Professor Antepli is Vice President and Provost of Community engagement at Duke University with a dual faculty appointments at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and Divinity School as associate professor of the practice of religion, politics and interfaith relations.

 

From 1996-2003 he worked on a variety of faith-based humanitarian and relief projects in Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia with the Association of Social and Economic Solidarity with Pacific Countries. From 2003 to 2005 he served as the first Muslim chaplain at Wesleyan University. He then moved to Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, where he was the associate director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program & Interfaith Relations, as well as an adjunct faculty member.

 

Imam Antepli previously served as Duke University’s first Muslim chaplain and director of Center for Muslim Life from July 2008 to 2014, and then as Duke’s chief representative for Muslim affairs from July 2014 to 2019. He was also the associate director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center from 2014 to 2015. Professor Antepli is also a senior fellow on Jewish-Muslim Relations at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, where he founded and co-directs the widely recognized Muslim Leadership Initiative. The NonProfit Times recognized Imam Antepli as one of their Power & Influence Top 50 leaders of 2019, calling him one of the most prominent Muslim leaders in higher education today. As a Muslim-American imam and one of the few scholars bridging faith, ethics, and public policy, and as someone who was born in Turkey and has lived in three different countries, Antepli offers the academic world an important element of intellectual, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity.

 

Imam Abdullah Antepli was honored by the Anti-Defamation League with the 2022 Daniel Pearl Award.

 

This program is sponsored by the Belk Chapel at Queens University, the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center at Queens University, and the Queens Hillel/Jewish Life Program.  The program will be free and open to the public. Click here to RSVP.

 

“It is critical that we continue to cultivate dialogue, understanding, and respect between the Jewish and Muslim communities. The Quran teaches Muslims that all of humanity is one umma (community) and that we have a divine imperative to get to know each other across differences (ta’āruf).

 

As we see so much violence in the world today, the most important weapon against violence and extremism is to humanize the other. This is a critical struggle with which we must all engage. 

 

Muslims and Jews share many common values, which we should do more to highlight. Muslims recognize Judaism as emerging from the same spiritual wellspring as Islam. The Qur’an affirms the Torah as God’s revelation to humanity and describes it as a source of guidance and light. Most of the 25 prophets identified in the Qur’an are biblical prophets, whom Muslims revere and respect as the best of creation.”

 



ROOF ABOVE



Charlotte City Council will soon discuss and vote on issuing criminal citations or arresting people who violate the following ordinances:



On February 12th city council will vote on criminal ordinances and citations around unauthorized people in parking lots and loitering etc.  Some of these are of concern because if we had adequate housing there would not be these issues. Want to address the city council about this. Ordinances are likely to pass but want to voice that issues go away if adequately funding housing fund etc.  Looking for public bathrooms, and effective addressing of affordable housing and outreach teams. etc.  Consider the need for a specialized shelter for those who have severe mental health issues.  Please show up and voice. Contact Joe if you want to get involved.







 

Melanie L. Edwards, MSW, MIA, LCSWA, 704-910-5810,


Hope Clinic works with refugee and migrant community.  They provide integrated physical and mental health care and case management. They will be sponsoring training through opiate prevention funding. The training will be Feb 28-March 1 at the clinic from 9-5. it is open to any member of the public. Focus is on how do we create trauma informed spaces for all community members. Limited to 25 participants.

 

 


 

POSITION AVAILABLE: LEARNING HELP CENTERS OF CHARLOTTE


Tanya Varinelli


Looking for first bilingual program director

LHC mission provides school emotional and other support to immigrant families. Christian centered and 98% Hispanic clients. Full description HERE  


 


Apparo's 2024 CHARLOTTE MISSION POSSIBLE


Registration for Apparo's 2024 Charlotte Mission Possible program is open now through March 3rd. Registration is limited to the first 20 nonprofits!


Click HERE to access Apparo's Mission Impossible Award

 

Do you have an idea for bolstering economic mobility through nonprofit technology? Do you need professional support to help turn your idea into reality? Tap into innovative, pro bono technology and process improvement consulting with the Mission Possible Award Program. One lucky organization will win and receive $10,000 in cash and up to $50,000 of consulting support.

 

Interested nonprofits should register for the information session on March 1st.

 



CAROLINAS PANTHERS CHARITIES GRANT APPLICATION

Carolinas Panthers Charities grant application is open. Nonprofits are able to apply for up to $10,000.


Click HERE to access the Carolina Panthers Grant Application

 



LEARNING BY GIVING PHILANTHROPY GRANTS

Learning by Giving Philanthropy grants are open for Spring 2024. The students in the Davidson College “Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Sector” course will allocate six grants totaling $20,000 to eligible non-profits in the Charlotte area and in rural NC.


Click HERE to access the Davidson College Learning by Giving Grant Application




APPLY FOR LOWE'S REVITALIZATION PROGRAM

 

Lowe's is accepting nominations for its Hometowns program now through Feb. 19. Now in its third year, the program revitalizes community spaces such as food pantries and playgrounds.

 

Lowe’s Hometowns will be accepting nominations for signature project grants through February 19, 2024. To nominate a project, please use the form below. Do not enter more than one nomination per project - nominating a project multiple times will not increase the likelihood of a project being selected.

 

As you complete your nomination, please keep in mind the following:

●       All nominations must be submitted by February 19, 2024 at 11:59pm ET.

●       Grants must be used to make physical improvements to a community space.

●       Grants must go to a local nonprofit, school or city/municipality that is willing and able to lead the project.

●       If you are unsure if your project qualifies, please see the Program Terms and Conditions and check out Past Projects

●       While completing the nomination form, please type your answers directly into the response boxes. Do not copy and paste your responses from an outside source or program.


Submit a Lowe's Hometown Project Nomination HERE

 

Lowe’s is investing $100 million to restore and revitalize community spaces across the country through the Lowe’s Hometowns program. Each year through 2026 Lowe’s selects 100 large-scale community projects, chosen from consumer nominations, to be completed in partnership with local nonprofits, Lowe’s store associates and community volunteers. Additionally, nearly 1,700 additional projects are selected and completed by Lowe’s stores, supply chain and store support centers across the country.

 

At Lowe’s, we have an unwavering commitment to making homes – and hometowns - better for all. Over the last 100 years, Lowe’s has grown from a small-town hardware store in North Carolina to one of the largest home improvement retailers in the world. The company’s heritage puts the communities we serve at the heart of everything we do.  https://corporate.lowes.com/our-responsibilities/nomination-form-2024

 



COMMUNITY HEALTH GRANT APPLICATION & RULES


Grant applications for 2024 funding may be submitted through the application deadline of February 15, 2024.


Application submissions will be reviewed and due diligence conducted by Healthy Charlotte Alliance’s Grants Committee, after which, a slate of finalists will be presented to a group of voting members for final grant selection.

Grant recipients will be notified in April and awards will be made in May at the Alliance’s 2024 annual meeting.

Guidelines – Request for Funds

1.      Healthy Charlotte Alliance will consider only proposals that will promote charitable, scientific, and educational healthcare needs of Mecklenburg County.

2.      Our four priority health issues are mental health, access to care, chronic disease prevention and violence prevention.

3.      The application is open only to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.

4.      Grant requests should be in the range of $10,000-$50,000.

5.      Only applications that directly benefit residents of Mecklenburg County will be considered.

Request Rules

1.      Organizations that received a grant in 2023 are NOT eligible for a grant in 2024.

2.      Grant applications should include a quantitative way to measure the success of the program and impact in the community.

3.      Grant awards will be unrestricted funds and may be used to meet the nonprofit’s greatest need, clearly stated in the application. However, the applicant agrees to inform Healthy Charlotte Alliance immediately if there is any substantial, material change in the use of funds, with the understanding that the grant funds may be requested to be returned.

4.      The applicant agrees to submit a report on the use of funds and actual outcomes by June 1, 2025.



THE NATHAN CUMMINGS FOUNDATION

Geographic scope: United States, including U.S. territories, with a particular interest in the U.S. South

Grant amount: $50,000 to $250,000 for grants and $200,000 to $500,000 for program-related investments

 

The Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF) is a multigenerational family foundation working to help create a more just, vibrant, sustainable, and democratic society by supporting social change movements, organizations, and entrepreneurs. Support is provided in the United States, including U.S. territories, with particular interest in work focused on the U.S. South. NCF is currently accepting applications for grants and program-related investments that align with the following interconnected focus areas: racial justice, including work that fosters civic engagement, addresses the racial wealth gap, and combats racism and oppression; economic justice, including work that fosters systemic economic security, increases access to capital, and combats monopoly power; and environmental justice, including work that addresses environmental harms, creates inclusive participation in the green economy, and develops regenerative economic models.




REALTOR'S CARE DAY OF SERVICE

Millicent E. Powell | Millicent.Powell@charlottenc.gov | 704-622-2020

NEIGHBORHOOD ENGAGEMENT SERVICE TEAM, HOUSING & NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES


If you are interested in receiving assistance for exterior home repairs and rehab please complete the attached application for the Realtor’s Care Day of Service.  The Realtor’s Care program assists with exterior home projects only.  Examples of projects include exterior painting, wood repair, deck repair/staining, gutter clean outs, landscaping, yard waste, caulking, cleaning out storage buildings, building wheelchair ramps and more.  The homes must be 1 story.  The day for service is Friday, April 19, 2024.  Again, it is only for one day.  If you reside in the Southwest Service Area applications must be submitted to me by Wednesday, February 28th.  If you get the applications to a designated person in your neighborhood, I will pick them up or you can drop them off at Old City Hall at the front desk by the 28th.  My office is located at 600 East Trade St. Charlotte NC 28202.  See attached criteria and application.

 

Please keep in mind this is a selection process.  The Realtor’s Care Team will review the applications and select homeowners that meet their criteria.  You will be notified by a Realtor’s Care Team member if your application has been selected.  For more information, I can be reached at 704-622-2020.


Homeowner Project Application - 2024
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Download DOC • 80KB

Homeowner Criteria - 2024
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Download DOC • 68KB




FREE NONPROFIT EDUCATION and OPPORTUNITIES

 

North Carolina nonprofits interested in ensuring their ability to serve by improving their organization’s cybersecurity are invited to apply now through February 8th for Apparo’s Bank of America Cybersecurity Resilience Cohort. There are three main components to the cohort program: Cybersecurity Training, Organizational Cybersecurity Assessment, and Cybersecurity Resilience planning. This is a virtual cohort program that will run from March 5th, through May 2024



 

3. General Information



GIVE KIDS A SMILE DAY





Mecklenburg County Public Health in partnership with Central Piedmont Community College will host Give Kids A Smile Day, a dental care delivery day with health services, educational awareness, and interactive activities for kids of families who are uninsured and underserved. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the CPCC Uptown Campus. Please register by Feb. 15.

 

Note: Patient forms will be available onsite during the event in English and Spanish.

 



INCREASING AWARENESS ABOUT THE WIC PROGRAM


The following is a joint letter from the Directors of the USDA and HHS Centers for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Click here for the full text of the letter. 

 

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), we write to highlight the vital role that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) plays to support the health and well-being of moms, young children, and babies nationwide. We firmly believe that no child should go hungry in America, and we ask that you amplify the importance of WIC among your faith-based community partners and congregations.

 

WIC remains one of the nation’s most successful, cost-effective public health nutrition programs and serves nearly half of our nation’s babies, along with millions of young children up to age 5 and their mothers. WIC provides healthy food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, along with critical health and social services referrals. WIC participants are also more likely to have a more nutritious diet and better health outcomes. Participation in WIC is tied to fewer infant deaths, fewer premature births, increased birth weights, and lower health care costs.

 

WIC is a vital tool towards advancing health equity, food, and nutrition security, and is a key component in the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to providing America’s children with an opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has been able to target federal dollars to prioritize WIC outreach , improve the WIC shopping experience, invest in and diversify the WIC workforce, and enhance technology and service delivery. As WIC participation continues to increase, the Biden-Harris Administration has asked Congress to fund WIC at the level needed to support this increased participation.

 

To learn more about WIC, please visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic or reach out and we can connect you to local partners to learn more about its impact directly in your community.

 

How YOU can help? To maximize WIC’s reach faith and community leaders can:

 

●       Spread the word about WIC and where to find local WIC offices through your daily interactions with your community and through your formal sermons, homilies, or other speaking engagements

●       Connect where possible with WIC Community Innovation and Outreach (CIAO) Project Grantees in your communities (we can help make the connection if helpful!).

 

Each of you have an important voice and role as we work together toward ensuring that moms, young children, and babies have the food and nutrition they need to live a healthy life.




FREE VIRTUAL PEER SUPPORT GROUP FOR ALL AGES



Living Well in the Community is a 10-week virtual workshop made for people with disabilities, facilitated by people with disabilities designed to help you reach your goals for living well with information, peer support, and group activities.


This evidence-based workshop curriculum is made up of 10 sessions on the following topics: Goal Setting, Building Support, Healthy Reactions, Staying on Course, Healthy Communication, Seeking Information, Eating Well, Physical Activity, Advocacy & Maintenance.





Dr. JEMAR TISBY at Covenant

I’m delighted to invite the whole MeckMIN community to attend the Dr. Jemar Tisby keynote event at Covenant on Saturday, February 10.


Dr. Tisby’s keynote lecture will center on the white Christian nationalism movement and the threat that it poses to both the Church and society at large. The event begins at Covenant at 9am and will wrap up at 11am with a book signing reception. Dr. Tisby’s books will be available for purchase following the keynote, both The Color of Compromise and How To Fight Racism. There is neither a fee nor a RSVP link—simply come as you are! We are expecting a large turnout, so if there is no more parking in the Covenant parking lot, park at our neighbors, Primax and Spangler. Unfortunately, the keynote will not be livestreamed or recorded, so we hope that you join us for this unique in-person opportunity to hear from a leading scholar in religion and race.




The 2024 Youth Leadership Forum (NCYLF) delegate applications are now open for youth and young adults ages 15-30 years old. The event is July 20th through the 24th, and will be held at NC State University in Raleigh. The NCYLF is completely accessible and free to all participants.






YOUTH LEAD NC




NCYLF is a program hosted by the non-profit organization Youth LEAD NC that helps to foster emerging youth and young adult leaders, teaching them to advocate for themselves and in their communities. The NCYLF  is unlike a summer camp in that it focuses its activities on developing leadership and communication skills throughout the week. It’s an opportunity to network, meet other people with varying disabilities, and share their perspectives and experiences with others.



The NCYLF aims to support today’s young people in their transition process.  This can include transitioning from high school to college, college to work, moving out of parents home, or any other transition phase that may be taking place.



All applications are due no later than March 1, 2024! Please request an appointment for help filling out your application no later than 2 weeks before applications are due, February 16th.


Apply HERE


For questions or help with filling out the application, please contact Meredith Huml, our Program Coordinator at 919-213-0175, or at meredith@youthleadnc.org! Please text or email to set up a phone call.



You can also contact Meredith if you would like to volunteer in-person at YLF or help out in a different way! There are many opportunities to be involved with the YLF.



Please spread the word with your networks in case anyone you know may be interested! Thank you very much.




WHERE CAN I DONATE MY STUFF?

The GOOD list

●       Women's Clothing

●       Men's Clothing

●       Kid's Clothing

●       Baby Items

●       Car Seats

●       Diapers

●       Toys

●       Books for Children

●       Books for Adults

●       Games (with all pieces)

●       Sports Equipment

●       Bicycles

●       School Supplies

●       Craft Supplies

●       Art

●       Household Furniture

●       Household Goods

●       Mattresses

●       Kitchen Supplies

●       Handheld Electronics

●       Healthcare Equipment

●       Office Supplies

●       Office Furniture

●       Printers

●       Computers

●       Blankets

●       Sheets/Linens

●       Animal Items

●       Boats & Cars

●       Landscaping Items

●       Tools

●       Emergency Supplies

 

Share Charlotte has a Donation Guide

 



FAFSA RESOURCES


ANA SILVA REY | (O) 704-552-1003, (C) 704.293-0482

Executive Director, Latin Americans Working for Achievement (LAWA)

FAFSA presentation in SPANISH

 

 

FAFSA Line-by-line Walkthrough

 

Slides


Parent FAFSA Line by Line Slides
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Download PPTX • 44.93MB




CONFRONTING ANTISEMITISM & ISLAMOPHOBIA AS CHAPLAINS



When: Thursday, February 8, Noon–1:00 PM ET

Where: Online Via Zoom Register HERE

 

In the wake of the conflict in Israel and Gaza, Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, The National Association of Catholic Chaplains, The Association of Professional Chaplains, The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and The Canadian Association for Spiritual Care in collaboration with The Association of Muslim Chaplains, have created a task force to address the growing antisemitism and anti-Muslim bias we are witnessing throughout the world.

 

The goal of the task force is to provide a platform of support to members of their organizations to help them navigate this difficult reality in their work as chaplains/spiritual care clinicians. During this lunch and learn we will hear from members of the task force about the purpose of their partnership and how they are working to support chaplains and spiritual care providers as they seek resources to address antisemitism and Islamophobia in their work.



 


NAVIGATING DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS WORKSHOP

ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST


Has the unfolding Middle East crisis  left you wondering how to approach family, friends, and colleagues directly or indirectly impacted by this crisis?

Navigating Difficult Conversations is a workshop to help you practice skills for engaging with sensitive and challenging topics. 


Develop skills to bring empathy,  understanding, and curiosity to conversations you have or facilitate about the Middle East.


Share stories and learn tips for honest and authentic exchanges, whether at home or in the workplace. Learn alternative ways to invite meaningful dialogue that doesn't lead to conflict.

Join a diverse group of participants guided by these expert Interfaith Philadelphia facilitators: 



Register HERE for the February 15th on-line training

 




OTHERS ON THE CALL (as time allows)


 

PRAYER FOR NONPROFIT LEADERS


I want you to know that you can stop trying to earn what is already yours: your dignity, your beauty, your lovability. – Nadia Bolz-Weber 

 




Next meeting:


Thursday, February 15 at 11 a.m.