Reach Out and Recover
In late 2009 several civic leaders, including Foundation For The Carolinas President and CEO Michael Marsicano, convened to learn about The Benefit Bank of North Carolina. From that beginning Project Reach Out and Recover (ROAR), a Center for Civic Leadership initiative, was formed to fast track the implementation of The Benefit Bank in Charlotte as an incremental effort to the statewide launch led by Connectinc.
The Benefit Bank® is an online service that connects low and moderate income people with more of the $1.8 billion in work supports that are unclaimed every year in North Carolina. Counselors at Benefit Bank sites are hosted by a variety of community based, faith based and other types of organizations. These counselors pose questions to clients prompted by the online service, which uses the answers to help clients complete and submit forms to claim tax credits, public benefits and student financial aid. These supports are proven to reduce poverty, increase employment and improve welfare-to-work success ratios. They also bring valuable federal dollars to be spent locally here in the Charlotte region.
Project ROAR and Connectinc. are partnering with the state of North Carolina to create jobs by inviting local organizations to become participating employers in the North Carolina Neighbors Helping Neighbors project. With new funds from the “80/20” TANF Emergency Contingency Fund under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , the project places subsidized employees as Benefit Bank counselors with community-based and workforce development organizations, community colleges and schools to launch and implement outreach using The Benefit Bank.
In addition to being highly leveraged (for every dollar raised locally, four matching federal dollars are available,) the North Carolina Neighbors Helping Neighbors project will create much-needed jobs at a time when employment is scarce. Serving as a counselor for The Benefit Bank of North Carolina will provide work and income for low-income residents, as well as valuable on-the-job training in client service and technology skills that are transferable to future employment.
To date, the project has received funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Leon Levine Foundation, the Duke Energy Foundation, Bank of America, Sally and Russell Robinson, Foundation For The Carolinas and the C.D. Spangler Foundation.
For more information please contact the Project Manager, Lisa Macdonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704.973.4546.