Crosland Foundation Supports Community Catalyst Fund Initiative


The Community Catalyst Fund, a Center for Civic Leadership initiative of Foundation For The Carolinas, continues to strengthen our nonprofit sector. Guided by a committee of community leaders, the initiative is dedicated to providing the nonprofit sector with support for strategic transformations to promote long-term sustainability – including innovative service models, collaborations, partnerships and mergers.

A unique partnership between the Community Catalyst Fund and the Crosland Foundation recently funded a merger that created Charlotte Family Housing, an innovative solution for family homelessness in the greater Charlotte community.

The Crosland Foundation is a supporting organization of Foundation For The Carolinas. Created by real estate developer John Crosland, Jr. and family, one of the foundation’s primary goals is providing housing for the less fortunate. In July 2011, the Crosland Foundation awarded a two-to-one $35,000 challenge grant to the Community Catalyst Fund that resulted in a $105,000 award to implement the merger of Workforce Initiative for Supportive Housing (WISH), Charlotte Emergency Housing, and Family Promise to create Charlotte Family Housing, the area’s only nonprofit with a sole mission focus of helping working families facing homelessness. The three merged organizations were each past recipients of grants from the Crosland Foundation.

Charlotte experienced a 36 percent rise in family homelessness in 2010, the second highest jump among cities studied in a national survey, and the number is expected to continue to grow. Former head of WISH and now Charlotte Family Housing executive director Darren Ash noted, “We kept seeing more and more homeless families coming to us for service, and we were unable to meet the need. Charlotte was getting caught off guard by the magnitude of the issue.”

Charlotte Family Housing is projected to serve more than 600 people in its inaugural year, utilizing an innovative continuum of care model that provides supportive, transitional shelter and affordable permanent housing for its families. Social workers provide intensive, family-focused care and support to clients as a means of empowering families to achieve financial independence and self-reliance. Brian Collier, senior vice president of community philanthropy) for Foundation For The Carolinas, believes Charlotte Family Housing “will rewrite the book on how to help homeless families.”