African American Community Foundation

The African American Community Foundation (AACF) facilitates grantmaking to nonprofit organizations addressing disparities experienced by Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s African American community.

The grant funds are made possible through the Lethia Henderson Fund Endowment and the Elizabeth S. Randolph African American Fund Endowment, both managed by Foundation For The Carolinas. The Henderson Fund was established in 1981 to support nonprofit programs and organizations with an emphasis on health and community service.  Ms. Henderson was an African American business woman and resident of the Beatties Ford Road Corridor.  The Randolph Fund was established in 1993 to foster philanthropy and to support non-profit programs and organizations that address African American concerns.  Ms. Randolph was a teacher and principal in Charlotte and also lived along the Beatties Ford Road Corridor.

Focus Areas

The AACF accepts grant applications from nonprofit organizations in three focus areas: Public Education Support, Health and Economic Development.

Focus area: Public Education Support

The AACF supports students in public elementary, middle and high schools, as well as programs serving students ages birth to 18 during out-of-school time.

K-12 Public Education Support Services 

The AACF seeks programs focusing on the following results:

  • Innovative and curriculum-based programs for underachieving students to achieve at or above grade level, with an emphasis on science, technology, English and math (STEM)
  • Students have access to and are provided the necessary support services to decrease the likelihood or occurrence of dropout indicators

Pre-K andOut-of-School Time for Students (ages birth to 18) 

The AACF seeks programs focusing on the following results:

  • Children and youth exhibiting positive behaviors during out-of-school hours through accessible, high quality pre-school, after-school, summer and extended day learning opportunities

Focus area: Health

The AACF also supports programs that address the health and nutrition of students ages birth to 18 and provide services for diseases that disproportionately effect African Americans. The Committee seeks programs focusing on the following results:

  • Innovative cultural and community-based interventions that reduce health disparities
  • Priority will be given to programs serving economically disadvantaged adults and families

Focus area: Economic Development 

The AACF also supports programs that provide business development and support for African American-owned businesses. The AACF seeks service providers focusing on the following results:

  • Providers offering training, counseling and technical assistance to increase the success of African American-owned businesses in Mecklenburg County
  • Providers offering expert and readily accessible assistance to prospective and existing small business owners and their employees

Areas Generally Not Funded Include:

  • Basic operating support except for professional development training leading to provider certifications or licensure
  • Endowment funds
  • Direct support of individuals; scholarships to private or parochial schools
  • Travel and conferences; publication of books
  • Projects that promote political or religious views
  • Purchase of equipment except for technology purchases directly related to delivering public education support programs


  • Grants are limited to eligible organizations for projects in or benefiting Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC.
  • A potential Grantee must be or have a fiscal sponsor that is either a United States-based private operating foundation, as defined in IRC § 4942(j)(3), or public charity, as defined in IRC § 509(a)(1), (2), or (3), which is tax exempt under IRC §501(c)(3).

2016 Grants

In 2016, approximately $20,000 was awarded to the following seven agencies benefitting Charlotte’s African American community:

  • Augustine's Literacy Project - $2,000
  • Catawba Riverkeeper - $2,417
  • Community School of the Arts - $1,000
  • Heart Tutoring - $2,000
  • Hidden Valley Youth Development Center - $2,500
  • Second Calvary Center for Community Development- $5,000
  • The Learning Collaborative - $3,500
  • The Vintage Foundation - $1,500

2017 Grant Cycle

The 2017 grant cycle is now closed. Visit the Onine Grants Center to get information about our next cycle and to determine if your grant project aligns with an interest area and geographic location of our grant program.

For More Information: Contact Qiana Austin, Vice President and Scholarship Program Officer, at or 704.973.4535.

For more information, contact:

Qiana Austin
Vice President
Community Programs & Civic Leadership