Charlotte Bridge Home: PMA’s Nonprofit of the Month for March
Each month, the PMA Blog will feature a nonprofit that is doing exceptional work locally, in our broader region or nationally. The selected nonprofit will typically feature programming that is timely and speaks to issues facing us all.
This month’s Nonprofit of the Month is Charlotte Bridge Home (CBH), a Charlotte organization providing services and programs to a portion of the 85,000 veterans age 18 to 64 in the region.
CBH is quickly establishing itself as a model organization in the nation’s fight to honor these brave and underserved men and women. Specifically, CBH helps Charlotte veterans successfully transition home after military service by identifying their education, employment and healthcare needs and connecting them to available community, state and federal resources. The 2012 Southern Spring Show First Night Gala to benefit CBH served as an official launch for the organization.
With so many local nonprofits engaged in these endeavors – from lifting soldiers’ morale to financial assistance for food, rent, utilities, career advancement and medical expenses – our philanthropists may be wondering how they will ever focus their resources of time, talent and treasure? However, CBH has made major waves of late, being credited with inspiring national leaders and positioning itself on the receiving end of a wide-ranging veterans job effort that has been “seen in no other community,” as noted in a recent Charlotte Observer article.
Last year, CBH led the charge with guidance and money from Foundation for the Carolinas – leading to a $50,000 grant. Part of those funds were used to assess the problems facing vets with a collection of solutions also included in the community report.
Now, the Charlotte Veterans Employment Initiative has been launched by Wells Fargo and Goodrich charitable foundations. The initiative, which has a $1 million fundraising goal by Memorial Day, seeks to bring educators, nonprofit groups, and companies together to get vets trained and into lasting careers.
CBH, which is credited with being the inspiration for the initiative, will get a portion of the funds raised in order to further enhance veteran support. Veterans’ Services at Central Piedmont Community College will also receive money – the college currently has 2,200 enrolled veterans.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the need for veteran services will only continue to be in high demand. An estimated 4,000 more veterans are expected to move to Charlotte with the Iraq war ending and drawdowns in Afghanistan. Some 3,100 Mecklenburg County veterans are looking for work, with the numbers being closer to 9,000 regionally.
As outlined in a recent Whitehouse press release, the President is calling for an initiative to put returning veterans back to work. Yet, CBH and many other nonprofits in the sector are relying solely on local, private funders including, but not limited to individuals, corporations, foundations, congregations and associations. Moving forward, CBH will need to continue cultivating private sector funders for direct financial assistance, but also leverage their passion and connections to drive advocacy in the public sector and inspire a sustainable stream of public funding for those programs that align with the vision of the current administration.