© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
A skyline that sprouts new buildings at a dizzying pace. Neighborhoods dotted with new breweries and renovated mills. Thousands of new apartments springing up beside light rail lines. The signs of Charlotte’s booming prosperity are everywhere. But that prosperity isn’t spread evenly. And from Charlotte’s “corridors of opportunity,” it can seem a long way off, more like a distant promise than the city’s reality.

Foundation For The Carolinas makes grants to businesses in vulnerable communities

Beatties Ford Rd.jpg
Sarah Delia
On June 22, 2020, four people died when shots were fired into a crowd on Beatties Ford Road. Multiple others were injured.

The Beyond Open grant initiative looks to help build businesses located within Charlotte’s six Corridors of Opportunity — lower-income areas with a majority of residents of color, where the city is focusing $109 million worth of investments.

Foundation For the Carolinas said Friday that it has completed the first of three grantmaking rounds with its new Beyond Open small business grant program, giving money to dozens of local companies.

“We are grateful for each and every diverse small business owner who applied in Round 1 and shared their abundant talents, ingenuity and dedication,” said Tracy Russ, special advisor for civic initiatives at FFTC.

“Their very strong participation created an extremely competitive selection process. We are thankful to Wells Fargo for the leadership and generous resources that have made Beyond Open possible.”


tip jar

As a nonprofit newsroom, WFAE relies on readers like you to make stories like this possible. Our local reporting is vital to the health of our communities and our democracy, but we can’t do this without you. Please consider supporting our journalism by contributing as little as $10 today.

The program has awarded $5.9 million to 178 diverse-owned small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Grants are between $5,000-$250,000 and do not have to be repaid.

The grantees in the first round are a variety of small businesses that include brick-and-mortar retailers, transportation, construction, catering and restaurants and more.

Among the first round of recipients:

· 90% identify as a person of color, including 76% Black, 7% Hispanic/Latino, 4% Asian, 2% American Indian/Alaskan Native, 1% two or more races.

· 72% identify as located within or near/adjacent to one of the six Corridors of Opportunity.

· 60% identify as women.

· 13% identify as LGBTQ.

· 8% identify as veterans.

The next rounds of grants will be announced later this year and in 2024. More information about future rounds is available at beyondopentclt.com

Kenny is a Maryland native who began his career in media as a sportswriter at Tuskegee University, covering SIAC sports working for the athletic department and as a sports correspondent for the Tuskegee Campus Digest. Following his time at Tuskegee, he was accepted to the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program as a Marketing Intern for The NASCAR Foundation in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2017.