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Community Combines Forces to Raise Funds in Crisis

A $1 million gift from the Levine Foundation kicked off a new fundraising effort today aimed at Charlotte's growing need for emergency food and shelter. It's a duplication of fundraisers already underway, but community leaders hope it sends a message. "We want people to move through the hardship of giving to where they feel great joy in giving, beyond what they've done," says Michael Marsicano, director of the Foundation for the Carolinas. "We're not setting a goal. We're asking people to just give until it feels really good." The Crisis Assistance Center in Charlotte has been fundraising around the clock to keep up with a forty-percent increase in requests for emergency help with rent and utility bills. Director Carol Hardison says donations aren't keeping pace with the economic recession. So she's pleased to see a new community-wide fundraising effort take shape with support from the United Way, Mecklenburg Ministries and the Chamber of Commerce: "When your faith leaders, your government leaders and your business leaders stand up and say this is an emergency, the community will respond," says Hardison. Crisis Assistance Ministry received one of the first $100,000 grants from the new Critical Need Response Fund today. County Manager Harry Jones will co-lead the temporary fund to plug gaps in need through the winter. Rather than drawing donations away from nonprofit agencies, Jones hopes the effort will motivate people to donate more than usual. Donations to the Critical Need Response Fund can be made through the Foundation for the Carolinas website at www.fftc.org.