Amid an incredibly difficult year, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte faced unforeseeable changes to its organization as a result of COVID-19. When the pandemic reached Charlotte in March 2020, the YMCA was confronted with a projected loss of millions in revenue and the elimination of several full-time positions.
“Every aspect of our business model had to be rethought and reimagined,” explained Maggie Keller, YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s Financial Development Administrator. “We’ve adapted programs for virtual and hybrid learning, strictly enhanced our safety standards in accordance with the CDC, and established robust programs for food shares, mental health, technology training, and so much more.”
Even with unpredictable obstacles, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte stayed committed to eliminating racial disparities and creating opportunities for underserved populations to access resources and programming to thrive. With economic challenges, the organization applied for a Workforce Partners Support Grant from the City of Charlotte.
The YMCA of Greater Charlotte used COVID-19 relief funding to provide technology to support training at four branches to serve those who need it most.
Among the technology equipment purchased with the grant: tablets, projectors, printers, toner, Chromebooks, charging carts, wired mics, and headphones with mics. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is determined to reach at least 300 individuals as the organization works to respond to the digital divide gap.
“Without this technology, we would be unable to provide the level of support through training and resources to the community that we have planned,” Keller said. “Due to our unforeseen budget restraints, without this funding, the needed technology offerings would not be possible.”
The funding also helped the YMCA of Greater Charlotte reach more of the Charlotte area community. The organization also intends to host virtual workshops and career information sessions where the new technology will allow more people access to their programs.
“Thanks to the City of Charlotte’s generous funding, we can include those who do not have technology or internet at home,” Keller said. “This technology will assist us in our objectives around reaching the community where they are and providing a safe haven for learning and exploration.”
As the YMCA of the Greater Charlotte continues to build on its mission of providing resources, the organization is pleased to see a positive response from the community.
The funding gave the YMCA of the Greater Charlotte the opportunity to work with community members who are looking for opportunities to search for jobs and get career readiness training.
“We are proud that members of the community have confidence in us to be a place where we can champion skill development and career readiness,” Keller said. “With the support of this grant, we can provide resources and support to individuals who need these opportunities.”
The YMCA of the Greater Charlotte understands the importance of providing technology and resources to provide a positive impact on its community and the organization intends to continue building off this work in the future.
“Our organization recognizes there is a gap that must be filled in digital access space to empower those we serve who are seeking employment and training opportunities,” Keller said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only widened this gap and made the need to provide these opportunities even greater.”
From planning a safe job fair to expanding opportunities beyond youth to provide more training, coaching sessions, and resources to all ages — the YMCA of the Greater Charlotte is eager to continue adapting its programs and resources to help those impacted by the global pandemic.
YMCA of Greater Charlotte received a Workforce Partners Support Grant from Charlotte Open For Business. Through the grant program, the City of Charlotte has awarded $3.5 million to workforce partners to provide programs for our community.