With New Grants, United Way Shifts Focus To Neighborhoods

Jun 7, 2018

United Way of Central Carolinas announced $24.5 million in new grants Thursday, and the list has a different look from years past. The agency is shifting some funding to initiatives to improve economic opportunity and mobility.

Its major focus will be on two neighborhoods – Renaissance West, off West Boulevard, and Grier Heights, off Randolph Road.

Meanwhile,  the United Way is also trimming staff to reduce its own budget and reliance on reserve funds for operations.  A spokesman said 13 positions have been eliminated – four vacant and nine existing jobs. That leaves the organization with 47 full time staff.


The 41-acre Renaissance West site was once a poverty- and crime-filled housing project called Boulevard Homes. It was torn down in 2011 to make way for the $100 million redevelopment.

“The neighborhood was built out in phases, so what you see here is Phase I, which also includes a senior residence that has 110 units,” Mack McDonald, CEO of the Renaissance West Community Initiative, which oversees community services in the new neighborhood, said. “Then Phase 2, which was apartments, and Phase 3, which was townhomes. So the last phase was completed in the summer of 2016,”

There’s also the Howard Levine Child Development Center that opened in February and a CMS public school – the Renaissance West STEAM Academy – which is finishing its first school year this week.

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