Helping nonprofit partners build a better world.

Our EmpoWWer program allows us to use our gifts for good.

EmpoWWer is our service-grant program, created to support 501(c)(3) community initiatives and continue our tradition of giving back. Framed by three pillars — creativity, shelter and advancement — EmpoWWer provides deserving organizations with an opportunity to apply for resources of time and talent and use our building as an event space. EmpoWWer also gives all of our employees a chance to get involved in supporting important causes and formalizes a commitment to social responsibility Wray Ward has embraced since we opened our doors in 1977.

2022 EmpoWWer Grantees

The following organizations have been selected for EmpoWWer service grants for 2022: United Way of Central Carolinas, PFLAG, Charlotte Art League and Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays.

The EmpoWWer 2023 program will be open for applications November 1 through December 31, 2022. The review process for all EmpoWWer grants includes thorough evaluations by a committee, weighing the balance of partner needs with available agency resources. Read about the program pillars below and learn more about past EmpoWWer grant recipients and the programs we created together.

Our dedicated pillars reflect our personal passions and industry expertise to direct our community support initiatives.

Working with community partners to build something special.

Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

Through culturally relevant and appropriate programming, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool provides Spanish-speaking children with dual-language, multicultural early childhood education. Programming prepares children for grade school and familiarizes them with societal differences such as socioeconomic and linguistic backgrounds.

CltBP requested an EmpoWWer grant to get help with telling the story of their growth from local preschool to countywide provider of dual-language ECE programs and position themselves as a statewide expert. Wray Ward reviewed the existing CltBP graphic identity, messaging and website content and conducted stakeholder interviews to develop a strategic foundation. From that foundation came website redesign recommendations and collateral templates for supporting messages. Public relations and social media frameworks also were created, focusing on grassroots efforts to drive earned and shared media and to highlight CltBP as a prominent voice in ECE.

“Our biggest challenge right now is to change the perception of Charlotte Bilingual Preschool from a tiny, local school serving only a handful of children to a strong, organized voice in the early education field. We asked Wray Ward to develop both the language needed for funding opportunities and a graphic identity that reflects our values and our ambition. Wray Ward has been instrumental in helping us define our mission and transforming the organization from the inside out."

Banu Valladares, Executive Director, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

We Rock Charlotte

We Rock Charlotte, formerly known as Girls Rock Charlotte, works to empower girls, women and gender-diverse individuals through music and film education. During summer music camps, attendees form bands and learn to write and perform original songs. A summer film camp teaches screenwriting, storyboarding, directing, editing and camera work. Campers also learn about societal and cultural matters including feminism, inclusive language and identity.

Girls Rock Charlotte applied for an EmpoWWer grant because it needed a brand that better reflected the inclusivity of its campers and volunteers, mission and values. After in-depth insights work, Wray Ward renamed and rebranded the organization to We Rock Charlotte, a name that is inclusive in terms of gender and identity, and also encompasses family, supporters and the community. A communications strategy including public relations, event and social media recommendations gave We Rock Charlotte ideas for amplification of their message. A local paid media campaign and recommendations for photography, videography and website design were provided as supporting elements.

“Oftentimes, when you receive a reward or grant, it is someone funding your efforts and individual passions within your organization. What Wray Ward and the EmpoWWer program are offering is a collaboration that you often do not get with grantors. You don't feel alone. You feel truly listened to, and we felt like we had a partner in this process. We felt like someone was guiding us and also encouraging us to really expand our thinking and get brave about an exciting new change. We didn’t just receive the reward; we received a new friend in our community and that’s been such a heartwarming gift for any nonprofit. We’re so thankful.”

Kelly Finley, Founder and Executive Director, Girls Rock Charlotte

Hospitality House of Charlotte

When people travel to Charlotte for life-saving medical care, the last thing they need to worry about is the expense of lodging and meals. Hospitality House of Charlotte eliminates that worry by offering an affordable, comfortable place to stay for patients and their families. Located close to the hospital and other medical care providers, HHOC offers the comforts of home so guests can focus on the health and recovery of themselves or their loved ones.

HHOC received an EmpoWWer grant to redesign its website and streamline access to educational resources and information for potential residents, donors, partners and volunteers. An audit and collective work session led to an updated site map and content outline that would help users easily find the information they need. Wray Ward also updated the site aesthetic with a warm color palette, photography and fonts. The redesign included WordPress templates so that HHOC can continue to edit their website as needed in the future.

In addition to the website work, a number of Wray Ward employees connected with HHOC on a personal level, becoming volunteers, donors and committee members.

“Receiving the EmpoWWer grant provided a professional and optimized website. Our project was handled with a curiosity and enthusiasm that is often absent when on the receiving end of a new relationship. This energy your team brought was infectious, and it had a motivating and energizing effect on our entire organization. We are experiencing web traffic that goes beyond general interest to engagement and action. Our online donations, volunteer recruitment and young professionals membership have grown because people are able to intuitively navigate our site, to understand what we do and to see themselves working alongside us to make an impact in the community.”

– Angie Bush, Executive Director, Hospitality House of Charlotte