We’re working with these four community partners to build something special.

  • Categories:

    Community, Inspiration

  • Date:

    January 16, 2019

We’re working with these four community partners to build something special.


In August 2018, Wray Ward launched EmpoWWer, our service-grant program created to support 501(c)(3) community initiatives. This program, designed to fuel our creative spirit and our hunger for using our gifts for good, formalizes our agency’s rich history of social responsibility. Specifically, EmpoWWer supports organizations framed by one of three pillars: creativity, shelter and advancement.

EmpoWWer is a world-class initiative backed by a strong, experienced core team and fueled by an agencywide philanthropic spirit. And, it gives everyone under our roof a chance to get involved. Yes, we may design logos, but we may also provide deep insights for targeted strategies or next-level social media content or hardworking digital strategies.

EmpoWWer received 36 applications for support in 2019, underlining a vast need in the Charlotte community for small, grassroots organizations as well as established, well-staffed charities. These organizations’ missions, too, are varied, with representation across arts and culture, education and literary, technology, and health and human services. The bottom line? This city’s smart, savvy nonprofit leaders have important missions and big dreams, and they understand exactly where they need help to succeed. We’re glad to do our part.

As we reviewed each application, we considered questions like:

  • Does their mission align with one of our three pillars — creativity, shelter and advancement?
  • Do they have a significant sphere of influence?
  • Can they create substantial change in the community with our help?
  • Will the work happen without us?
  • Do they, along with other applicants, create a diverse group of partners — from population served and timing of need to nature of work requested?

I’m thrilled that our team will have the opportunity to support these four recipients of our inaugural EmpoWWer service grants:

  1. Digi-Bridge exists to ensure that all 21st-century learners have opportunities to succeed in the digital age. Working at the nexus of technology and education, Digi-Bridge designs holistic, community-led programs with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, education, arts and mathematics) disciplines.
  2. The Relatives serves the most vulnerable youth and young adults in Charlotte — young people who are homeless or in a crisis, many of whom have aged out of public systems such as foster care, juvenile justice and children’s mental health. Founded 44 years ago when church members grew concerned about young people sleeping in a nearby park, The Relatives has served as a caring “relative” to thousands of youth in crisis, growing from a small crisis shelter to a vital community resource providing comprehensive services.
  3. SHARE Charlotte offers a one-stop shop to connect with greater than 450 Charlotte nonprofit organizations. SHARE Charlotte supports the nonprofit community by providing opportunities to convene, collaborate, learn together and share social capital.
  4. Charlotte Is Creative develops programs and initiatives designed to break the Charlotte mold and remake it with creativity — into a city that draws people in, excites them and inspires them to invest their financial, social and creative capital.

We’ll support all of these deserving organizations in 2019, kicking off with Digi-Bridge during the first quarter. This project aligns perfectly with the Advancement pillar, formalizing our mission to embrace opportunities that empower, unify and strengthen individuals from all backgrounds. Since 2014, Digi-Bridge has worked with 15 educational partners to serve 3,027 scholars and provided 1,600 scholarships, helping ensure no 21st-century learner gets left behind in the digital age. Meanwhile, they’ve made a lasting impact in deeper ways that can’t be measured in numbers, enhancing the futures of our city’s young people and nurturing their interest in technology to foster life-changing opportunities.

Digi-Bridge is a nonprofit organization with a small staff that has done an admirable job of telling its story and illuminating its brand. Their leadership came to us for our expertise in digital strategy and SEO, understanding these areas will be key to setting a path for long-term success. We’re excited to hit the ground running with Digi-Bridge over the next several months, and we can’t wait to share the fruits of our work together.

Charlotte isn’t just where we live — it’s also where we work, play, learn, create, share and grow. We believe deeply in the missions and people of this city’s nonprofit community, and we’re grateful for the chance to help them make the world a better place. We look forward to sharing their stories of impact as we work together to build something special over the coming year.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.