Three Questions is a new Next Stage series. Over the coming months, we will feature social good leaders from across the region who are partnering in new and innovative ways to create big community change.

Do Greater Charlotte exists to build and nurture creative confidence in all students through design, entrepreneurship and innovative technology so that they can turn their ideas into future opportunities.

1. Tell us about Do Greater Charlotte’s proudest accomplishment last year.

This has been an exciting year for Do Greater Charlotte as we moved from just a mobile creative space in a truck to the planing for our first physical location.  Our proudest accomplishment would be the groundbreaking and the start of renovation for the new CRTV (creative) Lab at Shiloh.

During the last year, Do Greater Charlotte focused on developing a framework for building creative confidence in youth by providing access to innovative tech tools and equipment, a creative space and a nurturing community.  After formalizing a partnership with Shiloh Institutional Baptist Church, The CRTV Lab at Shiloh was designed and developed with the help of Gresham Smith and Labella and Associates, both architectural firms with offices in Charlotte.

In August, Do Greater Charlotte broke ground on the new space and started the demolition and renovation.  When finished, the CRTV Lab at Shiloh will house the creative programs for Do Greater Charlotte as well as event space, conference rooms, production and photography studios and a coffee shop powered by Enderly Coffee.

2. Do Greater Charlotte is a nonprofit, but it’s mission is also highly applicable to the private sector. Why should companies care about your mission?

The City of Charlotte has one of the most prosperous economies in the US, but some residents still struggle with high levels of poverty and unemployment.  Charlotte defines these communities as  “corridors of opportunity,” and 90% of the residents are communities of color.  These residents tend to be younger than the city as a whole. The youth/young adult unemployment rate is high (e.g. 1 in 3 residents aged 16-24 in Freedom Drive/West Blvd/Wilkinson are unemployed.). The poverty rate in these areas is as high as 29%.  These are startling statistics in a city as prosperous as Charlotte.

Do Greater Charlotte, through its innovative creative platform, aims to tackle youth workforce development by providing opportunities to train in creative fields as designers, coders, developers, content creators, music/video producers and others.  These are all areas that will excite youth to participate and develop critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills that can be used in many industries.

We are creating a pipeline of creative thinkers and doers ready to put their skills into practice at area companies.

3. How can Do Greater Charlotte actively support the needs or wellbeing of employees?

Many studies show that boosting your creativity increases ones overall wellbeing, that people report being happy and energized when they are engaged in everyday creative endeavors, and that being in a positive mood goes hand in hand with creative thinking.

Do Greater Charlotte provides opportunities for creative interactions with youth and the creative community.  In our spaces, we create natural “collisions of creativity” that allow employees of our partners to connect with youth through creative huddle sessions, workshops and bootcamps.  Even as employees work in our co-creation/co-working space or experience the CRTVLab Coffee Shop, they can have interactions with youth involved in our programs.

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