May 19, 2024

Feature stories

Featured Story

Making It Work: The Business of Art

Charlotte creatives discuss how they live and survive as artists By Alicia Benjamin Creativity takes courage. That’s what Henri Matisse, one of the most famous painters of the 20th century, said. And his contemporary and [...]

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Pride Goes to... EARN YOUR MASTERS – Charlotte NC

By Kurtavia Burton: Charlotte, NC is well known for its sophistication, continuous expansion, and bringing change to the community. Such advancement is happening throughout the city, especially in the architecture, artistic, and economic industries. READ MORE


Reflecting on Pride Awards 2024 — It Takes a Community

by Dee Dixon

Confidentially speaking, Pride Awards 2024 was a trial by fire. The obstacles were tremendous. Honestly, this year’s event tested my mettle to the core. Major hurdles included struggling to land on a new and fresh idea with a purpose, shrinking sponsorship dollars, extremely late commitments, having to find a new venue, an event day podium that was way too small and most painfully, having the actual value of this 30-year Charlotte staple put in question.

The Pride Awards are not just “another” luncheon or gala. We set the stage for Black excellence in programming  back in 1993 and have consistently provided a platform for corporations and the community to come together to enjoy unique cultural experiences that celebrate achievement as well as diversity and inclusion. Since inception, we make monetary donations to worthy nonprofits each year -approximately $300,000 so far. Oh, and did I mention how supporting the Pride Awards helps keep Pride magazine in business? Know that the playing field is not level regarding advertising. So many corporations in the Queen City don’t support our magazine with advertising or the Pride Awards, for that matter. Pride Magazine and the Pride Awards are a unique part of Charlotte’s history whose value to the community is to be treasured.

Officially speaking and despite the obstacles, Pride Awards 2024 was a success! It was a highly nuanced luncheon, recognizing achievement in underserved neighborhoods, uplifting nonprofits making a difference in the lives of those in need and acknowledging corporate social responsibility endeavors.

Foremost, we recognized one of our sponsors for their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. The winner was Truist, chosen by our judges for their $17 million investment in affordable housing and economic mobility in North Carolina. Accepting the award was Quincy Seitz, Head of Virtual Solutions Delivery. (use photo of Quincy Seitz at the Podium.)

We also highlighted seven outstanding Charlotte neighborhoods, doing great things for our City. They were West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition, Washington Heights Community Association, Lakeview Neighborhood Alliance, East Charlotte Coalition, Greenville Combined Youth, Derida Road Community Organization and the Hidden Valley Community Association. The Lakeview Neighborhood Alliance was chosen to receive the Neighborhood Excellence Award. See their feature on page 16.

Three nonprofits (Freedom Fighting Missionaries, Home4Me and Gracious Hands) competed for a $20,000 donation. Home4me was the winner of the Outstanding Nonprofit Award. However, thanks to Wells Fargo and two unidentified donors, they ALL received $40,000 each. Unbelievable! Read about Home4Me on page 33.

One last thing before I close. The legendary Hugh McColl graced our event with his presence and actually came on stage to participate in our Black History challenge!!! He was a hoot and get this; he even answered his Black history question correctly!

We have received many compliments about this year’s event. I thank God for the struggle and truly appreciate all of those who continue to support Pride Awards 2024 and seeing us through.

Indeed, “The struggle is part of the story.”

Dee,

Click "HERE" to view the Pride Awards 2024 - The Revelry Photo

Charlotte Economic Development Agency Launches Small Business Initiative

By Derik Hicks

University City Partners (UCP) is introducing its latest endeavor, the Small Business Initiative, made possible through the support and funding from the City of Charlotte. This initiative aims to bolster the marketing and promotional efforts of small businesses within the University City area, providing them with essential resources to enhance visibility and foster growth.

Launched in March 2024, the small business initiative is part of UCP’s broader mission as a Municipal Service District to serve the needs of local businesses and property owners. Keith Stanley, president and CEO of University City Partners, explains the initiative's objectives and implementation strategies.

“This program began with the support of the city of Charlotte with a $236,500 grant,” Stanley said. “It allows us to provide not only resources to our businesses but also to develop infrastructure to connect to these businesses, which is a job within itself.”

While the program does not offer direct grants to businesses, it provides a range of activities and engagements to support them. This includes arranging entertainment services such as musicians or magicians to entertain guests, facilitating gift card promotions, offering social media promotion through videography and photography assistance, and even establishing Instagram walls to boost visibility. Additionally, UCP plans to launch an audio and video podcast to further promote participating businesses.

Stanley emphasizes that the initiative is particularly focused on assisting small, locally owned establishments, especially those lacking the backing of national or regional corporations. To take part, businesses must meet certain criteria:

  • The business must be within a 3-mile radius of University City.
  • Attention will be given to areas within University City that may need more support.
  • Owners must complete a survey so that UCP can assess their business needs.
  • Consideration will be given to ownership status (minority, women, or veteran-owned).
  • UCP will also consider how long the establishment has been in business.

Since its inception, the Small Business Initiative has already aided approximately eight businesses, with a goal of supporting around 30 in total. Looking ahead, Stanley envisions the initiative contributing to the development of a vibrant brand for University City, enticing visitors to explore its diverse offerings, including culinary delights, cultural attractions, and recreational amenities. “We want to promote that vibe,” Stanley said. “It's about the business, but it's also about people coming to University City. We want to build community.”

Through the Small Business Initiative, UCP aims to create a dynamic ecosystem where local businesses thrive and contribute to the overall vibrancy of University City. By providing targeted support and resources, the initiative seeks to address the specific needs of small businesses in the area, empowering them to grow and succeed in a competitive market.

In addition to the financial support provided by the City of Charlotte, the Small Business Initiative relies on collaboration with local stakeholders, including business owners, community organizations and residents. By working together, these partners can leverage their collective expertise and resources to maximize the impact of the initiative and ensure its long-term sustainability.

Looking ahead, UCP plans to expand the reach of the program and deepen its impact within the community. By continuously assessing the needs of local businesses and adapting their strategies accordingly, the initiative aims to remain responsive to the evolving challenges and opportunities facing University City.

Small business owners interested in participating in the initiative can contact UCP via email at business@universitycitypartners.org to request a survey link or further information.

PRIDE (DIGITAL) MAGAZINE

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