Charlotte-Based Nonprofit Road To Hire Receives Grant From NBA Foundation

by Quinton Wash

April 5, 2021 – The NBA Foundation today announced that Charlotte-based nonprofit Road to Hire (R2H) has received a generous grant as part of the Foundation’s second grant round. Overall, nine organizations received a total of more than $3 million in grants that will create employment opportunities, further career advancement and drive greater economic empowerment in Black communities. The grants will enhance and build upon the important work of these organizations that align with the NBA Foundation’s mission to provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development for high school, college-aged, job-ready and mid-career individuals in Black communities across the United States and Canada.

“We are very pleased that the NBA Foundation has recognized the incredible work that Road to Hire is doing to help some of our most vulnerable local students find a path to successful careers,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “With the focus our city has on economic mobility, R2H is a leader in trying to change the culture of young people being unable to escape poverty. We are proud to have had the opportunity to assist R2H in receiving this deserved and needed funding that will help expand its programming and provide even more of our local students with opportunities to prosper.”

According to a 2015 survey, Charlotte is the most unlikely city in America for someone to make their way out of poverty. R2H works every day to change the story and abolish career gatekeeping, dismantle systems of privilege and systemic racism, and create real access for under-served young adults. The organization connects under-resourced young adults with onramps to high-earning careers through college access, paid training for their first career job, and robust life skills support. The program aims to overcome decades of inequality and ensure that every youth in Charlotte – regardless of their background – can discover a path to the job and life skills that change generations, cities, and lives.

"The Hornets are such a powerful force in the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and together, we will work to end the significant economic and opportunity gaps unfairly hindering many of our city’s young people,” said Red Ventures co-Founder & CEO and R2H Founder Ric Elias. “Today's support from the NBA Foundation is a pivotal step towards true progress, but also a reminder of the great work still to be done.”
When public, private, and nonprofit leaders come together, the results speak for themselves. To date, R2H has reached more than 1,000 young adults. The high school program boasts 275 alumni and current students, and 94% are students of color. Nearly 200 R2H graduates are employed by R2H partner companies such as Bank of America, Lowe’s, Red Ventures and Atrium Health in high-growth technology jobs. And, R2H aims to grow more than 50% in 2021.
“Every day, Road to Hire partners with Charlotte’s most important institutions to reimagine how our city opens doors for underserved young people,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “This work highlights the power of our city’s organizations coming together to change the narrative of underrepresented communities and advance racial equity within our city.”

The Charlotte Executive Leadership Council (CELC), a group of CEOs from some of the largest employers in the city, has put significant time into improving the city’s economic mobility issues and worked closely with R2H to scale the program.

“Road to Hire’s collaborative approach with employers results in a deliberate focus to create more pathways for jobs that lead to economic opportunity in our community,” said Bank of America CEO and CELC Chairman Brian Moynihan. “This grant allows us to expand our partnership with Road to Hire in our shared mission of providing training to motivated and talented young adults who may not have the access or ability to pursue meaningful careers in top industries.”

The other organizations receiving grants include Big Brothers and Big Sisters Miami, Braven, Center for Leadership Development, City Year, CodeCrew, The Collective Blueprint, NAF and New Heights Youth.

In December 2020, the NBA Foundation announced exalt, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Marcus Graham Project, Operation DREAM, TEAM Inc., The Knowledge House and the Youth Empowerment Project as inaugural grant recipients. The NBA Foundation will continue to collaborate with all 30 teams, their affiliated charitable organizations and the NBPA to support national and local organizations and their efforts to increase education and employment access in Black communities. Over the next 10 years, the 30 NBA team governors will collectively contribute $30 million annually in initial funding and the NBA Foundation will work strategically to develop additional funding sources.

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