Charlotte, NC – More than 200 residents and community leaders came together at the City of Charlotte's 2017 Neighborhood Exchange & Leadership Awards (NEXLA) on Saturday, Sept. 23 to discuss topics of their choice. Attendees were inspired by Krista Nightengale of the Better Block Foundation before breaking out into brainstorming and networking sessions to explore topics like transportation choices, technology access, equity, youth culture and more.
Attendees also had an opportunity to connect with fellow residents who are passionate about working together to strengthen our neighborhoods and to network with organizations that may provide resources to help accomplish their goals.
During the Neighborhood Leadership Awards luncheon, 39 neighborhoods, nonprofits, and businesses were recognized by the City of Charlotte for making a positive impact on our neighborhoods. Seven groups were awarded in the following categories:
- Community Safety Ambassador Award: Orchard Trace Owners Association received a $25,000 Neighborhood Matching Grant to install security cameras and monitoring equipment, created a Community Watch program, and hosted a three-day CMPD transparency workshop.
- Embracing Diversity Award: Queen City Unity brings people together of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses through multicultural events, legal assistance for those who have been discriminated against, and social media awareness and education.
- Good Neighbor Award: Winterfield Neighborhood Association created the Winterfield Orchestra and Bucket Band for school concerts, hosted an Arts Festival with Arts & Science Council, donated surplus food from the elementary school garden to Meals on Wheels, received a Neighborhood Matching Grant to create a litter program, and participated in "NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South".
- Moving Charlotte Forward Award: Bicycle Friday leads students on a bicycle ride every Friday morning to Park Road Montessori, and encourages youth to think critically and participate in transportation planning in Charlotte.
- Sustainability Leadership Award: West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition created Seeds for Change, a fully-integrated food hub that includes an urban farm that provides healthy, fresh food and youth job training opportunities in west Charlotte.
- Community Service (for profit) Award: Woodstone Apartments set a zero crime tolerance standard for the community and banned offenders, created relationships with CMPD to improve police-resident relations, and established job training programs, after school tutoring, and youth mentorship programs.
- Community Service (non profit) Award: Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Inc. provides resources and support for high need students in 44 school sites to help increase the number of high school graduates, place students in a better position to learn as well as define a clear path to self-sufficiency and economic mobility.
To see photos and learn more about these winners and the great work they've done to strengthen our neighborhoods, visit charlottenc.gov/nex.