2001 – 2003: Engaging Individuals, Organizations & the Community

The results of the 2000 Social Capital Survey conducted in 40 communities by Harvard professor Robert Putnam showed that Charlotte ranked second in faith-based community ties, but next to last in racial trust. In 2001, CBI committed itself to incorporating social capital data into all aspects of its work.

The pilot class of the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) was launched with CBI’s leadership team and 7 new members who committed themselves to the 9-month process. Additionally, CBI sponsored “Lenses for Diversity,” an interactive presentation that allowed participants to determine through which ‘lenses’ they viewed the world and how individual perceptions can make a difference in group dynamics. A Leaders Lunch series was begun to provide CBI’s institutional partners with an opportunity for personal connection and interaction around racial and ethnic issues.

In 2002, CBI continued its efforts through additional LDI work and Leaders Lunches. In addition, they launched the University City Community Building Project (UCCBP) as a partnership with the University City YMCA and the Lee Institute involving a 25-member Resource Team. The goal of this project was to develop an action plan for strengthening connections between individuals, groups, organizations and institutions in the University City area. CBI also provided strategic assistance to the City’s MWBD Stakeholders Committee. This committee was charged with developing an interim program for equitable contracting with minority- and women-owned businesses. The Social Capital Committee, composed of 10 community organizations including CBI, worked to strengthen relationships between organizational leaders and to utilize social capital themes and data as a framework for community engagement and collaborative action.

CBI continued supporting the work that had been done through the 26th Judicial District Resource Team through a year-long project for judges, “Judicial Leadership for a Diverse Community” (JLDC), launched in April 2002. JLDC involved District and Superior Court judges in building relationships and awareness of the impact of race and ethnicity on them and on their work in the courtroom and in the community. A second initiative focused on working with department heads and staff within the 26th Judicial District who expressed a desire for deeper examination of research results and strategic follow-up within their departments. Follow-up included coaching department supervisors and working with their staff to build more inclusive internal environments within the departments.

In 2003, CBI continued its partnership with the 26th Judicial District —helping court system employees to build skills in recognizing and addressing racial and ethnic issues that impacted their work environment and customer base, as well as promoting collaboration among and between departments. A planning group of 5 judges designed follow-up activities for JLDC and developed a plan for involving new judicial leaders. Class II of the LDI program began, and the Social Capital Committee grew to 20 representatives from local government, civic, and non-profit organizations. The UCCBP gathered data about the University City area through a 400 person telephone survey, the Urban Institute’s annual survey, interviews with key influencers, and focus groups.