Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

Famous first: CMS Investmen Study Group 

Charlotteans, it seems, are banding together to help Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in a major way. Recently, the Charlotte Bobcats made a $250,000 donation to a CMS scholarship fund to help defray the costs of middle school athletics this academic year. The donation is reportedly the largest ever made by a professional sports franchise to CMS, and it's the largest single donation CMS has received to date in response to budget cuts that led to the implementation of sports-participation fees for all middle and high school student athletes in the system. This is a famous first for the sports organization and for CMS.

Michael Jordan's and the Bobcats' benevolence is not an isolated incident, but is part of a growing sentiment among those at the top of the food chain who believe that it is the responsibility of their companies to help CMS regain its footing in a troubled economy, particularly as it relates to student performance. The Charlotte Observer recently reported that the city's largest philanthropic groups have joined forces to help CMS "solve the achievement gap." The name of the collective is the CMS Investment Study Group. According to the Observer, the group's goal "is to find a way to pool corporate and private donations for a bigger impact on student performance."

The organization includes the Duke Energy Foundation, Bank of America, the Duke Endowment Wachovia-Wells Fargo, Novant Health, the Leon Levine Foundation, the Belk Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others.

It is a great thing when major corporations and nonprofits recognize the financial and cultural role that they can play in improving and enhancing local educational systems, but part of me wonders, what took so long?

It's not rocket science: Those who have more and can afford to help others should. All of these corporations have community affairs/outreach departments, so why does it take CMS to be in dire straits for this to happen?

Some critics have accused the group of social engineering and trying to gain footing with CMS. Let's keep it real — these groups are already invested in Charlotte and are a major part of the community, which includes CMS. Think about how many Charlotteans Bank of America employs in spite of recent layoffs. Having an impact on the lives of people goes far beyond just writing checks. Many of the groups, like the Duke Endowment and Levine Foundation, have done wonderful work with the school system over the years, so this is not an isolated incident. It is interesting to me that this type of philanthropy carried out in this way sets a national precedent, particularly since many major corporations have resources, even during a recession. The Bobcats donation should be emulated throughout the league because NBA franchises have money to give and should help local public school systems, some of which are teetering on the verge of collapse.

The CMS Investment Study Group will eventually be donating money to help fund the initiatives that come out of this collaboration, which is a good thing; however, its initial planning meetings will apparently not be open to the public. I worry about the effectiveness of community efforts that don't include community members — such as parents — from the start. Why wouldn't parents be involved in the collaboration from the beginning? After all, they are the ones who are closest to the students and know them better than anyone. I understand trying to manage a process so that it stays focused and doesn't get out of hand, but major corporations and CMS need to understand that excluding parents and other citizens sets up a paradigm of power that will ultimately work against them. What is the point of developing initiatives that involve people's children, without involving the parents or the child for that matter? This top-down approach is problematic and might obscure the good work that the group and CMS are trying to do.

Those concerns aside, I'm going to try and remain positive and hope that all of this philanthropy has good intentions and comes from a good place. Although this is a famous first in the nation, and the Bobcats donation is a famous first for the school system, let's hope it continues and doesn't become a famous last.

Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Search Events

Photo Galleries

  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
» more slideshows
www.flickr.com
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool

© 2017 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation