Our Work

We work closely with CMS leaders to understand district priorities and identify opportunities to maximize student achievement through the investment of private resources. With the help of our generous philanthropic community, we seed initiatives and develop programs that support educators as they foster the potential of nearly 150,000 students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Fundraising Priorities

Advancing Cultural Proficiency

Moving beyond traditional diversity training, the Cultural Proficiency initiative helps CMS teachers examine their personal belief systems and biases, deepen their understanding of different cultural frameworks, and strengthen their ability to effectively bridge cultural differences in the classroom.

Over the course of a year, teachers are guided through individual assessments and interviews, in-person small group sessions, local cultural experiences and school-based activities to integrate their learning into practice.  As of February 2017, more than 1,000 teachers are participating in the Cultural Proficiency initiative.  Funding will enable CMS to offer this opportunity to additional teachers.

Expanding Teacher Career Opportunities

Based on the success of Opportunity Culture first piloted in CMS through Project LIFT, CMS is expanding this innovative career advancement opportunity to teachers in schools throughout the district.  Through the Success by Design initiative, teachers can earn more money by expanding their impact and taking on more responsibility within the school without leaving the classroom—all within existing school budgets.

Funding will be used to enhance teacher recruitment efforts for these positions.

Elevating Teachers’ Voices

Modeled after the popular TED Talks, the CMS Foundation launched Teacher Talks to provide educators with a forum to exchange ideas, share experiences and inspire others.  With the support of professional coaches, teachers prepare and deliver powerful talks to a live audience and spend time building new relationships with other educators throughout the community.  Talks are filmed and shared online to spread their reach and impact beyond the stage.

Funding will help the foundation continue elevating teachers’ voices through Teacher Talks and enable more teachers to participate in this unique experience.

Supporting Reading Foundations

Increasing early grade reading proficiency is one of the district’s highest priorities. Reading Foundations is an intensive, literacy-focused training designed to give teachers a deep understanding of the stages of early literacy and to equip them with research-based strategies to better support emerging readers. This training is currently available to a small number of CMS teachers.

Funding will support the expansion of Reading Foundations and provide this critical professional development to Pre-K-second grade teachers, English Language Learner teachers and literacy facilitators in elementary schools.

Fostering Teacher Innovation

The CMS Foundation established the Teacher Innovation Fund in 2014 through a $250,000 donation by the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, Lowe’s and Fox Sports Southeast. Through grants awarded to CMS teachers, the Teacher Innovation Fund supports the implementation of innovative strategies to educate and prepare every student to graduate college- and career-ready.

Funding will help expand the grant opportunities available to CMS educators to support innovation in critical areas such as social-emotional learning and financial literacy.

Building a Trusted Bridge

The CMS Foundation is committed to its mission of serving as the trusted bridge between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and our donor community.

Funding will address critical operational needs, enabling the foundation to continue supporting teachers and students and stewarding donor investments in our public school system.

Our Programs

Teacher Innovation Grants

Teacher Innovation Grants help CMS teachers implement innovative strategies and creative projects that prepare students to graduate college- and career-ready.

Teacher Talks: Learning | Educating | Delivering

There’s incredible power in the sharing of ideas and experiences. Teacher Talks provide CMS teachers with both a platform and forum to exchange ideas, share experiences and inspire each other as they nurture talent and cultivate the minds of tomorrow.