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

Strengthening the Teaching Pipeline

Addressing the critical need for teachers, the newly launched CMS Teaching Residency program provides a pathway for passionate, skilled individuals with experience in other sectors to become licensed classroom teachers. Through an intensive year-long residency in CMS, participants learn and apply critical teachings skills in real classrooms under the guidance of experienced educators, receive personalized coaching, and complete coursework and assessments to receive their North Carolina teaching license.

Funding will be used to continue development and support expansion of the Teaching Residency.

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 3,000 teachers are participating in the Cultural Proficiency initiative.  Funding will enable CMS to offer this opportunity to additional teachers.

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 across subject areas.

Supporting Students during COVID-19

In anticipation of extended school closures due to coronavirus risks, we launched the CMS COVID-19 Relief Fund in March 2020 to ensure all students can stay connected with their teachers and continue to access to learning while school buildings are closed.

Funding will be used to provide critical technology resources to students, including internet access for students without home connectivity and laptops. 

Connecting Classroom to Career

Job Connect is a program connecting high school seniors to career opportunities with local employers. Through this unique partnership with companies and organizations across diverse industries, students’ coursework is enhanced with weekly company site visits and skill-building sessions, as well as paid work experiences with program partners to help facilitate successful transitions from graduation to full-time careers.

Funding will be used to support student transportation to employer sites and support program expansion.

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.

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.