Greater Steps Scholars Receives $25,000 Grant from The Leon Levine Foundation to Expand Career Readiness & Mentor Program

Funds will help students in Charlotte subsidized housing by lending one-on-one support and guidance throughout their post-secondary education journeys

Charlotte, NC (October 2020) — Greater Steps Scholars, formerly known as the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund, announces the receipt of a $25,000 program grant from The Leon Levine Foundation. Funds from the grant will directly be used to strengthen Greater Steps’ Career Readiness and Mentor program.

For many students living in Charlotte subsidized housing, the lack of financial access is often the biggest barrier to a college education — but it’s not the only one. Another barrier is not having access to the emotional support and social capital that students need to create a viable path to self-sufficiency and economic mobility.

“Many of our Scholars are also first-generation college students, and getting them exposure to things like one-on-one coaching and mentorship, potential career opportunities, and knowledge around crucial life, financial, and career skills is just as important,” says Aisha Strothers, Executive Director of Greater Steps Scholars. “Our Career Readiness and Mentor program directly fulfills this part of the equation.”

The grant award from The Leon Levine Foundation comes as Greater Steps Scholars, like many nonprofits across Charlotte and the Carolinas, continue to grapple with the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on fundraising efforts. At the same time, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently reported significant increases in the state’s high school graduation rate. Overall, the graduation rate increased over a full percentage point — 87.6 percent vs. 2019’s rate of 86.5 percent — an improvement that signals students from all backgrounds are better positioned for success after high school, be that in a career or post-secondary education.

“As more students in Charlotte subsidized housing realize that a post-secondary education is available to them, our goal is to give them the support and resources they need to succeed,” Strothers says. “We’re grateful to The Leon Levine Foundation for helping us deliver on our mission and provide access to under-resourced students.”


About Greater Steps Scholars

Greater Steps Scholars, formerly the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund, is a fund designed to make certain that every child living in housing subsidized by INLIVIAN has both the opportunity for the expectation of a college education. In addition to financial aid, Greater Steps Scholars provides programming designed to inspire young people to work toward becoming independent, self-reliant citizens of the community by lending a helping hand. Since its inception, nearly 940 scholarships totaling $3.8 million have been awarded.

About The Leon Levine Foundation

Created in 1980 by Leon Levine (Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Family Dollar Stores, Inc.), The Leon Levine Foundation’s mission is to improve the human condition by creating permanent, measurable, and life-changing impact throughout the Carolinas. Based in Charlotte, N.C., the foundation invests in nonprofits with strong leadership, a track record of success, and a focus on sustainability in the areas of healthcare, education, Jewish values, and human services.