Project LIFT clears $55 million goal

$4 million from Knight Foundation boosts total for westside schools

Project LIFT has raised just over $55 million to improve west Charlotte schools, leaders announced Thursday.

A $4 million grant from the Knight Foundation helped the philanthropic group, whose name stands for Leadership and Investment for Transformation, hit its goal for spending over the next five years. The $55 million will go toward recruiting top faculty, providing summer school, boosting technology and other efforts to improve academic results at some of the city’s weakest schools.

The effort has been in the works since 2010, when a group of corporate donors and philanthropists started crafting a plan to jolt the pace of improvement at struggling schools. The public-private partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is already drawing national attention. Its goals include boosting West Charlotte High School’s graduation rate from 54 percent in 2011 to 90 percent in 2016.

“This community has the audacity to think it can accomplish great things, even during troubling times,” said Richard “Stick” Williams of the Duke Energy Foundation, co-chair of the Project LIFT board.


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