Insight Architects (Winner)
Insight Architects has been working with the City of Charlotte on creating more affordable housing opportunities for everyone. Insight Architects is advocating for changing the quality of affordable housing by integrating it within existing neighborhoods. The low income and work force families are the most fragile parts of our community – but they are nevertheless a part of an existing community that has to be preserved. Insight Architects is advocating for keeping communities within new urban fabric by introducing mixed income housing that is sustainably built and well connected, with access to public transportation, parks, bike lanes, work and schools. These communities promote physical and psychological health and wealth, and will therefore strengthen Charlotte and place it as the country’s leader in sustainable gentrification which preserves communities and the environment.
Insight Architects had worked on creating a Passive House model for mixed income housing. Passive House buildings reduces energy consumption up to 90% from conventional building. Needing very little energy to operate a building reduces cost of infrastructure and significantly reduces pollution.
Bicycle Friday is a small group of people committed to making cycling safe and fun for children and to creating a safe space for children to gain confidence and skills on bicycles. Students from Park Road Montessori gather under the guidance of a few teachers and parents to ride their bicycles to and from school every Friday. The children also take part in other events including the annual Mayor's Ride. This year they will meet with the CDOT Bicycle Program manager to learn more about the new Charlotte Bike Plan.
Bicycle Friday was started by Bethanie Johnson, Heather Ruckterstuhl and Christy Geiger. At a time when most CMS students aren't allowed to ride their bikes to school, this program has opened up opportunities for a huge group of young minds simply by making it fun to ride a bike to school.
Epic Capital Wealth Management
Serving others is part of the Epic Capital mission. Both in the work we do for our clients and for the community in which we live. Epic Capital has created a community outreach program we call E:3 Community to give our time, talent and treasure. First is our quarterly Epic Outreach Program where our entire staff volunteers to serve the needs of local non-profits that focus on low-income, homeless, and underserved communities. We have also just expanded our Epic Outreach program to include our clients as well (#BeEPIC). We also have bridged a partnership with Common Wealth Charlotte to provide one-on-one and group financial council to low-income families and those recently released from prison. We help them get re-banked, to establish financial goals and to qualify for a micro-loan. The third piece of E:3 is our Epic Impact Grant, which is given quarterly to a local non-profit that works in the field of providing needed services to the poor, impoverished, homeless or underserved.
Epic Capital has taken their passion for "doing good" and incorporated it into how they manage their client's wealth. They are the first firm in Charlotte focused on Socially Responsible, Environmental & Social Governance, and Impact Investing inspiring others to align their money with their values.
Free Range Brewing
Free Range Brewing opened their business knowing they would be doing more than just brewing beer. Free Range believes it is important to foster creativity while building a strong community foundation. Whether it’s sourcing an ingredient, featuring an artist, supporting a cause or doing a full-on beer collaboration, it’s important to foster connections within the community. Their collaborations and partnerships with local farmers, chefs, artists and businesses aren’t just to make better beer, but to build a better community. Free Range Brewing works to provide a nurturing community space by hosting creative and community driven individuals and groups and donating a dedicated space for them to do so. By keeping rental fees low or waiving fees all together, this ensures that anyone with a great idea and need of space has a chance to showcase their work to the community.
In less than two years, Free Range Brewing has focused a lot of time and energy to make sure they are more than just a brewery. It has become a venue where chefs, farmers, artists, musicians, non-profit groups and other local creatives understand they have value and a place to share their work.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
The Goodwill Opportunity Campus - (GOC) provides a comprehensive collection of resources and opportunities for job training, job placement and job creation for individuals in our region. Goodwill provides free training & employment services to those facing barriers to employment such as lack of skills, experience or education and criminal backgrounds. Over 15% of Meck. Co. residents struggle in poverty, the GOC, which opened in June 2016, is changing the trajectory of poverty here by bringing together partner agencies with a full-time on-site presence to provide wraparound services under one roof, including Charlotte Metro Credit Union, Charlotte Community Health Clinic, Common Wealth Charlotte & The Center for Community Transitions. By addressing barriers in healthcare, banking, financial literacy and transitional support services Goodwill and its partner agencies help clients achieve stability and eventually gain a level of self-sufficiency to achieve family sustaining employment.
The vision of the Goodwill Opportunity Campus as a game-changer for disadvantaged job seekers, providing access to critical resources and supports under one roof was underway well before the 2014 Harvard study brought attention to Charlotte’s ranking last of 50 large cities for economic mobility.
Studio Cellar is a public painting studio that encourages a creative experience to people with no previous exposure in art. The "paint and sip" industry has made art is truly accessible to everyone and not just the elite, for the first time in history. Art has always intimidated people from trying to understand it, purchasing it or creating it. Our job is to break it down and bring it down to earth for everyone to enjoy. Studio Cellar takes the industry a step further buy opening its doors daily for classes and freestyle daily. We encourage everyone who walks in to leave with a painting and experience they are happy with, which often they didn't realize they could do! Art doesn't discriminate, so Studio Cellar is blessed to have everyone participate. Old, young, all ethnicities and religions. Patrons use our studio for various purposes; for fun, therapy, relaxation, social gatherings, team building, birthdays, date nights, and fundraisers. It's truly equity and empowerment.
We are a local, family business. We focus on atmosphere to inspire our patrons to create great art in a positive experience. Our ambiance, freestyle option, and wine bar sets us apart from the other competitors. (Which are large franchises with 300-600 locations.)