She moved out of shared living into her own apartment and starts nursing school this fall. But it wasn't an easy year for her at EMC. Her fiancé died unexpectedly in a car accident. If it wasn't for the program and her coach, she imagines she wouldn't have handled the tragedy as well.
"EMC has helped me with that very, very much," she says. "If this was me last year, I don't know what state of mind I would be in."
A year after forming the first cohort, Goodwill is ready to expand the initiative. It is trying to raise $1.1 million to add two more cohorts by the end of 2018, affecting up to 75 individuals. Each cohort will complete three years in the program to ensure there is long-term support, says Shelly Cantrell, EMC manager.
The Leon Levine Foundation awarded Goodwill a $350,000 challenge grant to expand the program. An initial $100,000 in immediate support is funding the second cohort, which is in the recruitment phase. Goodwill will receive the remaining $250,000 once it has raised the $1.1 million needed for the program.
"Our mission is to improve the human condition by creating permanent, measurable and life-changing impact throughout the Carolinas," says Tom Lawrence, executive director of the foundation. "Goodwill is working to do just that by examining the lasting impact that can come from serving the whole individual. Much can be learned from the EMC model as the community begins to bridge the opportunity gap in this region."
A United Way of Central Carolinas grant of $175,000 is going toward the fundraising goal. United Way's grant to Goodwill grew by 1% this year as the organization shifted its spending to focus on generational poverty.
Many of the services provided to EMC members are under one roof at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus, an 18.5-acre site on Wilkinson Boulevard that opened in 2016. It's home to the Leon Levine Opportunity Center, a 160,000-square-foot building offering services such as health care, banking and financial literacy and support for those with a criminal background.
This article was originally posted in The Charlotte Business Journal.