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Deatrice is a business owner, community leader, and volunteer. Through her marketing firm, she serves socially responsible private companies, non-profits, and community groups. In addition to running her own business, Deatrice served on a committee for Dress for Success, helping women make the most of their second chance as well as Chill Sacramento as the Marketing Strategist for the wellness brand. She has also served on the NAWBO-Sac Valley Board of Directors, helped bring NAWBO SB 826 to the floor (women on corporate boards), and was nominated by NAWBO in 2018 for the Achievement Against All Odds award.
Deatrice earned her Bachelors degree from East Carolina University and is currently pursuing her Masters at NC State for Psychology/Family Life Coaching. She attended high school in Charlotte and after 5 years of building in California, she relocated back to Charlotte to be closer to family and to find ways to give back to the community that shaped her. She joins the Families Forward Charlotte team with hopes of pushing the mission of helping families toward long-term stability and economic mobility.
Kirsten was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. She has a B.S. in Psychology and Business from Gardner-Webb University and a MBA with a concentration in nonprofit management from UNC Charlotte. She is currently the Senior Human Resources Coordinator for Hornets Sports & Entertainment.
Kirsten has always been interested in helping others. While in undergrad, Kirsten discovered the power of nonprofits after watching various local nonprofits lift two of her family members out of homelessness. She is passionate about ending cycles of generational poverty and inspiring people to discover the world that exists outside of their typical environments. She is grateful to be a part of Families Forward’s mission to serve underrepresented population, bringing them to a place of stability and sustainability.
Jack discovered Families Forward Charlotte in early 2020 and was inspired by the mission to help families achieve financial sustainability and long-term economic mobility. In his role on the board of directors, he strives to give back to the Charlotte community which has provided many opportunities for him and his family.
Jack serves as Secretary of Families Forward Charlotte. He is originally from Columbia, MD – one of the country’s first planned suburban cities – and has seen the incredible power of a diverse and supportive community. He moved to Charlotte in 2005 and now works for Bank of America. Jack graduated with a B.S. in economics from Towson University and a M.B.A from University of North Carolina – Charlotte. He lives in Huntersville with his wife, son and daughter.
Lauren was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Charlotte with her husband Aaron in June of 2019. She has a B.S in Psychology from the College of Charleston and a master’s degree in Counseling from UNC Charlotte. She is currently the Assistant Director for Tutoring at UNC Charlotte’s Center for Academic Excellence and also practices as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate.
Lauren has always been interested in nonprofit work and passionate about advocating for others. Prior to moving to Charlotte, she worked for the Alzheimer’s Association in Virginia. She is excited to be involved with Families Forward Charlotte and their efforts to combat poverty because she believes everyone deserves a fair and equal opportunity to succeed. She is looking forward to mentoring and supporting families, reducing the impact of poverty on those families, and helping improve the city of Charlotte’s overall economic mobility.
Backpacks filled with school supplies as well as holiday presents and meals were provided to families.
Family Liaisons are able to request up to $1,000 in financial assistance for their partnering families based on needs to help the family break through barriers to success.
Baskets containing toiletries, cleaning supplies, seasonal items, food items and a grocery gift card were distributed to each family three times throughout the year (fall, winter and spring).
We host monthly Educational Workshops for families covering topics such as Financial Empowerment, technology skills, parenting skills and healthy cooking.
Family Liaisons helped families set life goals and develop an action plan. As families demonstrated needs, Family Liaisons helped to locate resources for the family often using our public database.
Twenty-five families, including 70+ children, were referred by Hornets Nest Elementary and Oakhurst STEAM Academy and matched with Family Liaisons. Families connected with their Liaisons through in-person meetings, text, email and/or phone calls.
Tracey serves as board chair for Families Forward Charlotte’s Weekend Food Packs program. She grew up in Statesville, NC and has lived in Charlotte since 2005. Tracey lives in Southpark with her husband Keith, daughter Elise and Zoe, a terrier mix. Tracey graduated from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She lived in Atlanta, GA for 12 years and was the Creative Director of Choptalk magazine, the official publication of the Atlanta Braves.
Tracey volunteers every year at the annual Bosom Buddies tennis benefit which raises money in support of breast cancer awareness and research. She’s also volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank and done pro bono work for InReach. For the past two years, Tracey’s daughter has collected pet food & toys in lieu of birthday gifts to donate to the Humane Society of Charlotte. Tracey is excited to be a part of Families Forward Charlotte!
Andy was raised in Fort Wayne, IN and has lived in Charlotte since 2014. He attended Calvin College, where he met his wife, Katie, and graduated with a degree in Accounting. He then moved to Charlotte for a job at Ernst & Young and now works as a Certified Financial Planner for Capstone Advisors.
While working with individuals who had already achieved financial freedom, Andy recognized a large, unserved population in the city of Charlotte—particularly, families living in poverty and struggling with upward mobility—where financial freedom seems unattainable. He discovered Families Forward Charlotte and saw that they were taking action to provide families with hope, support, and a path to a higher quality of life. Andy strongly believes that by investing in people, building authentic relationships, and practicing compassionate accountability, Families Forward Charlotte can help transform the city into a place where everybody has the opportunity to flourish.
Latoya Brown grew up in a military family and after moving around all of her life found a home in Charlotte in 2011. There, she started a family of her own and found that living paycheck to paycheck posed a constant challenge. Following an eviction, her family struggled to stay together under the same roof. When her daughter started kindergarten, Latoya and her family were referred to Families Forward Charlotte. With the support of their liaisons and resources provided by and referred to them by Families Forward Charlotte, Latoya’s family was able to make significant strides toward transitioning out of poverty and into a more stable economic position. Latoya has received her Bachelors in Information Technology from American Public University Systems. She hopes to contribute to Families Forward Charlotte by offering a unique perspective and helping other families overcome the barriers keeping them from economic mobility.
Michelle Powers has long been an advocate for non-profits, volunteering and working alongside many throughout her career. She also created the first school-wide on-site student community service platform at Rea View Elementary. Her role as Chair of Marketing Communications will be to plan and oversee the complete online/offline communications plan and messaging. She has been a Marketing professional for over 20 years. Michelle is married to Anthony, and together they have three boys, AJ (10), Brody (8) and Declan (5).
Caroline grew up in Greensboro, NC and has lived in Charlotte since 2012. She is passionate about social justice issues, and graduated from Appalachian State with her Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with a concentration in Peace, Conflict and Human Rights and minored in Nonprofit Management. Following graduation, Caroline moved to Charlotte to work for AT&T supporting two of their largest Financial Services accounts. Following her true passion, Caroline maintained active involvement in Charlotte’s nonprofit community. As a board member the past two years she proved her passion for our organization and has continually gone above and beyond her role responsibilities. She is turning her volunteer work into a full time position to help us grow and serve the Charlotte community. She also knows our org in and out and can hit the ground running!
Holly Huffman joined the board of Families Forward Charlotte in April 2018 and is excited to serve in the role of Communications/Grants Chair. She brings background experiences that include teaching and mentoring students of all ages, as well as time spent in the role of Development Director for a small non-profit. She enjoys writing and is grateful for the opportunity to put her writing skills to use in support of Families Forward’s programs. Holly is originally from western Pennsylvania, but has lived and taught in Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, and England. She is on the faculty of Western Governors University and serves as a mentor for graduate students earning advanced degrees in teaching English Language Learners. She lives in Charlotte with her husband and three children.
Mandy moved to Charlotte in 2004 to study at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She currently works for a FinTech start up, XUP Payments as a Marketing Director responsible for developing and delivering marketing campaigns. She is passionate about giving back to the community serving on two boards – Families Forward Charlotte and the UNCC Belk College Alumni Council. Mandy is excited to serve alongside this organization and looks forward to improving economic mobility for families across Mecklenburg County.
Telitha is originally from Durham, NC and graduated from Kenan Flagler’s Business School at UNC Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She moved to Charlotte in 2002 with her husband after living in New York City for 5 years. Since moving to Charlotte Telitha has volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank, tutored kids at a local elementary school, served as the Finance Chair of a non-profit children’s consignment sale, organized several donation drives and has served on multiple non-profit boards and committees. Her 2 daughters who are now in elementary school are involved in giving back as a family. They collect donations at their birthday parties and always help shop for the kids they sponsor during the holidays. Telitha is striving to be an example for her kids to help others and is excited to join the FCC team and help make a difference.
James serves as Treasurer of Families Forward Charlotte. Originally from Dallas, Texas, he grew up in an area where upward mobility was possible, and he is a product of this dynamic. He moved to Charlotte in 2003 to begin his career and has fallen in love with the city that he now calls home. However, he has strong convictions that our city must improve the low levels of mobility it is currently experiencing through stronger levels of social capital. He believes Family Forward Charlotte is a step in the right direction to create greater stability for families and children in our community.
James resides in Charlotte with his wife, Katie who was born and raised here, and son, Ben. He currently works as an investment banker for Deloitte Corporate Finance. James holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and finance from the University of Texas at Dallas and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Allie grew up in Gastonia, NC and has lived in Charlotte since 2007. She attended Appalachian State University with a degree in Interior Design but later went back to school to earn her Masters of Arts in teaching from UNCC.
Previously, Allie has volunteered her time with a local elementary school as a tutor for two small kids, and at Levine Children’s Hospital. After working in the school system and interacting with different schools, her eyes were opened to the many needs of children.
Allie has always had a passion for children and helping others and, as a mother of two, she wants to share her passion and lead by example. I’m proud to be on the board of Families Forward Charlotte and I look forward to changing lives of those in our community.
Jennifer grew up in Gastonia, NC and moved to Charlotte after graduating from Appalachian State University in 2004 with a degree in Advertising/Communications. She and her husband, Ian, moved to San Francisco in 2010 where she worked as an Account Executive for Clinique. Ian’s career with Wells Fargo brought the couple back to Charlotte in 2013.
Each Christmas Jennifer and Ian adopt several impoverished, disadvantaged families from the high school they graduated from in Gastonia. Early December they host a large Christmas party and request guests bring gift cards or gifts for the adopted families. This Christmas party has become a tradition and continues to grow each year.
Jennifer continues to be an advocate for those in need. The reward of seeing little faces light up and gratitude from concerned parents motivates her to continue to help those in need.
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Ashley serves as an At Large Board Member of Families Forward Charlotte. Ashley grew up in Gastonia, NC and has lived in Charlotte since 2005. She resides in the Myers Park area of Charlotte with her husband, Jennings, and young daughter, Randall. Ashley graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and has a certificate in Event Planning from Central Piedmont Community College. This has enabled her to run her event planning business, Events Without A Hitch. Growing up as a minister’s daughter, Ashley learned at a very young age the importance of giving to those in need. For that reason, Ashley has remained active in the Charlotte community for over 10 years, by volunteering and serving in leadership roles with the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, Young Affiliates of the Mint, Junior League of Charlotte, Art with Heart, and as Social Committee Chair for Charlotte House community. “I look forward to making a difference in the lives of families in need with Families Forward Charlotte”.
Angelica serves as Secretary of Families Forward Charlotte. Although she grew up in Altamonte Springs, Florida, she has lived in the Charlotte area since 2008 and resides in Davidson, North Carolina with her husband, Brian, and young daughter, Bryce. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in K-6 Elementary Education. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Charlotte to begin her teaching career. In her eight years of teaching, she has taught grades 1-8 in both public and independent school settings and has also served as a STEM & Special Programs Coordinator and Summer Camp Director at a local independent school. In 2017, Angelica transitioned out of the classroom and into the field of educational technology with a strong focus on social and emotional learning.
As a young girl, Angelica’s family faced financial adversity while her parents began to establish roots in the United States after migrating from the Philippines. Eventually, her parents built successful careers, which helped push the family out of poverty. Having taught students whose families struggled to meet basic needs, Angelica identified the need for programs that help parents gain educational opportunities and career guidance to help gain the skills needed to acquire jobs that met their families’ needs. After conducting research in social and emotional learning, Angelica strongly believes that students’ success and happiness is rooted in stable, supportive households with strong role models. In 2017, Angelica joined Carrie Christian and the Families Forward Charlotte team to help serve families in the Charlotte community.
Dena is the Secretary of Families Forward and manages all social media efforts. Born and raised in Charlotte, NC she has seen the effect of poverty in the city and has a deep passion to help those families and children affected by such a harsh reality. Often people that have multiple problem areas feel overwhelmed and find it easier to give up rather than work to fix the issues. It is too often that individuals begin feeling hopeless and stuck in a downward spiral. She truly believes that progress starts with one person, one family. If that one family can receive help and education, poverty could be a thing of the past. Dena has been in early childhood education since 2001 with a short break to stay at home with her children, now ages 14, 12 and 9. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga and master’s degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Katie serves as an At Large Board Member of Families Forward Charlotte. Katie grew up in Columbia, South Carolina but has lived in Charlotte for 11 years. She studied Marketing & Communications at the University of South Carolina and now works for Carolinas HealthCare System.
When Katie had her second child in 2016, it hit her that so many children were lacking basic needs – she felt a weight of responsibility to do something to help the helpless in her community. She jumped at the chance to get involved with Carrie’s vision of a non-profit for children and their families who fell through the cracks. Katie wants to help Families Forward Charlotte make a lifelong difference in the lives of the innocent who will shape our city in the future.
Carrie is the Founder and Director of Families Forward Charlotte. Carrie has lived in Mecklenburg County since she was 1 years old and is now raising her family in Charlotte with her husband Tom. She graduated from West Charlotte High and earned her Masters of Arts in teaching from Winthrop University. She loves coaching high school volleyball and watching her kids enjoy sports as they grow.
Carrie was devastated to learn about the Harvard study on Equality of Opportunity that found Mecklenburg County ranked 50 of 50 in upward mobility. Meanwhile, her family had been supporting poverty stricken families each Christmas through the help of local teachers. These families struggled to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. When dropping off Christmas gifts and household items in December 2016, the idea to start a non profit was born. Carrie wanted to provide year round support to ease the burden of poverty on local children and families, and in researching her goal she learned just how difficult it is to find local resources for families and her mission grew. Carrie quickly gained support within the community and with a dedicated board of directors, Families Forward Charlotte was born.
Carrie is thankful for the opportunity to serve the community she grew up in and adores.