Bear HUGs and Helping Hands
“LendingTree believes in the importance of acknowledging and treating our local artists like small businesses. We are thrilled to partner with Charlotte Is Creative to provide larger HUG grants for local creatives to have more cultural impact.” — April Whitlock, Head of Corporate Citizenship, LendingTree Foundation
The mission of LendaHand, LendingTree’s philanthropic foundation, according to the website, is “to amplify economic opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities. The LendaHand Initiative … will focus on empowering people to overcome obstacles.”
Since we believe overcoming obstacles starts with creative problem-solving, we’re on board with that mission.
Last month, Charlotte Is Creative announced a three-year partnership with Lending Tree’s LendaHand alliance program. One of the exciting endeavors we’ve embarked on with Lending Tree’s philanthropic branch is the continuation of our $1,000 Bear HUG (Helpful Unfettered Gift) grants for previous recipients of a $250 HUG micro-grant. In the last six weeks, we’ve HUGGED our first five grantees of the program. to help them expand on their programming.
Bae Hart of The Bae Hive received a $1,000 HUG to implement The Bae Hive’s Civil Arts Society Showcase which is a compilation of Youth Black Arts Alchemists/Creators (dancers, artists and poets) from Charlotte and surrounding areas. This HUG will support the first showcase this fall.
Hart has been in Charlotte since 1991. “I was passing through and stayed,” she told us. Hart has a heart for youth and especially using art to lift up youth of color in the Charlotte area. Her goal? “To see Charlotte as a continuous hub for supporting, elevating and encouraging youth interested in the arts.”
Jessica Moss – The Roll Up CLT
Jessica Moss of The Roll Up CLT will use her $1,000 HUG to create her organization’s first website. She intends for her Roll Up CLT site to include details about projects, incoming residents of the program, highlights from previous residents, and resources for community partners.
Roll UP CLT is a neighborhood-embedded artist residency program that connects national artists, local talent and community residents in Charlotte’s Camp Greene neighborhood.
“This HUG will support the work of Black artists and designers in the design, build and launch of The Roll Up CLT’s very first website,” said Moss. “The site will serve as a resource to artists and our local arts community. Visitors will find highlights from previous residents and a list of resources available for residents thanks to our community partners. It will act as a digital archive of our entire music/literary/art collection.”
LaDara McKinnon is on a quest to bring fine art to underprivileged groups and underrepresented spaces. McKinnon will use her $1,000 for a new mural commissioned by Chasers (3217 The Plaza), an LGTBQ+ social club in NoDa that wanted to upgrade its exterior and bring life to other businesses in the area.
McKinnon is expected to start and complete her mural at Chasers this month. “As a member of the LGTBQ+ community, I am serving my community and helping an LGTBQ+ small business owner revamp a historic location,” she said. “I hope this project creates a more welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community and other members of the NoDa neighborhood.”
Beth Bell – Fashion & Compassion
Beth Bell with Fashion & Compassion used her $1000 HUG for upgrades to the brick and mortar store to accommodate new locally-sewn skirts. The grant will provide new shelving, upgrade the peeling wallpaper and give a fresh new look.
Fashion & Compassion works to create “empowerment communities” for vulnerable women in Charlotte and around the world. Women working with the organization learn to make jewelry and crafts. They are provided with resources to help transform their lives and are able to make supplemental income for their families.
Bell told us that Fashion & Compassions “…envisions communities where formerly vulnerable women lead abundant and purposeful lives. To that end, we are working to transform the lives of women overcoming trafficking, abuse, poverty and persecution, moving them from the burden of pain to purpose. “
When asked what she hoped her project would create in Charlotte, Bell responded, “I hope this project creates awareness for the work of Fashion & Compassion and an expanded community supporting vulnerable women in our city.
We will have a more in-depth conversation with Beth Bell in a future Biscuit. Stay tuned.
Winston Robinson – A Vibe Called Fresh
Winston Robinson’s $1,000 HUG has already contributed to the activation of A Vibe Called Fresh’s new events series called “A Vibe Outside.” This event happens on the third Saturday of each month from July through October.
Robinson, a Charlotte native, hopes to do his “part to close the widening wealth and equity gap for people from historically excluded communities.” His creative goal in 2021 is to “utilize creativity to make a more equitable world — a better world for us all.” The HUG will be used for the next three events:
- August 21
- September 25
- October 9
A Look at the “Vibe Outside” on July 24
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These five Bear HUGs were powered by the LendingTree Foundation.
Charlotte Is Creative is a member of the inaugural Lendahand Alliance.
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