About Us

Our Mission

Charlotte Area Fund exists to address poverty causes by providing programs and services that assist economically disadvantaged citizens gaining the skills and abilities necessary to achieve self-sufficiency.

Our History

Charlotte Area Fund was founded in 1963 as a poverty-fighting organization and one of the first agencies funded by the North Carolina Fund. When the Economic Opportunity Act was passed in 1964, organizations called Community Action Agencies were formed to fight the War on Poverty at a community level. CAF was designated as the Community Action Agency for Mecklenburg County.

Since its inception, CAF has partnered directly with families and communities to ensure that every Mecklenburg County resident has the resources and the support they need to build a pathway out of poverty. Many local institutions were developed and launched from CAF, including Head Start, Second Harvest Food Bank, Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont and more.

CAF is a community leader in the fight against poverty in Mecklenburg County, committed to the dignity and respect of each client.

Centered on Community

Charlotte Area Fund has long fought to break the cycle of generational poverty through partnership and investment into communities. We believe that every community member should have the support they need to build a better future for their family – and that the health of our entire city depends on it.

Like all community action agencies, CAF uses a tripartite board structure designed to center community voices. One-third of board members are community members from the neighborhoods we serve. This ensures that the board is directly connected to the needs of the community. One-third of the board is made up of private sector professionals and the remaining third includes elected officials.

Meeting People Where They Are

When clients are accepted into CAF programming they are paired with a Success Coach that helps each person envision a better plan for their family, then build a plan to get there. This individualized planning is at the heart of CAF’s approach and targets the unique needs of each family.

Untangling the web of poverty can be complex for many families – that’s why CAF uses a wrap-around approach that targets the needs of the whole family. Our team cares about the details that contribute to the success of each person’s story. Success Coaches work with clients to identify high level needs, such as job training and certification, then offer supportive services to address immediate needs such as childcare, food security and emergency assistance. Partnerships with a range of community organizations ensure that CAF has access to a broad network of additional services.

Clients at CAF aren’t just a number. We believe in the dignity of each individual, crafting a plan that will remove barriers and help families build permanent pathways out of poverty.