Levine’s endowment will push the city’s Social Impact Endowment pass the three quarter stage in their drive to raise $20 million for the city’s underprivileged.
Leon Levine and Sandra
The Social Impact Endowment Foundation for the Carolina, a project that formed to help the city of Charlotte’s homeless families and returning army veterans find affordable housing has recently received a $1 million boost from the Leon Levine Foundation.
The donation means that the Social Impact Endowment fund has now raised $16.3 million towards their $20 million goal, a sufficiently significant amount that will go a long way in reshaping the way the recession hit city will find solutions to the problems for Charlotte’s financially challenged populations, particularly families with young children or army veterans who have returned from service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Charlotte’s homeless population, many of them women and children, has increased dramatically over the last few years, with many of them now being housed in emergency shelters until a solution to provide permanent housing can be found for them. Many homeless people spend their nights sleeping outside, but with the recent cold snap, bringing sub zero temperature, the city’s Center of Hope shelter for women and children, with capacity for 250, was taking in as many as 350 people in distress get out of the potentially fatal weather conditions.
The Levine family has been particularly active contributors to the Foundation for the Carolinas endowment program, with the Levine’s son, Howard, CEO of the Family Dollar store chain founded by Leon Levine also donating $1 million to the endowment while encouraging other more fortunate members of the community to provide assistance for the needy.
The Social Impact Endowment fund was set up in such a way that initially the annual interest or dividend earnings that the combined $20 million fund will have at its disposal will go toward fighting family homelessness, and is scheduled to begin providing assistance to the city’s underprivileged families on a relative small scale within the coming months, and will reach the peak of its operations peak in five years, when it should be providing financial backing to 125 families annually.
Leon Levine founded the first Family Dollar store in 1959, when aged just 21. The store, in Charlotte, North Carolina, was founded around the marketing concept that each of the wide variety of items that the store would stock that would cost no more than $2.00 each.
Thanks to Levine’s vision and undoubted entrepreneurial skills, the Family Dollar Stores, Inc. group went from strength to strength, now operating more than seven thousand retail outlets across the United States, with their stocks being traded on the New York Stock Exchange from 1970 onwards.
Leon Levine retired from his role as CEO in 2003, passing on control of the company that he founded to his son Howard R. Levine.
Even before retiring, Leon and his wife Sandra have involved themselves in a variety of charitable and philanthropic causes within the state of North Carolina with the Levine Center for Wellness and Recreation being their most recent, but certainly not their last.