Movement Foundation investing $12 million to launch charter school

October 13, 2016
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Charlotte Business Journal
October 13, 2016

The nonprofit arm of Indian Land-based Movement Mortgage is investing millions in upfits to a Freedom Drive retail center for a new public charter school.

Called Movement School, the project is a cooperative between The Movement Foundation, Sugar Creek Charter School and the state of North Carolina. The tuition-free public charter school will open in fall 2017 for 300 students in west Charlotte.

Movement School, planned for the former Kmart-anchored shopping center at 2701 Freedom… more

As previously reported by the Charlotte Business Journal, Movement Resources purchased the shopping center at 2701 Freedom Drive, formerly anchored by Kmart, for $4.3 million and filed plans with the city of Charlotte that indicated the center would accommodate a school. Movement School will open to students in kindergarten through second grade initially and add a grade each year up to eighth grade.

Movement School will include a cafeteria and transportation to school within a 5-mile radius. For the time being, it will be housed in the former Kmart with potential to grow into more space at the center if needed in the future. Existing retail tenants will remain in place for now. In addition to building renovations, the parking lot at the retail center will be updated for improved traffic flow and curb appeal.

The Movement Foundation is investing $12 million in startup costs for the school, whose academic program is being developed from Sugar Creek Charter’s example — the curriculum will include traditional studies, life skills and character education.

Movement School received its N.C. public school charter this year, which assures a tuition-free, state-sanctioned education, says Movement. The school will be governed by an independent board of directors. The facility will be owned by The Movement Foundation.

The goal is for Movement School to be a model for communities across the U.S. in the coming years, according to the nonprofit.

Movement Foundation Chairman Casey Crawford, a former Carolina Panthers tight end, is a founding board member of Movement School. Crawford's idea stemmed from childhood experiences working at his father's hardware store in a lower-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where he worked alongside teenagers who didn't have the same educational opportunities as he did.

The Movement Foundation is investing $12 million in startup costs for the school, whose academic program is being developed from Sugar Creek Charter’s example — the curriculum will include traditional studies, life skills and character education.

Movement School received its N.C. public school charter this year, which assures a tuition-free, state-sanctioned education, says Movement. The school will be governed by an independent board of directors. The facility will be owned by The Movement Foundation.

The goal is for Movement School to be a model for communities across the U.S. in the coming years, according to the nonprofit.

Movement Foundation Chairman Casey Crawford, a former Carolina Panthers tight end, is a founding board member of Movement School. Crawford's idea stemmed from childhood experiences working at his father's hardware store in a lower-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where he worked alongside teenagers who didn't have the same educational opportunities as he did.

“That’s when I really began to understand the power of an education,” Crawford said in a statement. “My experience was so much different than my friends who didn’t have the same educational resources.”

Crawford's vision for the school was to use The Movement Foundation’s capital in conjunction with Sugar Creek Charter's model and principal Cheryl Turner's experience to start another charter school on "one of the most economically-depressed corridors in the Queen City," Freedom Drive. Sugar Creek Charter was founded in 1999 by a group of leaders, including former Charlotte mayor Richard Vinroot, to address the needs of children living below the poverty line in northwest Charlotte. It currently serves 1,500 students from preschool to high school, Movement says.

“Our goal is for our kids to be successful in life,” Turner said in a statement. “It requires more than just the academics. We have to build character.”

Movement School is part of a $15 million investment on Freedom Drive by the nonprofit. The Movement Foundation spent $3 million upfitting a 40,000-square-foot former warehouse on the corridor for its Movement Center, which serves houses ministries and local nonprofit organizations. That center is now 90% occupied, with organizations including a feeding and homeless outreach ministry, after-school mentoring and a church.

"We believe in directing profit from the mortgage business to the nonprofit foundation in order to make investments in sustainable nonprofit work that brings life, light and hope to those in need," says a statement from Movement about the school. "Movement School will address the need for more enrollment opportunities for children living in underserved neighborhoods to access a high-quality public education, with Movement Foundation making sure the school has facilities, infrastructure and technology it needs to be successful."

http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2016/10/13/movement-foundation-investing-12-million-to-launch.html



 


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