The Democratic National Convention ended Thursday night in a flurry of confetti and the delirious cheers of a packed crowd at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte as President Barack Obama accepted the party's nomination for re-election.
As thousands of delegates and news reporters make their exodus from Charlotte on Friday, the city hopes to keep the momentum generated from the four-day event going. So, Mayor Anthony Foxx created the Legacy Programs so that the civic effort used to prepare for the convention could also create a positive, lasting impact on the region.
"This is a singular moment to showcase what's here and catalyze the growth of programs," said Kathleen Powers, a volunteer with the convention host committee.
Charlotte partnered with businesses and nonprofits to focus the Legacy Programs on four themes: healthy children and families, youth employment and civic education, sustainable energy and technology and an inclusive economy.
For example, the city worked with Friendship Gardens, an organization that is sowing the seeds for urban gardens at local schools, churches and homes, to expand the markets for its fresh produce. The host committee helped arrange a break on rent for Friendship Gardens to set up a location at Charlotte's transit station and is providing funding for its first year of operation there, garden development director Katherine Metzo said.
"It's the last stop for a lot of people before they head home, so we hope this will get fresh produce into more area homes," Metzo said.
Keva Walton, senior vice president of the Charlotte Chamber, said his organization and more than a dozen corporate partners are working to connect small, minority-owned businesses to help them grow and create jobs.
"All of us wanted much more than the convention by itself," Walton said. "Equally important is what's left behind."