PLATINUM2024

COMMON HEART INC

a small revolution of kindness

Indian Trail, NC   |  https://commonheart.org

Mission

Common Heart is a grassroots organization that fosters individual and community engagement to feed hungry families and empower those in poverty, creating a sustainable community where all can thrive. Common Heart's vision is to create a small revolution of kindness in our community to eradicate food insecurity and eliminate generational poverty.

Ruling year info

2013

Executive Director

Keith Adams

Main address

PO Box 2761

Indian Trail, NC 28079 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Common Heart Missional Community

EIN

46-1161476

NTEE code info

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Common Heart's comprehensive economic empowerment and development programs for low-income individuals grew out of two concerns: our relationships with families living with food insecurity in generational poverty, and data coming out of multiple sources. These sources show that the Charlotte region ranked fifty of of the fifty largest cities in upward economic mobility for its residents (Harvard and UC Berkeley, 2014). a similar study showed that sixty-nine percent of the population born in the lowest economic quintile will remain economically unstable throughout their lives, not rising above the second quintile (MDC, Belk Foundation, 2014). During 2020, the need for our food services rose drastically with the rise in food insecurity (14.5%). At this point, food insecurity is still estimated to be higher than in 2019 (10.7% vs 9.6%, Feeding America). Inflation and decreasing governmental support for pantries and individuals returning to pre pandemic levels are challenges this year.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Common Cupboard

Our Common Cupboard relationship-based pantry operates out of our locations in Indian Trail and Marshville; it provides an opportunity to serve a hungry neighbor by delivering a week’s worth of groceries. The family in need can be from anywhere in the region volunteers are willing to deliver the groceries. Our goal is to maintain relationships and encourage new transformative ones through one-on-one serving.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
People with disabilities

Common Heart serves individuals throughout Union County in partnership with local organizations who provide strategic program space and service to reach as many families as possible. We offer 4 traditional food pantries each week featuring government commodities through the USDA’s The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). In addition, we provide fresh produce and baked goods. Families must be Union County residents and qualify under this government program to receive food. Our mobile pantries provide additional opportunities for families to receive food throughout the year. There are no restrictions for visiting mobile pantries.

Population(s) Served
Families
Unemployed people

Common Heart’s economic empowerment programs help low-income families become more stable and build resources for a new future story. Our programs are designed specifically for families who experience generational poverty to build upon the problem-solving skills that these individuals already possess.

Getting Ahead is an 18-session investigation into poverty, our lives, and our community. Participants work together in a focus empowerment group to discover what it takes to move their families into a more stable and prosperous life. Graduates leave the program with a comprehensive SMART goal plan to guide their next 6-18 months of economic development and personal coaching.

Stability & Growth workshops and the Emergency Savings Incentive Program are additional resource building opportunities offered to Getting Ahead graduates.

Population(s) Served
Families

Tax preparation provided for families with household incomes less than $60,000. Volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS. The program is part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of meals served or provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Common Heart Food Pantry Programs (Traditional & Mobile)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

At the beginning of 2023, had a food shortage, so provided less meals but reached more people in 2023.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families

Related Program

Common Cupboard

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Food insecurity rates continue to decrease, from approx. 10% to 7%. We continue to serve more families due to support to expand our pantry network, serving about 75% of food insecure in Union County.

Number of tax returns completed by volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Common Heart Free Tax Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Service not offered in 2020 due to COVID restrictions. Only offered virtually in 2021. Returned to full service in 2022. 2023 resulted in refunds totaling $743,684 and an average return of $1,433.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Families in poverty cannot build resources without stabilizing the present. Common Heart helps stabilize the present by providing access to food, while connecting the families that we serve to our economic empowerment programs to bring stability and self-sufficiency to those in poverty. Participants in Common Heart’s economic empowerment programs are not taught. Instead, they discover through a facilitated process that helps to develop the cognitive and soft skills needed to negotiate a transition out of poverty.

We offer 4 traditional food pantries each week featuring government commodities through the USDA’s The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). In addition, we provide fresh produce and baked goods. Families must be Union County residents and qualify under this government program to receive food. Our on-the-go mobile pantries provide additional opportunities for families to receive food throughout the year. There are no restrictions for visiting mobile pantries. Our relationship-based delivery pantry operates out of our locations in Indian Trail and Marshville to serve individuals who cannot attend traditional or mobile food pantries due to hardships.

Our introductory economic empowerment program, Getting Ahead (GA), consists of a 42.5-hour facilitated group with leaders of households earning less than 200% of FPL. Last year our offerings grew from 2 groups to 6. During GA, participants investigate poverty in their lives and community. They receive a $35 Walmart gift card persession, free childcare during groups and free dinner.

Stability & Growth workshops are resource building opportunities designed for families experiencing poverty. These workshops include Money & Me financial literacy workshop, Escaping Relational Drama, Hidden Rules of Class in the Workplace, and the Power of Negotiation. We will also be offering Working Smart Certification through a partnership with South Piedmont Community College.

The Emergency Savings Incentive Program is a 6-18 month follow-through program that builds upon the initial Getting Ahead experience. ESIP includes life-coaching, resource-building workshops, and opportunities to build social capital and supportive relationships for economic stability and growth. Once the requirements have been met, participants receive a $500 deposit into a savings account at a banking institution of their choice. Working toward this incentive provides a concrete motivation to invest time working to achieve their goals. For many of our participants it is the first savings account they have ever had. Due to the tripling of Getting Ahead groups and an increase in completion rates, we are seeing our ESIP program participants grow accordingly. We expect over 30 will complete it in 2023.

Common Heart's mission is to foster individual and community engagement to feed hungry families and empower those in poverty, creating a sustainable community where all can thrive. We accomplish this through partnerships within our community to deliver all our programming.

Our locations in Indian Trail and Marshville focus primarily on Union County and southeast Mecklenburg County of the Charlotte Metropolitan area. Common Heart serves individuals throughout Union County in partnership with local organizations who provide strategic program space and service to reach as many families as possible. Common Heart has multiple established partnerships in the communities of Indian Trail, Waxhaw, Wesley Chapel, Matthews, Hemby Bridge, Monroe, Wingate and Marshville.

Common Heart's 10 food pantry programs engage an average of 420 monthly volunteers in partnership with Mill Grove UMC, Benton Heights Presbyterian Church, Wingate Baptist Church, Union UMC, Mineral Springs UMC, Amazing Grace ELCA, Liberty Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church and Weddington Methodist Church. Common Heart’s goal is to expand our partnerships across Union County to break down the barriers to services and access to resources.

Common Heart’s economic empowerment programs partners include the Community Church of Monroe, Stallings UMC, First Presbyterian (Monroe), SignPost Ministries nonprofit co-working space, Communiversity, and City of Monroe Parks and Recreation Community Center. Programming partnerships include South Piedmont Community College - Human Resource Development, Monroe Union County Community Development - Credit & Homebuying, Cooperative Extension of Union County - Healthy Eating on a Budget, and The Well - WOMB (Women on a Mission Boldly). Our professional certified life-coaching services are provided through an MOU with Conversation Books, LLC.

Free tax preparation is provided annually in partnership with Community Link.

Additional collaborations and partnerships include the Food Council of Union County, and Thrive! Union NC, which seeks to increase collaboration in our community across sectors and classes on issues of poverty and upward mobility.

We have been serving the community for 17 years. We have developed successful knowledge and skills in food pantry and economic mobility service programming. Common Heart’s success is not only in the management of these programs, but also in the way that we fund the program through sustainable gifts and the utilization of volunteer services. Our organization’s capacity to serve through a wide breadth of programs is through our volunteer relationships and service programs. We are the largest regular provider of food pantry programs in Union County. We have a depth of service, through 10 collaborative food pantry programs. Our food program is supported by Second Harvest, TEFAP USDA funding, and grocery store food rescue programs. Through these continued partnerships we are helping to provide a weeks’ worth of groceries for each family we serve to supplement their basic needs. This is an ongoing service for our families, and our mission is to continue providing food service until that family comes to a more stable situation.

We are the only certified trainers for the Bridges out of Poverty programs in our county. Our capability to include institutions, organizations, and leaders in the Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead framework helps create a community of one common language and strategy to serve those in poverty throughout Union County. As our Thrive! Union Coalition continues to grow we will have the opportunity to create a collaborative environment serve through more organizations and communities.

Common Heart has been providing Getting Ahead since 2017. We have successfullyincreased our number of classes from 2 to 6 a year during 2022. We have increased our completion rate from 50% to 60%. We began providing Bridges Out of Poverty based programming in 2014. Since that time, we have maintained ongoing certifications in the Bridges framework which is the basis of our GA, ESIP, and other programming. Since initiating our ESIP program we have produced 25 recipients over at 24-month time frame. These successes are because of an amazing dedicated staff and volunteers who in 2020, during the height of the pandemic, increased our pantry service from 7 outlets too 10, and increased the number served from 7,500 in 2019 to 17,500 in 2020.


We do not do anything on our own. We collaborate with other organizations, and develop a community based strategy. The more collaborative relationships we develop the more people we serve. Utilizing the Bridges out of Poverty constructs we bring together people across the economic spectrum and beyond institutional silos. One face of this is Thrive! Union first convened in December 2018. Thrive! Union is a developing coalition representing 30 organizations actively working on identify and correcting the gaps in service to our community. We have provided Bridges Out of Poverty training and Poverty Simulation experience to over 300 members of our community. We know we are making progress as we come together throughout are community addressing economic mobility.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome

Financials

COMMON HEART INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

COMMON HEART INC

Board of directors
as of 02/01/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Patrick Loeffler

Director of Business Management, Wells Fargo Securities

Term: 2017 - 2023


Board co-chair

Amy Russo

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC

Term: 2019 - 2023

Darren Greene

Image Church

Terrica Hightower Washington

Woodforest Bank

Cara Bailey

eXp Realty

Althea Richardson-Tucker

Lawyer

Michael Jordan

Atrium Health

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/13/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/29/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.