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$23 million donation to college by Mebanes
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$23 million donation to college by Mebanes

UNC Charlotte has formally renamed the Cato College of Education academic building to Mebane Hall following an endowment of up to $23 million, a gift from the Mebane Foundation.

The gift will help establish the Mebane Early Literacy Center, helping thousands of elementary students and teachers in Charlotte.

The Mebane Foundation is a nonprofit organization that prepares children for literacy success. The foundation’s gift is one of the largest in the University’s history and will be used to assist in teacher development, community partnerships, and early literacy research.

The foundation’s decision to partner with UNC Charlotte came after a competitive statewide search by the foundation, co-headed by Marianne Mebane.

“The Mebane Foundation felt like our program, our energy, and our work aligned with their mission and vision for the organization,” said Assistant Dean Tisha Greene.

There is an increasing need to support kids in early literacy, with kindergarten through third grade being vital years to develop reading and literacy skills.

Individuals within the Mebane Early Literacy program will gain experience that helps to prepare them to teach reading at a higher level.

“The Mebane Early Literacy Center is an opportunity for our university and college to partner with early literacy partners and schools in the community to support early literacy,” said Greene. “In addition, the Mebane Early Literacy Center will be a hub of bringing together these community organizations, nonprofits, and school partners to continue the work and research around early literacy.”

There has been a new committee established for the Mebane Foundation within Charlotte, where faculty are devoting their time toward helping achieve the initiatives of the Mebane Foundation, located on the third floor of Mebane Hall.

According to a press release from Charlotte on May 10, “Over the past 25 years, the foundation has granted more than $25 million to educational program partners across the state. In 2019, it invested in the University’s research-based summer reading camps.”

These summer camps are for elementary school students across the Charlotte region and are free to attend. These camps are a place where children have the opportunity to continue their reading education. This is also a way for upcoming teachers to use their educational practices and skills obtained at the University.

In addition, Cato College of Education has implemented Project ENRICH, providing year-round tutoring services to elementary students who need literacy support. Since 2019, the foundation has invested $50,000 annually in these summer camps.

Over the next five years, the foundation will increase its funding and support for Cato College.

Photo: Marianne Mebane

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