Faith in the City: Patrick McCrory and the Mayor's Mentoring Alliance
Publication Date: July 4, 2004
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Abstract: In November 2003, Patrick McCrory became the first Mayor of Charlotte to be elected for a fifth term. Throughout his eight years in office, McCrory had developed and championed the "Mayor's Mentoring Alliance," a cross-sector initiative aimed at helping at-risk youth in his city. By 2003, the initiative had brought together over 50 youth-serving nonprofit organizations and 50 local corporations, earning the young Mayor the Governor's Outstanding Local Official Award for his efforts. Problems for minority youth in the city, however, continued to manifest and the demand for mentors far exceeded supply. With the growing acceptance of faith-based solutions to intractable community problems, President George W. Bush himself strongly promoting faith based initiative as an element of his philosophy of "compassionate conservatism," McCrory decided to reach out to Charlotte's most abundant source of volunteers--the religious community. The City of Charlotte was home to over 700 houses of worship, spanning over 100 Christian denominations and a growing number of other faiths. Despite the wealth of resources in the religious community, the unfamiliar and often politically charged nature of this community posed many challenges to the white, Republican Mayor. Detailing McCrory's efforts to expand the cross-sector mentoring alliances, the case raises strategic questions of how officials leverage limited public resources, form cross-sector partnerships with for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and assess the prospective liabilities and benefits of engaging a diverse faith community.