The Belk Foundation Awards $50,000 to Charlotte Teachers Institute

Thursday, September 5, 2013

CHARLOTTE – Sept. 5, 2013 - The Belk Foundation has awarded $50,000 to support the Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI), an innovative partnership among UNC Charlotte, Davidson College and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) to strengthen teaching and learning in local public schools by cultivating content knowledge, creativity, leadership skills and collaboration among CMS teachers. 

"We know that teachers are the single most important in-school factor to improving student achievement," said Katie Morris, Board Chair of The Belk Foundation. "More is expected of teachers than ever before and we believe in supporting them as much as we can."

The Belk Foundation has supported CTI since 2010 to help grow the institute’s intensive, long-term seminar program for CMS teachers and expand its evaluation efforts. In announcing this most recent grant, Belk Foundation Executive Director Johanna Anderson applauded CTI Fellows and faculty. "The Belk Foundation is inspired by the passionate educators involved in Charlotte Teachers Institute, from the CMS teachers to the Davidson College and UNC Charlotte professors,” Anderson said. “They are clearly committed to improving their craft."

CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan noted, “The Belk Foundation continues to demonstrate an unyielding commitment to improving public education in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.” Gartlan said this year’s Belk Foundation grant will support general program operations. A 2011-13 grant funded CTI’s extensive program evaluation, including quantitative data analysis; interviews with teachers, professors and students; and seminar and classroom observations. “Through this impactful partnership, CTI will continue to improve teacher quality, retention and student academic outcomes,” said Gartlan. 

About Charlotte Teachers Institute

Through seminars led by UNC Charlotte and Davidson College faculty, CMS teachers learn new content, work collaboratively with other teachers, and develop new curricula for their students. Teachers serve as leaders in the institute and choose seminar topics they deem most important and engaging for current CMS teachers and their students. To date, more than 260 CMS teachers have participated in CTI seminars teaching more than 50,000 students. 

An affiliate of the Yale National Initiative at Yale University, CTI provides high quality teacher professional development led by expert university and college faculty. Programs include seven-month long, content-rich seminars and special events for teachers, as well as community presentations such as the popular Exploding Canons cultural collaboration series.

Currently, 104 CMS teachers in grades K-12 are enrolled in eight, multidisciplinary seminars that continue until December. The seminars’ weekly meetings begin in April and recess during the summer, while teachers immerse themselves in reading and research related to the curriculum units they are developing for their students. These curriculum units generate learning beyond each teacher’s classroom, as the final units are shared with teachers’ school colleagues and are also published on the CTI and Yale National Initiative websites, making them accessible to teachers worldwide.

CTI programs are made possible by a joint commitment of resources from CMS, Davidson College and UNC Charlotte and through the generosity of private funding institutions such as The Belk Foundation. The institute is housed at UNC Charlotte within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

About The Belk Foundation

The Belk Foundation is a family foundation based in Charlotte, N.C., that supports public education by strengthening teachers and school leaders, and ensuring that students are achieving on or above grade level by the third grade. Now in its third generation of family leadership, The Belk Foundation serves as the public expression of gratitude and commitment shown by the family that created the Belk department store organization, which was founded by William Henry Belk and Dr. John Montgomery Belk in 1888. Over the years, the Foundation has received generous contributions from Belk, Inc., which directs some of its support for education through the Foundation. While The Belk Foundation is a separate entity from Belk, Inc. and its department stores, the two organizations sometimes collaborate on philanthropy and community service projects. The Belk Foundation had assets of more than $50 million as of May 31, 2013. Since 2000, The Belk Foundation has distributed more than $37 million to charities across the Southeast. More information is available at




For more information, contact: CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan at, phone 704‑687‑0078, or visit the CTI website at