The Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative has an official leader.
The organization announced Thursday that Kimberly Henderson, an attorney of more than 20 years in the public sector, was named executive director of the Employer Office of Inclusion and Advancement, which will directly support the initiative, which seeks to address inequities and remove barriers to opportunity.
Most recently, Henderson served as a member of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s cabinet and director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
In this role, she was accountable for delivering human services programs — food assistance, unemployment benefits, workforce development, child protective services and childcare programs — to more than 2 million Ohio residents.
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Henderson said she’s honored to partner with Charlotte’s corporate and philanthropic community “to advance this transformative initiative.”
“Our mutual effort to promote economic opportunity for the Black community and other people of color in Charlotte has the power to impact future generations and lift the entire region,” she added.
Last November, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles announced the creation of the Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative, which set an initial goal to raise $250 million from private donations and tax dollars. The initiative launched with nearly $200 million in corporate support and has grown since then.
The initiative will fund four focus areas:
- Bridging the digital divide and
establishing a Center for Digital Equity
- Investing in Charlotte’s six “corridors of opportunity”
- transforming Johnson C. Smith University into a top-10 HBCU
- ensuring corporations commit to equity by advancing Black and Brown workers to executive levels..
As executive director, Henderson will be responsible for implementing and overseeing each priority area.
The initiative’s co-chairs, Mike Lamach and Malcomb Coley, said they were excited to have Henderson lead the effort.
“Kim’s strong track record of service to communities and others, and her proven ability to convene and organize transformational civic ideas, is exactly what we need in this important moment for Charlotte,” Coley and Lamach said in a statement.
Henderson moved from Ohio last spring with her husband, Eric. Their son, Vincent, is a sophomore at Arizona State.