by Ciera Choate
After calling Matthews their home for six years, the nonprofit Levine Senior Center finally has its chance to see something new – funding from Mecklenburg County.
All that stands between the senior center and its $65,000 grant is a feasibility study looking to see if the Levine Senior Center and Charlotte’s Tyvola Senior Center are helping the community in different ways. If awarded, the grant would be the first financial support the senior center has been given by the county. Mecklenburg County provides more than $240,000 annually to the Tyvola Senior Center.
“We were approved to receive $65,000 from Mecklenburg County, but there are some contingencies with that grant so we are going through the process now of working with the county,” Dahn Jenkins, executive director of the Levine Senior Center, said.
Jenkins said the study will look at two questions: Are the centers doing the same thing? Can they be merged? If the county concludes that the centers are different and do not need to be combined the Levine Senior Center will receive the Unrestricted Contingency Grant that will go toward their health and wellness programs.
“I think that [the study] is going to go fine. I don’t really think it would benefit either center to merge,” Jenkins said.
The health and wellness programs at the center, which are available to the more than 800 members, including healthy living classes, tai chi, yoga and water aerobics. The grant also will fund support groups and the free health screenings provided by the center.
Jenkins said the grant is especially needed because donations to the nonprofit center are down. To cope with the loss, the center recently raised membership fees. The six-month membership fee increased from $60 to $70 and the one-year membership fee increased from $100 to $120.
“With the economy the way that it is, not getting a lot of grants and having our donations down this year we had to increase our dues to keep our center running,” Jenkins said.
The feasibility study that will determine whether or not the Levine Senior Center will receive the $65,000 grant should be completed and the money awarded within the next 90 days, if all goes smoothly, Jenkins said.
The Levine Senior Center is located at 1050 DeVore Lane in Matthews and can be contacted by calling 704-846-4654. Those interested in donating to the center should call or stop by.