Charlotte's 'first responder of funds'
Plus: Panthers' abandoned Rock Hill HQ on the market; State retirees can stay at Tryon Medical; Charlotte's skyline vs. Raleigh's; Atrium Health changes in SouthPark; New CMS website
Today's Charlotte Ledger is sponsored by Fox Rothschild, a national law firm whose Charlotte-based attorneys provide litigation, real estate, labor and employment, corporate and a wide range of other services to clients in the Carolinas and across the country.
Charity Spotlight: When disasters like Hurricane Ian hit, growing Charlotte nonprofit E4E Relief steps in
Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida last week, caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. Charlotte nonprofit E4E Relief helps companies with large workforces manage employee financial hardship programs, says CEO Holly Welch Stubbing (above). E4E is expecting 5,000 to 8,000 applications for assistance in connection with Hurricane Ian.
by Tony Mecia
A couple weeks ago, as a storm system starting moving toward the Caribbean off the northern coast of South America, officials at E4E Relief’s Charlotte office reached out to its 125 customers.
E4E Relief provides financial assistance to workers at large companies who experience hardships or endure natural disasters. And with a big storm brewing, E4E Relief checked in with those companies to see if they were comfortable with the amounts they had planned to spend on worker financial assistance programs.
“We were able to go to companies and say, ‘Here is your model of what you should expect to see in this storm,’” said E4E Relief CEO Holly Welch Stubbing.
The storm, of course, turned into Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 hurricane that tore through Florida and later crossed the Carolinas. It demolished homes and upended lives.
And while plenty of charities and government programs are starting to help in the relief efforts, E4E Relief has carved out a growing niche in providing immediate funding to workers facing unforeseen financial struggles. It’s a charity — a subsidiary of Foundation for the Carolinas — that allows companies to help their employees without tasking their own human resources departments with administering a relief program. Nearly one-tenth of Fortune 500 companies are clients.
Although it is gaining a national profile, E4E Relief flies mostly under the radar in Charlotte. Its origins go back more than two decades, to the 9-11 attacks, when then-Wachovia CEO Ken Thompson asked Foundation for the Carolinas to find a way to help the bank’s workers in New York. Since then, E4E Relief has worked providing relief on countless hurricanes, California wildfires, the Russia-Ukraine war, Covid and other disasters. Clients include Wells Fargo, LendingTree, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Salesforce and T. Rowe Price.
E4E Relief says its clients have about 5 million employees. In the last five years, it has received $330M in donations and has made $212M in grants — most in the range of $750 to $3,000.
“When something like this happens, the head of a large company wants to know, ‘Where are my people? Are they OK? What is going on down there? And what are we doing for them?’” Stubbing says. “… One of the things we have found is we are the first responder of funds, if you will, in a variety of situations. Aside from people literally being on the ground, like the military or the federal government, we are the first responders of actual dollars, even ahead of federal government dollars to individual people.”
E4E Relief has 55 employees, who work out of an office on North Tryon Street uptown. It also has about 30 contract workers.
Stubbing says E4E Relief is in “growth mode” and that the idea is catching on nationally, as companies see the benefits of having an outside charity manage their hardship assistance programs.
As for Hurricane Ian, Stubbing says E4E Relief plans to add another 40 contractors or so to handle the expected deluge of applications — as many as 5,000 to 8,000. As of Thursday, E4E Relief had already received 250 applications, many related to the financial costs of evacuating from Florida. After applications are completed and approved, the money can be in recipients’ hands within three to five days, sometimes quicker.
“A lot of people who come to us are in crisis,” Stubbing says. “We want to be really supportive and compassionate around their needs.”
Today’s supporting sponsors are Whitehead Manor Conference Center, a peaceful, private, and stress-free space for your organization’s next off-site meeting or event. Conveniently located in South Charlotte, Whitehead Manor is locally owned and operated and provides modern meeting capabilities with attention to stellar service!
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For sale: Rock Hill fixer-upper on 245 acres by I-77; ‘first-class property’ with ‘remarkable access’
Real estate agents love to list properties as “one of a kind,” and a recent listing in Rock Hill might actually fit that description: Would you be interested in a partially built NFL team headquarters and practice facility in the fast-growing Rock Hill area with convenient access to the airport and a major interstate?
Real estate firm Colliers has an online sales brochure for what it’s calling “Rock Hill Overlook,” which is advertised as
a premier ± 245 acre mixed-use development opportunity with immediate access to I-77 with a newly constructed Exit 81 interchange (May 2023). This first-class property offers exceptional ease to Rock Hill & the greater Charlotte markets. The property boasts remarkable access and visibility from I-77, with an astounding ± 5,679 SF of frontage.
An online brochure advertises a “mixed-use development opportunity” on the site of the abandoned Carolina Panthers headquarters project in Rock Hill.
The brochure doesn’t say that the land is the site that the Carolina Panthers planned to turn into their practice facility and headquarters. The Panthers halted the project this year after saying the city of Rock Hill didn’t live up to its end of the bargain, and a real estate company controlled by Panthers owner David Tepper filed for bankruptcy protection. The land, which was purchased for about $16M in 2020, is being sold to help satisfy claims from unpaid creditors.
The listing was first reported by the Charlotte Business Journal.
There’s no listing price. But if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. —TM
Update: State retirees can stay at Tryon Medical despite insurance plan change, state treasurer says
State Treasurer Dale Folwell says “nothing will change” for former state employees on the Humana Medicare Advantage insurance plan, even though Tryon Medical Partners is dropping the plan as of Jan. 1.
The news last week that Tryon would no longer accept the plan prompted panicked patients to call their doctors, Humana and the treasurer’s office, which handles the state health plan. Humana Medicare Advantage is one of two plans available to retired state employees. The Ledger reported on the switch and the confusion on Friday.
“I spoke with the founder of Tryon Medical today, and we have a great relationship with them,” Folwell told The Ledger on Friday. “Our Humana Medicare Advantage people will continue to be covered.”
Under an extraordinary provision in the state’s plan, members have the same benefits and copay when they see out-of-network doctors as when they stay in network, Folwell said. “This Humana contract is an example of us taking advantage of our largeness,” Folwell said.
In addition, Tryon will file with insurance for state retirees on the Humana plan, so patients won’t have to pay upfront and then get reimbursed as is sometimes the case with out-of-network providers.
By contrast, others enrolled in Humana Medicare Advantage plans who are not retired state employees will be significantly affected by Tryon’s decision, said David Rubinstein, an independent Medicare insurance broker with Carolina Insurance Partners.
If they have a Humana Medicare Advantage HMO, they won’t be able to see their doctors at Tryon at all, Rubinstein said. And if they have a Humana Medicare Advantage PPO, they will have a higher copay or more cost sharing for each visit, Rubinstein said.
Tryon Medical has declined to say how many patients are in each affected group. On Friday, spokesman Tom Williams said the practice sent a follow-up email to patients clarifying that those on the State Health Plan could still see their doctors and would not have to pay more.
Retired teacher Martha Bahnson said she wished the practice had shared that information sooner. “I’m glad I’ll get to stay with them, but it could have been handled differently,” Bahnson said. “It’s a shame they couldn’t put better information out there from the beginning so we didn’t all go off the deep end.” —Michelle Crouch
Related Ledger article:
“Tryon Medical shifts Humana Medicare Advantage patients out of network; state retirees look for new doctors” (Friday)
Charlotte’s skyline was built by visionaries. Raleigh’s skyline … not so much.
Our friends at The Assembly, a new statewide digital magazine, checked in last week on the origins of modern downtowns in Charlotte and Raleigh – and found some striking differences.
Comparing the state’s two largest cities, architecture writer J. Michael Welton observed in his piece, titled “A Tale of Two Skylines”: “One focused first on amassing tall buildings in its Uptown district. The other looked to development nodes ringing downtown.”
And, if you’re thankful that Charlotte didn’t focus on ringing its center city with “development nodes” – like Raleigh did – Welton credits former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl and former Mayor Harvey Gantt with overhauling Charlotte’s uptown in the 1980s.
‘Power and wealth’: It quotes McColl on the selection of architect César Pelli to design the Bank of America Corporate Center: “I wanted a skyscraper that would last forever, like the Empire State Building, and he understood. I wanted a building that reeked of power and wealth, and that was warm and friendly on the ground level.”
And it says McColl is fond of saying that Charlotte is the only city where you can walk from a football field to the ballet: “That’s the city we built,” McColl said. “It was not an accident — we did it on purpose.”
And Raleigh? Well, without visionaries focused on building up the center city, and no light rail line to spur development, Raleigh just sort of plodded along. Its downtown’s main street became a “deserted pedestrian mall,” the article says. Womp-womp.
It’s an interesting read – especially if you live in the city that had the forward-looking leaders who focused decades ago on creating a thriving downtown. You can check out the full Assembly article here.
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Atrium Health shakes up services in SouthPark
Atrium Health is overhauling the services it offers in Charlotte’s SouthPark area — closing its urgent care center but expanding other doctors’ offices. Oh, and it’s adding a bistro/coffee shop on the site on Cameron Valley Parkway.
A Ledger reader last week noticed a sign on the door of Atrium’s SouthPark urgent care that said its last day was Sept. 30. We asked Atrium for its thinking on closing the urgent care location, and a spokeswoman emailed us a statement that said not to worry — there are still urgent cares in other parts of Charlotte, plus the emergency department still on the site, which is across Fairview Road from Phillips Place.
And, the statement continued, there are exciting changes in the works, such as:
Expanded concierge and executive services
More primary care physicians
More services in dermatology and allergy
A new OB-GYN practice, whose patients will deliver at Atrium Health Pineville
More services for women patients, including a women’s cardiology program and a women’s sexual health practice
“An aesthetically pleasing and calming space which will offer a bistro/coffee shop for patients and families to enjoy”
You might be interested in these Charlotte events
Events submitted by readers to The Ledger’s new events board:
Thursday: Sustain Charlotte's Impact 704 Academy, 6-8 p.m. Camp North End. Learn how to help shape our future! Sustain Charlotte’s new FREE three-part Impact 704 Academy will teach you about sustainable land use and transportation. This advocacy-focused series, supported by Southminster, kicks off at 6 p.m. Oct. 6 at Camp North End. Free.
Oct. 12: PitchBreakfast, 8:30-10 a.m. Venture X Charlotte — The Refinery. PitchBreakfast is a monthly startup pitch event highlighting local entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to a panel of advisors. Join us this month as three startup companies pitch their businesses to our panel of investors for feedback and support. Free.
Oct. 15: Discover Queens. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Queens University of Charlotte. Discover Queens is an open house style event for interested undergraduate students and their families that goes beyond a typical campus tour. Come see what makes Queens special and what life looks like a Royal! Free.
◼️ Check out the full Ledger events board.
➡️ List your event on the Ledger events board.
New CMS website: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools launched a new website on Saturday, one that CMS says will be a “powerful communications hub.” Each school’s site will get a fresh look, with consistent navigation and expanded menus for middle and high schools. (WSOC)
N.C. hurricane deaths: North Carolina officials have attributed four deaths to Hurricane Ian. Three involved vehicles, and one was carbon monoxide poisoning from running a generator inside a garage. (WBTV)
City Council action: City Council committees today are expected to discuss plans for the Charlotte Area Transit System, development fees, neighborhood tree health, arts funding and implementing the Unified Development Ordinance.
Unless you are a day trader, checking your stocks daily is unhealthy. So how about weekly? How local stocks of note fared last week (through Friday’s close), and year to date:
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Executive editor: Tony Mecia; Managing editor: Cristina Bolling; Staff writer: Lindsey Banks; Contributing editor: Tim Whitmire, CXN Advisory; Contributing photographer/videographer: Kevin Young, The 5 and 2 Project
Wonder if prospective Queens students will have to mask inside, and show their updated Covid booster (like its students)? That would probably hinder the experience for some.