Start-Scale-Sustain (S3) Grant

Closing date June 14, 2024, 05:00 PM


Building Capacity for Business District Organizations

The City of Charlotte’s Corridors of Opportunity program works across six corridors to

  • Foster thriving communities for residents and businesses
  • Build lasting legacies
  • Grow communities equitably

Corridors are vital to the health of Charlotte's communities, serving as links that connect people to the resources and businesses they need to live and thrive. 

To uplift these communities, the city is partnering with Business District Organizations (BDOs) within the corridors to strengthen the vitality of neighborhood commercial districts. The city intends to partner with these place-based organizations as they work to establish a collective vision for their district and champion the businesses and stakeholders to create a vibrant, healthy, and active place to do business.

Building on the city’s ongoing efforts to support BDOs through the long-standing Business District Organization Grant Program, administered by the city’s Economic Development department, and utilizing a one-time funding opportunity through federal dollars from ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act), the program will streamline and scale the opportunity for corridor-based established and emerging BDOs to receive organization-building and business-supporting services. These pre-qualified services are structured around, first, building up the BDO’s organizational capacity and structure and, second, increasing each organization’s value to the individual businesses and stakeholders within their district. Program participation will be designed based on the individual needs of each BDO and conducted in a progressive approach to provide foundational, long-lasting support for the organization.   

To accomplish this, the City of Charlotte plans to solicit for existing and emerging BDOs to apply for this one-time funding opportunity. Charlotte City Council has approved $1M to elevate this initiative.  

The funding application will open on Monday, May 6 and close on Friday, June 14, at 5p.m.  If your organization is interested in this opportunity, you can email your questions to

How Will it Work?

This grant is intended to flesh out the most immediate needs for BDOs within the COO. The city understands various organizations in different parts of the city have both common needs and area specific needs as well. Therefore, the city has crafted a program that will support capacity building of BDOs in the COO at various stages of development. This program is designed to offer flexibility to provide funding and tailored technical assistance to address their various needs in a progressive approach.

Activities that will be offered through this grant are divided into two main categories, based on the city’s experience in supporting BDO or the businesses located in the district:

  1. Organizational capacity building support and technical assistance
    • BDO Strategic Work: organizational development and strategic work for the BDO itself
    • BDO Inventories: generating a wholistic view of what current assets are within the district
    • BDO Communications: marketing and communications activities for the BDO itself
    • BDO Development: ongoing or one-time development support services for the BDO itself
  2. Business Support and Development: support services and programs for businesses located in the district. This category of activities is considered a “value-add” for the BDO to provide direct support to their membership in alignment with their strategic plan.

All organization that apply will be required to complete the Strategic Work and Inventories or show proof of current documentation. Once these items are completed BDOs will be able to leverage services that support and build upon the vision created within the first two activities.

Who Can Apply?

This program will support existing and emerging BDOs within the six Corridors of Opportunity. Organizations that wish to apply must:

  • Non-profit with an existing or pending 501(c)3 or 501(c)6 designation
  • Serve a business district in the Corridors of Opportunity
  • Represent at least 10 businesses from the business district they serve
  • Active UEI or have a fiduciary/fiscal sponsor with an UEI

How to Apply?

Use the link below to apply. Include a copy of the Work Sheet template to indicate for which services you would like to be considered to receive funding. Organizations will only be considered for the services they select. Read through all the documents on this page before submitting.

Apply for the Strart-Scale-Sustain (S3) Grant now! Please create a login to apply. Once you log in, search Start-Scale-Sustain (S3) Grant or contact


The Corridors of Opportunity team will be hosting a question-and-answer webinar on May 16 at 11 am. You must register for the webinar to get a virtual meeting link. Register here: You may submit questions prior to the event by emailing or

Contact Information


Grant Overview(PDF, 2MB)

Grant Guidelines(PDF, 390KB)

Frequently Asked Questions About BDOs(PDF, 182KB)