In February 2020, Interfaith Youth Core's Founder and President, Eboo Patel, issued a challenge to the Charlotte community:
"The time is ripe to come together across
religious divides to build a stronger Charlotte."
Then came COVID-19, and along with it, increasing needs in critical areas such as food insecurity and education gaps.
Thanks to an initial grant from The Gambrell Foundation, Bridge Builders Carolinas was born. In the midst of a global pandemic, a small but mighty team took up Patel's challenge, meeting Covid-related needs from food insecurity to learning loss for our religiously diverse community.
With the approval of Covid-19 vaccines, the BBC network mobilized quickly to join IFYC's national Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors (FIVA) program. Campus teams worked with faith communities and nonprofit organizations to build trust in the vaccine and address issues of access to it among historically underserved populations. Soon after launch, an initial grant from The Duke Endowment allowed us to expand our impact--attracting the attention of the White House and inspiring a stop in Charlotte on the Vice President's bus tour.
A new $1 million grant from The Duke Endowment continues Bridge Builders' growth, funding new "Faith in the Vaccine Ambassador" teams across the Carolinas over the course of 2022.
This strong network will continue to build bridges of understanding and cooperation across differences, helping us to emerge from the pandemic better equipped to deploy interfaith engagement as a catalyst for social change.