Sharon Portwood

Sharon Portwood
Working on the nonprofit holy grail

Sharon Portwood Working on the nonprofit holy grail

Working on the nonprofit holy grail

UNCC's impossible task: find someone with an undergrad in advertising, a law degree, and a doctorate in cultural psychology and hire him or her to head up the university's Institute for Social Capital Inc. (ISC). Fortunately for the university, and for the Charlotte community, Sharon Portwood has that exact set of degrees. Although the institute is only five years old, its role as facilitator and evaluator of social services programs will be increasingly critical as budgets tighten, demands for services increase, and the United Way deals with its distractions.

The forty-eight-year-old Portwood will draw on the persuasive skills of an ad exec when encouraging community organizations to allocate resources to a collaborative effort (for example, homelessness). Under Portwood's direction, participant and program data from dozens of collaborating community organizations and faith communities that provide services to children, youth, and families will be analyzed and efforts will be evaluated. And, hopefully, those groups will learn whether their programs are working. "This is what universities should be doing," Portwood says. "They can't serve the world's problems at arms' length."

But the ISC does more than computing. It provides administrative expertise and resources to plan and evaluate large-scale, multipartner collaborative efforts. Persuading dozens of agencies to collaborate on a project and share confidential data can be daunting, but the former litigator says she's up to it. "This is the job I was meant to do."

More »Related Stories

Memories of Brooklyn

A black man’s search for the “warmth of other suns” leads him back to his Southern roots

From Rust Belt to Bible Belt

The long shadow of steel country

Is Charlotte Southern?

In the Rearview Mirror: Busing in Charlotte

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:


Stay up-to-date on all things Charlotte by siging up for our newsletters. Learn more by clicking here.

Blogs »

Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

The Idea House

Charlotte architects create a riverfront oasis in the South Carolina Lowcountry that's built to inspire


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

New Chef for Bad Daddy's


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Tröegs Brewing hits Charlotte shelves

Local events planned around arrival of popular Pennsylvania brewery


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

A Screwing In Three Acts

Three stories illustrate the priorities of our increasingly corporatized public sector.



Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

Charlotteans Dazzle on 'America's Got Talent'