CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new community foundation devoted to raising funds and awareness for local charities in the Queen City is picking up steam after its debut this spring.

“When all of our hearts beat as one, people…everyone…thrive,” is their slogan and the group has already made a splash, hosting the annual Queen City Drag Race in May and the upcoming Leslie Jordan performance, “Show Pony,” on June 13 in Uptown Charlotte.

Founding board member Suzie Ford says the group grew out of friends’ desires to get involved and make a positive impact in the community.

“Just a few like-minded friends and individuals got together and started thinking we’d like to do something to make a difference,” she tells qnotes.

Ford is joined in forming the group by Joe Davis, who’s previously worked with Charlotte Pride and the Human Rights Campaign’s North Carolina Gala, among other founding board members, including: Bret Wendel, Tom Feldman, Marty Miller, Mario Newton, Courtney Valve-Lynch, Sara Marie Miller and Troy Shellito.

“Our board members are pretty diverse,” says Ford, who with her husband owns NoDa Brewing Company. “We have a good group that has different backgrounds.”

Ford, who’s background is in banking, founded NoDa Brewing Company two and a half years ago. Like her passion and vision for Hearts Beat as One, Ford says NoDa Brewing has striven to give back.

“We treat our brewery like we treat ourselves,” she says. “It’s a responsible citizen in the community. It gives back just like we give back.”

That sense of personal and corporate giving, combined with the diversity of Hearts Beat as One’s leadership, says Ford, will help the new foundation bring attract support for an equally diverse collection of charities. “Hopefully, our voice and organization will be able to spread the word about charities making a difference,” she says.

The group will focus on event planning and fundraising. With events like the Queen City Drag Race and Leslie Jordan’s show, they hope to attract community members who will have the opportunity not only to give back, but also to participate in community activities.

The Drag Race, for example, attracted some 300 race-watchers with six racing teams participating in the fun to raise money for the Battered Women’s Shelter, Campus Pride, Charlotte Royals Rugby Football Team, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Human Rights Campaign and the Leukemia Society. The foundation also signed up as a sponsor of Time Out Youth’s annual fundraising gala this month.

Hearts Beat as One also plans to offer an annual scholarship grant. As they fundraise for other charities, they’ll also raise funds to support the new grant. The particulars haven’t yet been ironed out, Ford says, but the group will give to an individual or organization worthy of support.

Ultimately, Ford hopes to see more organizations getting the recognition and support they deserve.

“It’s all of us coming together and putting our passion for the community to work,” she says. : :

— For more information, visit Hearts Beat as One on Facebook at facebook.com/heartsbeatasone and stay tuned for the foundation’s new website coming soon at heartsbeatone.org.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

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