Mission and History
Our mission is to help low-income families in the Church turn over a new leaf by providing them with financial assistance, basic necessities, and counseling within a system of accountability.
The New Leaf Foundation was founded in 2007 by a then 16 year old girl named Laura Gennings. Before starting this organization, her journey in serving the less fortunate began while she was volunteering at an after-school program in Charlotte for at-risk kids. The children in the after-school program lived in chronically poor neighborhoods that were notorious for gangs, drug rings, and prostitution. However, that after-school program served as the only safe-haven for those kids where they had a warm meal every day, caring people who tutored and mentored them, and programs that taught them life skills. Without this program, the kids were doomed to be just "another statistic" with no hope for a future outside of poverty.
After learning about the difficult home lives of these children and their families, Laura realized that while the after-school program provided a safe-haven for the children, there was no safe haven for their families at home. This realization sparked her idea to start a nonprofit that took a holistic approach to serving families in inner-city Charlotte. At the age of 16, Laura said to her dad, greatly distraught by how these families were forced to live compared to the comforts of her own life, "Dad, I'm tired of throwing my life away. I'm ready to turn over a new leaf. That's why I've decided to start a non-profit organization to serve the less fortunate families in inner-city Charlotte. And because I'm turning over a new leaf, I want to call my organization the New Leaf Foundation."
Her first action towards making this happen occurred when her dad told her about a single mother of two children that were in the after-school program who was not able to afford their electric bill because she had to pay for other necessities like food and rent. So moments after hearing this story, Laura went door to door in her neighborhood to collect the $225 the family needed to pay their light bill. Within 20 minutes, she had collected exactly $225. Later, the mother of that family said that without that money, she and her family would have only had $40 to live off of for the whole week. Now, the New Leaf Foundation helps many families like that one get back on their feet. We have created a holistic program that provides for the needs of hard-working, low-income families and teaches them basic budgeting and job-hunting and retention skills. We help families in need turn over a new leaf.