Charles Thomas

Charlie Thomas

Charles Thomas, an artist, educator and entrepreneur, is the Executive Director of Queen City Forward. As a social innovation accelerator and incubator, Queen City Forward’s mission is to unleash the potential of high growth, high impact social entrepreneurs in Charlotte to create sustained economic and social impact that spurs economic development, improves the lives of citizens and drives a new model for sustainable growth.


Prior to leading Queen City Forward, Charles served as the Director of Education of The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film. During his tenure he expanded the Museum’s outreach program, increasing impact and earned revenue. Charles is a professional photographer and recently co-published a book of photography and stories with author Valaida Fullwood called GIVING BACK: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists which recently won the 2012 Terry McAdam Book Award.


After graduating from Duke University with a degree in Economics, Charles started his career as a consultant for Andersen Consulting (Accenture). Charles is active in the community and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, the East Mecklenburg High School Foundation and is an active member of the New Generation of African American Philanthropy (NGAAP). He is the former Vice President of the Community Charter School Board and served on the TEDxCharlotte
Steering Committee.
Charles enjoys traveling internationally. His passport includes stamps from India, South Africa, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, China and most recently Italy. Charles is married to Micaila Milburn and is the proud father of 3 beautiful boys ages 6, 8, and 14. In his free time, Charles likes to draw, practice origami, fly airplanes (paper airplanes) and drum with his family.