May 31, 2012

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina to award $580,000 in grants

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, has announced eight Strategic grants, totaling $580,000, to nonprofit organizations addressing the root causes of poverty in South Carolina. Grantees will receive funding at a luncheon on June 12 in Columbia.

Through Strategic grants, the foundation funds programs which make long-term and measureable changes to better South Carolina. In addition to addressing poverty through the program areas of education, health and social services, Strategic grants are designed for programs that are innovative, maximize community impact, have potential for replication, create sustained outcomes and benefit underserved populations and communities.

“Strategic grants allow the foundation to be more intentional with its grant making,” said Tom Keith, president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. “Now instead of just funding good programs, we are assessing the programs for greater depth and impact when it comes to how well they address the root causes of poverty, both generational and systemic.” 

After the foundation received 76 Strategic grant applications, a committee narrowed the applications down to 18 organizations that were invited to submit full proposals. A review team, comprised of the Foundation’s senior leadership, board members, other grant makers and community leaders, evaluated each application and conducted in-person interviews. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina Board of Trustees approved funding for the eight organizations receiving grants. This competitive process initiates the close working relationship between the foundation and each grantee organization throughout the life of the grant.

“We believe in the work and impact of each of these organizations,” said Mike McCabe, board chair of the foundation. “This funding will help strengthen their programs as they continue to serve the most vulnerable.”

Organizations wishing to apply for funding should visit the foundation’s website for information on the application process. The next grant application deadline is the first Tuesday in November.

2012 Strategic Grants

College Summit—$75,000 (Serving Berkeley, Hampton, Orangeburg, Richland and Sumter counties)
College Summit's mission is to increase the college enrollment rates of youth from low-income communities. Their vision is for all students to experience high school as a launch pad for college and career success. College Summit partners with high schools in low-income communities where the number of students qualifying for the free/reduced lunch program ranges from 55-85%. College Summit works to break the cycle of generational poverty by increasing college enrollment rates of promising low-income students. They accomplish this through 1) training and supporting "Peer Leaders"; 2) providing curricula and an online portal for a post-secondary planning course that is embedded in course work; 3) providing educators with professional development and on-site coaching to help them understand and respond to the unique needs of low-income, at-risk students, and to successfully lead the college preparatory class.

Cooperative Ministry—$225,000 (Serving Fairfield and Richland counties)
The mission of the Cooperative Ministry is to increase the economic self-sufficiency of people who are experiencing poverty in the Midlands through crisis assistance and sustainability programs. This grant is to fund Women and Children Succeeding (WACS), a program designed to assist families who are receiving welfare benefits to reduce and eventually eliminate their reliance on public assistance. Participants work with a WACS case manager to develop an individualized plan and timetable for graduation from school and WACS. The program collaborates extensively with faith and community-based partners to offer WACS participants spiritual counseling, financial assistance for childcare, intensive case management, life skills training, financial counseling, credit repair, advocacy and referrals, career counseling, parenting classes, one-on-one mentoring, Individual Development Account (IDA) savings program and transportation assistance. WACS also offers leadership opportunities to foster self-efficacy and fun social events for WACS participants and families. 

Lowcountry Food Bank, Inc.—$60,000 (Serving Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties)
The mission of the Lowcountry Food Bank is to feed the poor and hungry of the ten coastal counties of South Carolina by soliciting and distributing healthy food and grocery products to nonprofit agencies serving the poor, and to educate the public about the problems of and solutions to domestic hunger. This grant is for the Food Works culinary apprenticeship program. The 14-week "apprenticeship" provides unemployed/underemployed individuals familiarity with a commercial kitchen and its equipment, as well as an introduction to food preparation and presentation, kitchen work flow and sanitation, with curriculum developed by the food bank’s executive chef in conjunction with local culinary institutes and partners. During each week the program is in operation, the apprentices produce up to 2,000 hot and nutritious meals for six Kids Cafe afterschool feeding programs in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, as well as supper meals for homebound seniors. Upon graduation, apprentices receive job search training and placement assistance.  
Malcolm C. Hursey Elementary School—$50,000 (Serving Charleston County)
The KidsGrow! SchoolYard Garden Classroom program is designed to help close the achievement gap in high-poverty elementary schools in Charleston County. Built from research-based models, the program addresses the experiential and language deficit of children from low-income homes. These barriers often result in a lack of school readiness and success, and contribute to generational poverty. This grant is for the five major components of the Garden Classroom program: 1) science instruction in an outdoor laboratory and food growing; 2) training and partnering with teachers to provide garden-based learning experiences to stimulate language and multi-sensory learning for children in all curriculum areas; 3) growing and harvesting of produce from the Garden Classroom to go home with children and shared with families; 4) introduction of "KidsMarket!," a garden-based intervention program; 5) introduction of monthly "Family Dinner Nights.”

Metanoia Community Development Corporation—$45,000 (Serving Charleston County)
Metanoia Community Development Corporation is a movement of people rooted in faith. They invest in neighborhood assets to build leaders, establish quality housing and generate economic development. This funding is to strengthen Metanoia’s Youth Leadership Pipeline for students from grades 1 to 12. The “Pipeline” consists of three programs. These programs provide research-based and developmentally appropriate opportunities to students at each grade level. When a student enters Metanoia's programming, they have been identified for showing leadership potential.  The Young Leaders Program serves 40 students each day after school. Students receive an hour of homework help, a warm meal and a series of leadership building activities. The Civic Leaders Program is made up of middle and high school students, many of whom are graduates of Metanoia's Young Leaders Program. This program serves 25 students from grades 6 to 11. Students in this daily afterschool program continue their leadership growth and add a focus on financial literacy and youth entrepreneurship. The Freedom School serves 100 students daily for six weeks during the summer. Students focus on literacy as they spend each morning developing a love of reading and each afternoon doing activities that are fun and enriching. 

South Carolina STRONG—$50,000 (Serving South Carolina)
The mission of South Carolina STRONG is to reverse the debilitating effects of generational poverty, teach non-violence, rehabilitate criminals and substance abusers and move people into economic self-sufficiency. An integral part of this mission is to create a residential educational community which is self-governed, teaches academic, vocational, interpersonal, social and independent living skills, as well as emphasizing personal awareness and values and habits to establish a life of integrity and purpose. This grant will go towards job training in the areas of construction and catering for ex-offenders, chronic substance abusers, the homeless and others who have hit bottom. The program will have South Carolina STRONG residents plan and install a commercial kitchen to expand the Culinary Arts social enterprise and renovate a kitchen to support food service for the organization.
Student Action with Farmworkers—$25,000 (Serving Beaufort, Clarendon, Jasper and Lexington counties)
Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) brings students and farmworkers together to learn about each other's lives, share resources and skills, improve conditions for farmworkers and build diverse coalitions working for social change. SAF is the only organization whose chief purpose is to develop the leadership of farmworker youth and provide students with opportunities to work with community groups to improve the living and working conditions of farm workers. This grant is for the Into the Fields/Hacia Los Campos Health Initiative. This program will increase access to medical services for over 500 migrant farmworkers in South Carolina. SAF will recruit, train and support four bilingual (Spanish/English) college students to work as health outreach workers with rural health centers during the height of the agricultural season. SAF students will conduct outreach, health assessments, case management and health education training with farmworkers and their families.

WINGS—$50,000 (Serving Charleston County)
WINGS is an education program that teaches kids how to behave well, make good decisions and build healthy relationships. They do this by weaving a comprehensive social and emotional learning curriculum into a fresh and fun after school program. For 15 years, WINGS has provided results-driven after school programming in public elementary schools serving Charleston's most impoverished neighborhoods. Funding for WINGS is to expand the existing program by increasing kids served and to prepare the program for replication across the state of South Carolina. 

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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