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Legislature Can Positively Impact Marginalized Communities

By Thomas C. Keith, President

When you think of a nonprofit, what comes to mind? Your local food bank? An organization that supported you during the pandemic? Nonprofits in South Carolina serve our state in countless spaces. They work to tackle big issues like food insecurity, affordable housing, and addressing lack of health equity. They save taxpayers millions of dollars through programs that support employment opportunities, reduce homelessness, and provide safe, reliable childcare. They work within our communities to serve our state’s citizens on the ground.

When tragedy strikes, you may see them on the news; staff and volunteers from South Carolina nonprofits caring for our people, providing food, shelter, and helping our brothers and sisters re-build their lives. When waters rose to historic levels in the Midlands, there was a flood of news coverage. During the height of the pandemic, we saw video of cars lined up for miles, families waiting to receive assistance from food banks.

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South Carolina nonprofits are essential during times of strife and upheaval AND are doing the same vital work for the people in our state every day of the year, even when news crews aren’t watching.

As a Foundation that has provided over three thousand grants totaling over $81 million to SC nonprofits, we know that South Carolina flourishes when its people are healthy, employed, and living in stable homes. Communities grow stronger—with less crime, better education, and fewer families experiencing poverty.

As lawmakers consider where to distribute $2.5 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina stands unified with the nonprofit sector in our support for $100 million be provided to further expand the impactful work of nonprofits across the state. These monies will be used for a competitive nonprofit grant program housed within the Department of Commerce, offering additional opportunities for your local nonprofits to receive financial support.

Additional support in our communities is necessary, for instance, to bridge the digital divide once rural broadband infrastructure is expanded. Nonprofits are providing that support by bringing devices and digital literacy education programs to marginalized communities. Nonprofits are also working to bring telehealth to rural communities lacking in healthcare options which is a need that was magnified by Covid-19. Nonprofits are also strengthening food security, providing much needed childcare and afterschool programming, services for mental health, care for seniors, and so much more. These organizations are addressing gaps and furthering the goals of our state’s legislature to get improve the lives of all South Carolina citizens.

As lawmakers move into the next phase of their budget deliberations, we want to remind them that South Carolina nonprofits have been there for us. Now, it is time for the legislature to join the philanthropic sector to invest in them for the betterment of our state.

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