FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (August 04, 2021): East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) announces an awarded grant of $10,000 from the Coastal Community Foundation, with funding provided by Facebook, to continue outreach supporting innovation, creativity, and resiliency in local Black communities.
The grant program is specifically designed for nonprofits providing goods or services that directly and specifically support Black people and communities, with a preference for nonprofits that are Black-led or Black-serving, in the areas of arts, culture and humanities, education, human services, community improvement, and capacity-building, and civil rights, social action, and non-political advocacy. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, hopes that this movement will be the start of an ongoing commitment to “continue to listen and take action to support the long-term success of the Black community”.
In the Lowcountry, these Facebook grants have been distributed through the Coastal Community Foundation to 37 Black-led and Black-serving non-profits, like ECCO, for sustaining Black communities, many of which have been historically under-funded and under-resourced.
This investment will aid in ECCO’s Asset Development Program (ADP) – an ongoing 11-year quest to help clients move out of poverty and achieve long-term financial stability through the obtainment of personal assets and education on smart spending habits. These efforts include trainings and workshops on homeownership, mentoring for business plan development, experience in monetary savings, client navigation support, and coaching towards long-term change.
“ECCO’s Asset Development Program is a win-win for helping low-income Black neighbors, from the Tri-county area, save funds to be invested in long-term assets that will create economic empowerment“, said Stephanie M. Kelley, Executive Director of ECCO. “Assets have been proven to create a financial buffer to weather emergencies, promote success in the job market, inspire long-term planning and enhance the economic and psychological well-being of individuals and their families. We are thrilled to partner with the Coastal Community Foundation and Facebook in the work to bridge the divide in historically under-funded and under-resourced communities.”
Currently, there are 14 individuals enrolled in the ADP program. Since the program’s inception through May 2021, ECCO has matched a total of 50 savings plans;19 for education savings with 11 Black participants, 17 for business savings with 13 Black participants, and 14 for home savings with 10 Black participants.
The measure for success of ADP comes in short-term, medium-term, and long-term forms. Within these stages, sign-up and retention, savings goals, and asset building over a year-to-year analysis create reported outcomes. After graduating from the program, participants are well poised to achieve economic stability with their newly earned assets and better understand responsible spending and saving habits.
This funding will directly improve evaluation and tracking in this area, in conjunction with client surveys and communication, to increase attention on Black clients. ECCO’s mission directly supports this grant proposal where understanding racism plays a defining role in providing the very best services for clients.
Alexis Pleasant, Marketing & Community Engagement Manager