Coastal Community Foundation Awards $850,000 in Catalyst Grants to Two Local Nonprofits

Coastal Community Foundation awarded $850,000 in Catalyst Grants to two nonprofit organizations: Penn Center and Habitat for Humanity of the Lowcountry. Penn Center is receiving $650,000 over five years and Habitat for Humanity of the Lowcountry is receiving $200,000 over two years.

The historic Penn Center began in 1862 as the first school in the South to educate formerly enslaved people. Since then, it has served many roles in the Black community: health clinic, farm bureau, and meeting place for organizers of the civil rights movement. The funding for Penn Center will create the Emory Campbell Preservation School. The school will expand land-use literacy and create community engagement in the planning process. Heirs’ property owners who are currently susceptible to land loss and development pressures will be empowered to protect their land and have a voice to effect community-led change.

“This grant comes at a crucial time when Beaufort County residents are considering what future development of the region will look like,” said Penn Center Executive Director Robert Adams. “The Emory Campbell Preservation School will provide an opportunity for residents to build the relationships and the tools required to collectively chart the future together.”

Habitat for Humanity builds affordable housing, revitalizes neighborhoods, and provides financial education. The Catalyst Grant will support the merger of Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity and Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity. The newly formed Habitat for Humanity of the Lowcountry will be able to build more homes per year, repair more existing homes, and provide additional inclusive support to homeowners. Grant funding will be used to assist with internal infrastructure, marketing, branding, and data collection through the merger process.

“We are thrilled and thankful to receive the Coastal Community Foundation’s Catalyst Grant,” said Habitat for Humanity of the Lowcountry CEO Brenda Dooley. “It gives us the ability to accelerate our transition timeline and begin helping even more families throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties realize their dream of a decent, affordable home.”

Coastal Community Foundation launched the Catalyst Grant program in 2020 as a category of The Beaufort Fund, CCF’s largest grantmaking program. Catalyst Grants support large-scale projects addressing community-wide issues. The grants are available to nonprofits serving Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, or Jasper counties and ensure multi-year funding, often exceeding a hundred thousand dollars per year. Since 2020, CCF has awarded eight Catalyst Grants totaling $3.5 million. Previous recipients include Hopeful Horizons, Teach for America South Carolina, Sea Islands Heritage Academy, Communities in Schools of South Carolina, CommunityWorks, and EforAll.

“The Catalyst Grant is one way Coastal Community Foundation can support big, bold ideas,” said CCF President and CEO Darrin Goss, Sr. “To receive a Catalyst Grant, we ask the nonprofits to demonstrate community collaboration, inclusive access, and innovation to tackle community challenges. Securing multi-year funding means nonprofits can focus on making large-scale projects successful without constantly fundraising.”

In the past 25 years, Coastal Community Foundation has granted more than $20 million to Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties thanks to its family of endowed perpetual funds. CCF currently has more than $125 million in endowed charitable assets dedicated to future grantmaking in the region.

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