The South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone designation provides a new way for people in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties to benefit from grant programs administered by 12 federal agencies through more than 30 programs.
What the designation is not: Promise Zone designation does not provide grant funding for projects. Having the “designation” is, however, a special pathway for counties in the Zone to tap into grant funding.
What the designation offers: The Promise Zone designation provides priority consideration for grants submitted to federal agencies by organizations within the Promise Zone or organizations planning work that will benefit citizens who live in the Promise Zone. (Click here to see a fact sheet about the Promise Zone)
The lead organization, or coordinator, of the South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone is the SouthernCarolina Alliance (SCA). It will help to coordinate grant applications by various groups as well as manage the review and consideration of grant applications to endorse grants deemed to benefit people in the Promise Zone. In other words as lead organization, the SouthernCarolina Alliance is responsible for ensuring grant applications meet qualified Zone needs and, if they do, the SCA will certify applications to receive additional points by grantors.
At the present time, SCA does not have grant research or grant-writing staff to assist organizations interested in submitting grants through the Promise Zone process. SCA is, however, working to obtain this expertise, which it hopes to have in place by mid-year 2016, if not sooner.
Promise Zone grant certification process
In the interim, organizations that wish to pursue a federal funding opportunity in the Promise Zone should:
1. Develop project plans and secure project partners.
2. Research federal agencies to determine which offer grants that could fund the project.
Explore this link, which provides information on federal agencies that recognize Promise Zones and offer grant programs. (You may want to click here to see a listing of grant programs with links.)
Click here for detailed information on programs offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the priority it gives to Promise Zones.
3. Complete the appropriate federal agency’s grant application using internal staff, partner staff or external grant-writing sources.
You may want to consider partnering with an organization that has staff in place with grant-writing experience. Most counties and large municipalities have grant writers on staff.
Contact the Council of Governments in your area to inquire about their grant writing services.
* The Lower Savannah Council of Governments serves Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties.
* The Lowcountry Council of Governments serves Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.
Hire an experienced grant writer.
4. Once your grant application is underway, contact SouthernCarolina Alliance to request a Promise Zone endorsement for the grant.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The review process takes time so please do not wait until your grant deadline to contact SCA.
Checklist for grant certification from SCA
For the South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone to endorse your grant application, you must submit three things:
1. A completed Grant Endorsement Information Request spreadsheet.
Click here to download the form.
2. A completed and signed Grant Endorsement Promise Zone Benefit Certification Form.
Click here to download the form.
3. A copy of your grant Executive Summary.
When you have completed the two forms and have a copy of the grant executive summary, please submit the information in one email to Promise Zone Coordinator at email@example.com.
The South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone Coordinating Council will review your information as quickly as possible.
If it is determined that your grant will provide benefit to the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone, SCA will forward a certification form to you. To receive Promise Zone Priority Points and placement from the granting agency, you will need to include this certification form in your grant submittal package.
REMINDER: Do not wait until the last minute to contact SCA about getting an endorsement and certification for your grant application.