More than 30 get grant training in Promise Zone

Patterson explains the grant-writing process to a group at the Lowcountry Council of Governments in Yemassee. Photos by Andy Brack.

APRIL 24, 2017  |  More than 30 people received grant training in classes last week in Bamberg and Yemassee to help give area leaders more confidence and tools to submit more applications for funding.  The classes, taught by South Carolina native Patrick Patterson of Global Partners for Fathers & Families, were funded through a technical training grant to the Center for a Better South by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In the months ahead, the Center for a Better South plans to have more classes to teach nonprofit and entrepreneurial skills to people who live and work in the Promise Zone, a federal designation that benefits persistently challenged counties in the federal grant process.  The next class on May 9 is an Entrepreneurial Boot Camp.  (Note:  This class is full.) Read more

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NEWS: Researchers looking for ways to broaden broadband

Connect SC’s Jim Stritzinger discussed broadband access during a 2016 meeting in the Promise Zone.

A recent story in The (Charleston) Post and Courier highlighted efforts in the S.C. Promise Zone to improve Internet access throughout the rural region of the state.

An excerpt:

So in 2015, when the federal government designated six counties along the Savannah River a high-poverty “promise zone” that gets special status in grant programs, internet access came up often at community meetings as a problem residents wanted to tackle.

Better broadband was up there with cleaning up crime, improving education and getting easier access to health care, said Dean Van Pelt, promise zone coordinator. So the group is setting out to improve internet access.

Step one: Figure out who doesn’t have internet service and why they haven’t signed up. Jim Stritzinger, director of Connect South Carolina, says there’s not a simple answer to those questions.

In many cases, it’s an issue of physical infrastructure, a lack of cables laid across a thinly populated region. But the price of service is an issue, too, especially in an area with relatively high unemployment and poverty. The cost of buying a computer and the sluggishness of service are also factors.

That’s an issue across South Carolina, says Stritzinger, who calls internet access “our generation’s fresh water.”

“You don’t have to go very far off of I-26 to have very, very different telecommunications capabilities. And this is true pretty much across the state,” Stritzinger said. “You go really 10 miles off the interstate on either side, and you can be in places where it’s hard to receive cellphone service. You can be in certain neighborhoods where the internet is not available to you.”

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Center to offer Entrepreneurial Boot Camp on May 9

Class to provide training on how to start, improve a small business

APRIL 6, 2017  |  The Center for a Better South will offer a special one-day Entrepreneurial Boot Camp in Walterboro on May 9 to provide training to people interested in starting a small business.

The training, targeted to people who want to start for-profit businesses, also may be helpful to people who want to start nonprofit organizations as it will focus on business basics. Read more

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Webinar today to feature work of arts in Promise Zone


How arts work within community development

The work of arts leaders around the S.C. Promise Zone will be a focus of a live webinar discussion set for noon EDT today with Sandi Curd of Kentucky and Susan DuPlessis of the S.C. Arts Commission.

If you can’t participate, we’ll post a recorded version when it is available.

Background:  “The Art of Community: Rural S.C.”

On March 15 and 16, a group of arts advisors from the Promise Zone and leaders from other parts of the state and nation met to showcase the S.C. Arts Commission’s initiative known as “The Art of Community: Rural S.C.”  Participants hailed from as far away as Iowa, Vermont, Indiana, Georgia and Washington, D.C.
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