On Tuesday, October 29, Waccamaw Community Foundation hosted a Philanthropy Engagement Session to explore the topic of economic mobility as a deeper exploration of access to economic opportunity. The event, sponsored by Blackbaud, was held by Coastal Community Foundation in three strategic locations simultaneously across the coast to engage a range of our donors and localize the issue with different speaker panels of community stakeholders and experts.
We began with an overview presentation with South Carolina-specific data, which revealed that the majority of people living in poverty have less than a high school diploma. And even if salaries increase for those individuals, data shows the costs of housing and transportation are likely to continue to outpace extra earnings they bring in. All of these findings are underscored by the fact that it is harder to get out of poverty in South Carolina than in any other state.
At the Waccamaw Community Foundation event, panelists were Wallace Evans Jr., Executive Director of A Father’s Place, a nonprofit which engages fathers in the positive support of their children; and Ayla Hemeon, Workforce and Development Director for the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments.
Wallace and Ayla’s discussion centered on the barriers preventing access to economic opportunity: such as job skill deficiencies, income inequality, a lack of transportation options and predatory lending practices.
Our Philanthropy Engagement Sessions are held quarterly to help donors better understand the complex issues facing our communities.
In a survey conducted after last week’s session, 100 percent of respondents said they would attend future sessions, while 91 percent said the event will help their decision-making as a donor.