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Lowcountry organizations receive more than $1 million in grants from 1772 Foundation

Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 5:22 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2022 at 7:20 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Several Lowcountry organizations have been awarded grants from the 1772 Foundation, which gives money to organizations that help African American families. They do this because they learned some of their early relatives participated in enslaving people.

The Legacy, African American History, and Dynamic Preservation Grants support efforts that lead to meaningful change towards a more just and equitable society. Out of 11 grants awarded nationwide, three of those grants are coming to the Lowcountry.

The Coastal Community Foundation received the largest single grant ever awarded by the foundation, $1 million dollars, to support their Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program and its Place-based Impact Investing Fund’s investment in CommunityWorks, a statewide Community Development Financial Institution.

“We are honored and very grateful for The 1772 Foundation’s generous grant supporting The Reverend Pinckney Scholarship and the Place-based Impact Investing (PBII) programs, which have impacted countless lives and generated significant potential for generational change for families in the Lowcountry of South Carolina,” said Coastal Community Foundation President & CEO Darrin Goss in a press release. “Our two foundations are committed to righting the wrongs of historic, systemic racism and we are proud to stand together with The 1772 Foundation in this effort.”

The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation received $125,000 dollars, the second-half of a two year grant. The center protects heirs’ property and promotes the sustainable use of land to provide economic benefit to under-served families.

According to the nonprofit, heirs’ property in the Lowcountry are primarily owned by African American families who either purchased or were given land that they passed down without a will, so it became owned “in common” by the multiple family members.

“Heirs’ property owners cannot obtain a mortgage, they have very limited access to state and federal programs for housing repairs, limited access to USDA programs for conservation purposes,” said CEO Jennie L. Stephens. “There are a lot of “can’ts”, and what our job is is to take those “can’ts” and turn them into “can’s” by resolving the titles so that the families can access whatever services they’re in need of.”

Stephens said this grant allows them to help families unlock the potential in their land.

“The purpose of this grant is basically to help families hold onto their land and to make it a asset, you know that generates wealth for their family rather than it being a liability as most people see it when they own heirs’ property.”

The Slave Dwelling Project also received $50,000 to support its three-day conference which will take place this fall in Charleston.

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