FEB. 2, 2016 | A dozen leading thinkers and analysts from across the South met over the weekend to learn about the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone and make suggestions to broaden the impact of its collaborative efforts to reduce poverty.
“The ThinkBIG conference was an important step in our planning process in realizing our Promise Zone goals,” said Danny Black, president and CEO of SouthernCarolina Alliance, the lead organization of the Promise Zone. “We were fortunate to have guidance from and discussion with experts from around the country in rural economic and community development, who joined us to share fresh ideas and innovative approaches to our challenges.”
SouthernCarolina Alliance worked with the Center for a Better South, a Charleston think tank and Promise Zone coordinator, to provide information and lead discussion with participants of the conference, which was made possible due to generous funding by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
“Anytime you get a bunch of smart people together who are focusing on one project, good things happen,” said Andy Brack, president of the Center, which organized the conference. “The ThinkBIG conference provided an opportunity for our South Carolina effort to get fresh ideas and reactions about our transformational plans to move our region forward.”
Participants in the ThinkBIG conference included:
On Saturday, participants toured the Promise Zone region, including stops in Bamberg, S.C, at Voorhees College and in Allendale, S.C., at the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie campus. On Sunday, participants discussed strategic efforts and made suggestions about strengthening a work plan being developed for the 40 partner and supporting organizations involved with the Promise Zone.
One participant in the conference told organizers how much the ThinkBIG conference meant:
“It was truly a pleasure to spend the weekend discussing the prospects and strategies for a brighter future for the S.C. Promise Zone region,” he said. “I left South Carolina inspired by the work that you’re all doing to improve the fortunes of the people and places across the South who are often forgotten.”