NEWS: Center to offer 2 grant-writing courses for Promise Zone residents

One-day, intensive training sessions seek to catalyze requests for funding in region

JAN. 11, 2017 | The Center for a Better South will offer one-day grant-writing courses in February and March by recognized professionals to help organizations improve skills for seeking federal funding available through the S.C. Promise Zone.

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BRACK: Promise Zone keeps pushing for progress

By Andy Brack, Center for a Better South | There’s a palpable sense of energy flowing through the six counties of the southern tip of South Carolina in the federally-designated Promise Zone, which is now a year and a half old.

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Center to lead Promise Zone team to Ohio for leadership training

OCT. 19, 2016 | The Center for a Better South this week will lead an eight-member team from Allendale and Hampton counties in the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone for leadership training offered by the national outreach group NeighborWorks America.

The training in Columbus, Ohio, will focus on ways that neighbors can work with neighbors to build communities …

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Center wins $50,000 federal grant for Promise Zone training

AUG. 17, 2016 | A $50,000 grant for technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow the Center for a Better South to develop and implement a new entrepreneurial training program in the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone.

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Haskins joins Better South’s board of directors

Virginia community economic developer Conaway B. Haskins III has joined the board of directors of the Center for a Better South, a nonpartisan Southern think tank based in Charleston, S.C. The Center focuses on developing pragmatic ideas, strategies and tactics to help to reduce poverty, increase economic opportunities and work with thinking leaders who want to make a difference in the American South.

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National leaders provide critical input on Promise Zone

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.

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Leo Fishman, 1938-2016

We’re saddened by the death this week of founding director and board secretary Leo Fishman, who died Jan. 12 at age 77 in Charleston, S.C.

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Center to facilitate Promise Zone town hall meetings

The Center for a Better South will coordinate and conduct a series of six town hall meetings in July in the recently-announced Promise Zone that encompasses six challenged counties at the southern tip of South Carolina. Click to find out where a meeting is near you.

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Better South part of winning Zone team

[UPDATED, May 1, 2015] | The Center for a Better South is an integral part of the team that put together the successful application for rural counties in the southern part of South Carolina to win a federal Promise Zone designation this week. “Without the visionary leadership and guidance of the Center for a Better South, the counties in the SouthernCarolina Alliance never would have applied for a federal Promise Zone designation, much less been able to put together the winning application that will change the lives of tens of thousands of people in the southern part of South Carolina,” said Danny Black, president and CEO of the Alliance, an economic development agency that will lead work in the Zone counties.  “We look forward to continuing to work with the Center to grow jobs, reduce poverty and make our communities better.” Better South President Andy Brack, who worked with the Alliance as part of a leadership team to bring together more than 20 organizations to partner on an application for the federal designation, said the Zone designation would make a big difference. “This is going to change people’s lives,” he said.  By being part of a new Promise Zone designations, just over 90,000 people in Allendale, Barnwell, Bamberg, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties will have new tools to be able to tap into existing federal grant dollars and other opportunities. “It’s a big deal,” Brack said.  “South Carolina is only the nation’s second rural Promise Zone and the only one announced today.  If the same kinds of things happen here that have happened in the other rural Zone in eastern Kentucky, we should be looking at an infusion of millions of dollars over time to grow jobs, improve the economy, have better schools, get more affordable housing and reduce crime.” For more information on the news about the Promise Zone designation and its impact, see this news story in Statehouse...

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Center is integral in Promise Zone application

For the last few months, the Center for a Better South has been working behind the scenes with folks at the Southern Carolina Alliance and other organizations to push our South Carolina Work Group‘s goal of ensuring an application for a Promise Zone designation from the federal government on behalf of people living in the lower part of the state. Today, we can announce that the application has been filed and, while we don’t know whether the Southern Carolina region will be named a Promise Zone, we’re tickled pink at the hard work of all involved. To get an idea of what we worked on, let us encourage you to read this commentary posted earlier today by Better South President Andy Brack as part of his Statehouse Report weekly publication: A promising opportunity for a poor part of the state By Andy Brack, editor and publisher NOV. 21, 2014 — Imagine if there were some kind of program — a little something extra — that could give pervasively poor places a better chance so they could be more like most of America. Imagine how such a program could create better job opportunities to stabilize family finances, reduce crime to make communities safer and improve education so children could expand economic mobility. In January 2013, President Obama announced a pragmatic effort to help overlooked places in America. In his State of the Union address, Obama said he would designate 20 “Promise Zones” — special urban, rural and tribal communities where the federal government would partner with communities to make life better. What’s smart about this effort is how it doesn’t drop a big pot of money on poor communities. Instead they have to come up with real plans on how to fix things. Then they can apply for federal help through existing grant programs. But the bonus: communities that get the designation will get human capital — trained federal workers who will help make applications for existing grant money to grow jobs, reduce crime or improve education. For these regions with low tax bases, that’s practical help. Next, the Promise Zone communities get a few extra points when an application is scored — a little bump because they’re persistently poor areas with a lot of...

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Donate today to our fall campaign

We encourage you to donate today to our fall 2014 campaign to keep the Center vibrant and allow it to continue to do its good work. Click here to make an online donation. Recent success The Center is drawing attention to the Southern Crescent, an impoverished crescent-shaped area stretching from Tidewater Virginia through the Mississippi Delta.  Learn more by clicking on the tab in the navigation bar above. This year, the Center has formed a broad, nonpartisan Work Group in South Carolina to discuss ways to reduce poverty and improve opportunities in the Crescent parts of the state, which is also known as the “Corridor of Shame.” More. Most recently, the Center has worked with the University of South Carolina at Salkahatchie and the Southern Carolina Alliance on a six-county project that could bring millions of dollars of aid to poor counties in the southern part of the state that would grow jobs, improve economic development, reduce crime and make education better. Contact us today to learn more about this exciting project. Your donations make a big difference to the center because it gives us the fuel to keep projects like the Work Group active.  Thank you for your...

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Podcast focuses on Southern Crescent

Mike Switzer of SCETV Radio’s S.C. Business Review interviews the Center’s Andy Brack on how the Southeastern United States could become a much more powerful economic engine if it could figure out a way to keep its best and brightest people from continuing to abandon its poverty-stricken rural communities.

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