Charleston affordable housingSouth Carolina’s unemployment rate rose to 9.1% in May – the first increase in 10 months. Our state’s struggle, indeed our nation’s struggle, with creating and sustaining jobs is apparent day-to-day. But it’s driven home when the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce issues its monthly report showing an increase in our state’s unemployment rate.

But SC Community Loan Fund has some good news.

We’ve just received a second grant from Create Jobs for USA, a collaboration between Starbucks and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). Our first Create Jobs for USA grant was awarded in February and totaled $20,000. The additional funding brings the total thus far to $34,500. These funds will help create and sustain local jobs by supporting community businesses in underserved communities.

We have already put the money to work. Recently, CLF made a $250,000 loan to BCD Affordable Housing, LLC to purchase and rehabilitate a 6-unit apartment complex in downtown Charleston. Not only will this project create housing opportunities for low and moderate income families, it has created seven direct jobs and three indirect jobs from the nearby neighborhood.

Create Jobs for USA pools donations from Starbucks customers, partners, employees, as well as additional corporate partners (Google Offers, Banana Republic and Citi) into a nationwide fund, held and managed by OFN, for community business lending. To date, the program has raised over $11.5 million from institutional and individual donors.

How can you help create jobs in your community? Visit your local Starbucks or go online to the Create Jobs for USA website. Donors who contribute $5 or more will receive a red, white and blue wristband with the message “Indivisible.” The wristbands are individually handmade in the USA and all component materials are manufactured by U.S. suppliers, so the effort is also helping support American manufacturing jobs.

SC Community Loan Fund is very excited about this bold initiative from Starbucks and OFN, and will continue to use the grant funds to create jobs right here in the Lowcountry.