Last week SCCLF hosted our annual meeting. The annual meeting is our chance to bring together partners, supporters, lenders, donors and borrowers and talk about community development and all the community development happening around the state.

The highlight for us is always the borrower panel. We ask borrowers from across our lending focus areas to join us and share their projects, their vision, and how partners like SCCLF support their efforts to impact their communities. It’s always an inspiring discussion, and who better to talk about investing in community than the borrowers themselves?

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Matt Frederick represented Honor Capital, which has partnered with SCCLF to finance grocery stores in food deserts. When asked what his project has meant to the community, Matt replied, “I get to see hope in person, coming from real people. It’s not just the jobs created that matter, it’s about everyday people feeling the benefit of a collection of people coming together.”

We asked Drew Griffin of the City of Florence about working with SCCLF on the city’s affordable housing project. Drew said, “Every project the city does needs partners. Partners like SCCLF are important because they give credence to projects. The city was more willing to take risks because of this partnership.”

Julie Hussey is co-owner of WorkShops at Howard Heights, and when asked about working with a nontraditional lender to improve her community she said, “It’s not about the money all the time. The return can look so much better than just the number on the paper.”

Fred Johnson represented Town of Hollywood, who is working with SCCLF to finance a community facilities project. We asked Fred what his project meant to his community, and he answered, “Our goal is bringing community in. It’s more than bricks and mortar. It’s about bringing the community together and involving citizens. It’s not just what government is doing for the community, the community can look back and see its voice in the project.”

If you attended the annual meeting, what inspired you?