With $1M in Funding from The Rockefeller Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, South Carolina Community Loan Fund Will Be Able to Better Support South Carolina Communities Most In Need of Economic Opportunity

  

Charleston, South Carolina – The Rockefeller Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative today announced that the South Carolina Community Loan Fund (SCCLF) will receive a $1 million grant in the Communities Thrive Challenge— a $10-million effort to expand economic opportunity for low-income and financially insecure people and communities across the country. The Charleston-based organization is one of 10 grantees — from nine states and Puerto Rico — selected because of their demonstrated success and potential for future impact.

SCCLF provides loans and technical assistance to organizations that seek to strengthen the social and economic fabric of local communities throughout South Carolina. With a mission to provide equitable access to capital, SCCLF finances projects that provide housing and access to food and essential services, attract businesses, employ communities, and stimulate economic activity. Since 2004, SCCLF has financed more than $45 million in loans throughout South Carolina, resulting in the completion of more than $300 million in community development projects. The South Carolina Community Loan Fund and nine other grantees of the Communities Thrive Challenge will receive $1 million to scale their solutions, as well as best-in-class technical assistance.

“Communities thrive when we empower individuals to pursue economic opportunity and create a place where everyone has the chance to succeed, regardless of race, gender, and socioeconomic status,” said Anna Lewin, incoming CEO of SCCLF. “Being named a grantee of the Communities Thrive Challenge is an incredible honor that will allow us to work with more South Carolinians who want to start their own businesses and strengthen underserved communities.”

“The enthusiasm for the Communities Thrive Challenge was just off the charts from local organizations like the South Carolina Community Loan Fund, demonstrating a real hunger to share what’s working for the benefit of all Americans,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “By working together to invest in local solutions, we can build an America where all people can earn enough to support their families, achieve financial security, and provide their children with more opportunities.”

“These organizations are creating pathways to opportunity from the ground up. We’ve already learned a lot from these local leaders and hope that others around the country will find useful lessons in these community-driven approaches,” said Priscilla Chan, co-Founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.  

Since launching in April, the Communities Thrive Challenge received an incredible 1,826 applications that spanned all 50 states, D.C., and 4 of 5 U.S. territories. To ensure that community leaders had a voice in the decision making, applications were reviewed and scored by five other applicants in a peer review process.

Following the peer review process, over 80 were chosen for evaluation by a diverse panel of experts from academia, policy, business, philanthropy, and community development. Informed by expert and peer review, 20 finalists were selected for the final round. After extensive interviews, site-visits and reviews, the 10 grantees, including SCCLF were chosen.

Applications were evaluated based on four main criteria:

  1. Impact: Does the approach improve the lives of the communities where it works?
  2. Potential for scale: Could this approach be effective at a larger scale or become a model for others?
  3. Community based/informed: How deep is the organization embedded within the community it serves?
  4. Leadership: Is the organization led by individuals with a strong history in and commitment to their field and do they represent the communities served?

For the final round, teams from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative visited each of the 20 finalists, including SCCLF in Charleston to learn more about their work and visions for the future. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative then selected the final slate of grantees who will each receive a $1 million grant and technical assistance tailored to their needs.

The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are expected to release a public, searchable database of eligible applicants by this week so that other funders, policy makers and leaders can learn from these standout approaches.

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About South Carolina Community Loan Fund

The South Carolina Community Loan Fund is a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that advances equitable access to capital by providing loans, technical assistance, and advocacy. SCCLF finances and supports projects that provide housing, increase access to food and essential services, attract businesses, employ community members, and stimulate economic activity. Since its inception in 2004, SCCLF has provided over $49 million in loans, resulting in the completion of more than $330 million in community development projects. For more information visit sccommunityloanfund.org

About The Rockefeller Foundation:

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today the Foundation is focused on securing the fundamentals of human well-being—health, food, power, and jobs—to ensure every family experiences dignity and opportunity in our rapidly urbanizing world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot—or will not. For more information, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.

About Chan Zuckerberg Initiative:

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges – from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grantmaking, impact investing, policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit www.chanzuckerberg.com.