Ten years ago today we made our first $15,000 loan to the United Methodist Relief Center. As we close out 2015, our tenth year serving the community, I want to thank you all for making our progress possible, reflect on the journey we have taken, and share our plans for 2016 and beyond.
This year has been a year of growth, change and transition for our organization, the CDFI industry, and our state. South Carolina has endured shattering tragedy, and the fact that racism, hate, and inequality still exist has become more apparent than ever. This tragedy though, has sparked a renewed focus and deepened commitment within our organization and the CDFI industry as a whole to addressing the critical systemic issues we face. A renewed focus on providing equitable access to capital, to aligning capital with justice.
We began on this journey in 2005 as Charleston Housing Trust and announced our transition to a statewide organization with additional focus areas in January 2014. We are very pleased to announce that our impact has been strong thus far; however, we are not resting on our laurels. We will continue to expand our presence, build our team, measure our progress to our mission, and challenge ourselves to work harder and be more creative in order to reach the South Carolina communities that are truly in the greatest need of investment.
There have been a number of position changes made within our staff in 2015, as well as additions to the team, in order to better equip us to carry out our mission and meet the needs of our statewide partners, and their communities. We hired a full time Communications & Development Manager, Victoria Baker, who is focused on increasing the visibility of SCCLF, its mission and its work throughout South Carolina. Anna Hamilton Lewin was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in July while Patrick King refocused 100% of his attention on our core lending function as Chief Lending Officer. Patrick is building a team of Loan Officers throughout the state and began with the hiring of an Upstate Loan Officer last month, Brendan Buttimer. Brendan is working from our new office in Spartanburg and is responsible for the growth and management of our Upstate loan portfolio.
By building a strong team of qualified staff and board members, engaged community partners, and dedicated investors, and by focusing our time, energy, and capital on the underserved, hard to reach populations, we can truly make systemic change in South Carolina. We plan to continue expanding our geographic presence, growing our team, and strengthening our partnerships throughout 2016 and beyond, and we hope you will join us on this journey. Together, we can build a strong South Carolina, a South Carolina where your ability to succeed does not depend on the color of your skin, your gender, your income or the zip code in which you were raised.
On behalf of South Carolina Community Loan Fund’s board and staff, we wish you a happy holiday season and thank you for your ongoing support, and commitment to investing in community.
Chief Executive Officer, SCCLF