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Financial Services

College Bound Kids

Saving for college is a difficult task for any parent or student, and often parents and students give up before even trying because they assume it is simply an unachievable goal. 529 savings plans, which were created pursuant to Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, are investment accounts that can help parents or students save money over time for the high cost of education. These accounts are sponsored by individual states and provide tax advantages when funds are used for qualified education expenses.

Fight4Her

Fight4Her focuses on assisting female veterans in the Upstate with connections and resources that they might engage to more successfully transition from their military service to the private sector, especially in their search for meaningful employment. We learned of the need from our team member, Rachel Putman, through her work at Goodwill Industries of the Upstate.

COPA Design: Building Communities

Rationale: A legacy Community Impact Program aligned with Furman University’s Diversity Leadership Institute in the Riley Institute.

Project Description:

From the beginning, the group intentionally focused on the desire to make a direct impact on whatever project we took on. The group was in complete alignment and quickly gravitated towards what we internally called a legacy project. Members of the group had conversations with DLI graduates resulting in strong relationships and idea sharing which led to the COPA II project. Initially created in the Spring 2018 cohort, COPA Champions began to take form.

Bridging Diversity GAPS in the UPSTATE

G.A.P.S. focused on the extension of effective emergency services to minority groups, specifically the growing Hispanic minority in the Upstate. G.A.P.S. noted that emergency services' ineffectiveness in responding to specific crises is often related to language barriers, as well as the general reluctance of the Hispanic minority to use emergency services for (1) fear of INS or deportation, (2) fear of losing U.S.-born children, or (3) prior negative experiences with authorities. G.A.P.S.

Bridges to Success

While there is a variety of well-established interventions and programs for families living in poverty, many parents lack the individual support needed to change their economic circumstances. Bridges to Success is partnering with the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition and the Greenville Literacy Association to address obstacles commonly faced by parents living in poverty, such as low educational attainment, unemployment, and incarceration.

The project’s goal is to combat generational poverty by creating a path for parents to become more economically secure.

Broad Bandits

Broadband usage, access and affordability is increasingly becoming a hurdle for some families who understand the benefits all can experience from its availability. While technology improves all areas of life, its impact on the lives of students is becoming increasingly more crucial as the need for Internet access to even do homework outside of school hours is becoming a necessity.  Access is also crucial in law enforcement, emergency medical situations and other aspects of public safety.  Economic development efforts in local communities can sometimes hinge on the availability of high-speed broadband.   Seeing this need and hoping to bridge the gap and level the playing field, especially for low income families, the Broad Bandits partnered with a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Connect South Carolina, which is a state affiliate of Connected Nation. 

The Dollar $cholars

Everyday 7,000 students drop out of high school and graduation rates continue to decrease. The Dollar Scholars project focuses on providing financial literacy for young people in middle school. Middle school students were chosen because students between the 6th and 8th grades are the most open to new information and are the most adaptive. The idea is to have young people focus on financial literacy so as they get older they can make wiser decisions.

Dream Connectors

The primary goal of the Dream Connectors is to provide seventh grade students, primarily those from less advantaged backgrounds, with the opportunity to learn about diverse career opportunities available in the Upstate. The project consists of pilot programs that will connect students at the Hughes Academy of Science and Technology and Lakeview Middle School with Upstate businesses, namely BMW, Greenville Health System and Michelin.

Embrace SC

Embrace SC has created a website that can be utilized as a tool for companies who are targeting and recruiting diverse candidates to the Midlands. Mindful of the negative perception that many people still have of South Carolina, the group’s website provides links to organizations, activities and relevant resources in the Midlands that cater to diverse individuals in the following categories:

The Gap Busters

Funding is often the greatest obstacle to obtaining a college degree. Even with lower tuition costs at Midlands Technical College (MTC) and the financial resources available through state and federal student aid programs, students still need money for tuition, books and living expenses. These expenses have the potential to leave a “gap” and may prohibit a student from attending class; the gap amount may be as low as a few hundred dollars, which can cover a car repair expense, a sudden homeless situation, a utility bill, or a minor unexpected illness.