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Foundation Presents Midlands Housing Alliance with $500,000

Central Carolina Community Foundation announces its donation of $500,000 to the Midlands Housing Alliance to fund the Homeless Transition Center that is planned for the current Salvation Army site in downtown Columbia. On July 17, $100,000 was granted with an annual commitment of $100,000 for the next four years.

“Our role as a community foundation is not only to support humanitarian needs in our community,” stated Board Chair David Sojourner, “but also to address strategic issues and to be a catalyst in bringing together leaders, donors and organizations working to resolve community problems.”

The Community Foundation is challenging and encouraging its donors to contribute to the Alliance and the homeless services center, which was jump-started by a $5 million challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation June 26, 2008. The grant provides $5 million to fund the development of the center and organizers are seeking approximately $5 million from private organizations and the business community, and an additional $5 million from our local government.

Board Vice-Chair Mike Kelly said, “I am very enthusiastic about this strategic opportunity and am committed to supporting it both as a board member and personally. I encourage others in the community to do the same.”

The Community Foundation has long contributed to addressing the issue of homelessness in the Midlands. The Foundation was a constituent in the 2004 Blueprint to Address Homelessness and in the last two years alone, awarded nearly $300,000 to support housing and homeless programs and initiatives. The Foundation believes the comprehensive services center is the best approach to break the cycle of homelessness.

“Our experience working with the homeless people of New Orleans after Katrina offers clear evidence that the transitional center concept with all services provided in one location is an extremely effective way of working with the homeless,” said board member Samuel Tenenbaum. “If we can do it for New Orleans, we can do it for the Midlands!”

Gayle Averyt, a founder and supporter of the Community Foundation, said,”The Knight Foundations challenge gift has given Columbia a realistic opportunity to deal effectively with our homelessness problems. Also no organization has more experience managing all aspects of the homeless problem than the Salvation Army. It would be tragic if we don’t take full advantage of the Knight Foundations challenge gift. I commend the Central Carolina Community Foundation for making this bold commitment and strongly encourage others to do the same.”