The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation’s Abbeville Promise capital campaign has achieved a pledge total of $883,500.00. That amount equals seventy-four percent of the campaign’s $1.2 million goal. The Abbeville Promise scholarship program will give students from Abbeville County the opportunity to attend Piedmont Technical College for two years tuition and required fees.
The announced pledge total comprises donations from forty-eight businesses, public entities, civic clubs, churches and individuals. All donations to the campaign thus far have originated in Abbeville County.
The campaign to endow the Abbeville Promise scholarship program, which began in September 2017, has been assisted since its inception by Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, a fundraising consulting firm. The campaign leadership team, co-chaired by Andy Timmerman, CEO of Abbeville First Bank and Jeff Wilson CEO of WCTEL, has determined that the funding effort has reached a level that will enable the campaign to be completed by the volunteer leadership.
“Convergent has provided the fundraising expertise and organizational knowledge to move the Abbeville Promise campaign to its current level of success.” says Timmerman. “Our very capable volunteer group believes the campaign has reached the point where we can guide it to a successful conclusion if we get a lot of help from our neighbors.”
Timmerman says they are confident the campaign will exceed the million-dollar mark; which would be the largest philanthropic effort ever attempted in Abbeville County.
“We truly need more of our businesses and neighbors to step up and make sure this campaign is successful. 48 donors cannot carry the weight for the whole County,” Timmerman continues, “there has been nothing but positive response from the community but there are still a lot of capable folks that have not pulled the trigger on a commitment. We cannot expect economic investment to come to Abbeville if we are not willing to invest in ourselves.”
The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) will begin offering scholarships this fall and reports it has received nearly sixty applications. This figure compares to approximately 30 high school graduates from Abbeville County attending Piedmont Technical College full time in the fall of 2017.
The scholarship program received a boost from the state legislature in June when it passed a budget that includes a one-time technical college scholarship offer of up to $2,000 for students who graduate from schools in some of the lowest funded school districts in the state as identified in the Abbeville County School District et al vs. South Carolina law suit. As a result, Abbeville County students will be eligible for this one-time scholarship offer enabling FCCF to complete the capital campaign and draw an additional year’s interest on the endowment funds before applying them to scholarships.
“We are grateful to the General Assembly for making these funds available this year to students in counties whose schools have been under-funded for decades,” said Wilson. “However, this may be just a onetime, one-year proposition and we cannot wait any longer to ensure our children better opportunities for more productive lives and to enhance the quality of our workforce. We will continue to work tirelessly to fully endow the Abbeville Promise.”
Timmerman and Wilson also stated that if any student still needs assistance with tuition and fees after receiving the state funds, Abbeville Promise money will be available to make sure that their two years at PTC will be free of tuition and fee costs.
If you want to donate to the Abbeville Promise campaign or want more information, contact Elizabeth Davis at the Abbeville Promise campaign office at 864-446-2773 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.