Our Story

The Mitney Project offers a chance for a richer, more rewarding life.  We make programs and services accessible to the less privileged.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is The Mitney Project?

We are a public charity made up of a group of people who want to rebuild the West End community and help people all over Georgetown who have less to live better lives.

We started in 2006 by working with children and then grew to include people of all ages. The word “Mitney” is a West End word that means “child.” The Project has 501c3 tax exempt status granted to us by the federal government which means taxes do not have to be paid on any contributions made to the organization and people who give money to support our work can get a deduction when they file their income tax return.

The Project is governed by a 5-member volunteer board of directors and run by 4 part-time paid staff members, and employs 7 program instructors and a 25-member team of volunteers.

 

What is mission of The Mitney Project (in plain language)?

We offer classes and activities that show people how to create a good life for themselves and improve their community.

Many of these classes teach people something – like how to manage their money and make it grow or how to start a business of their own. Many are to help people enjoy life in a positive way, to experience something new that helps them lead a richer life – such as art classes, dance fitness classes or healthy cooking classes. Many of the activities have not been offered in our community before and some we create especially for our community because we see a need for them (or because a lot of people in the community ask for them).

 

Who owns the community center building you built and opened in 2013?

The building is owned by The Mitney Project, a charitable organization, not by any one person or individuals. We purchased the building at cost, meaning the owners did not make a profit on the sale but sold it to us for the price they paid for it. We have a mortgage on the building that is payable to a holding company. The transactions of this sale are public record.

 

How did you pay for this building?

Through grants and the gifts of many wonderful, generous people. The Mitney Project applied to the United States Department of Agriculture for a matching grant of $99,000 which we could get only if we raised $101,000 in cash contributions. We applied for other grants from other organizations, and asked for money from individuals, companies and churches. The money from all these sources together paid for the building.

 

Where does the money you receive go?

All money we receive is used to pay for programs, the cost of running the programs and operate the building, and to pay back a loan we received for fixing up the community center building.

Donations directly support Mitney programs which help people build better lives for themselves and their families. In these programs people learn important skills – like how to manage their money and make it grow or how to start a business of their own. Many Mitney activities are to help people enjoy life in a positive way, to experience something new that helps them lead a richer life – such as art classes, dance fitness classes or healthy cooking classes. Many of the activities have not been offered in our community before and some we create especially for our community because we see a need for them (or because a lot of people in the community ask for them).

Some program costs include paying instructors, paying for class supplies, paying for electricity -the lights, heat and air conditioning- meals for students, field trips, flyers and newsletters. To run the programs we have to pay staff members to plan our programs, apply for grants to pay for the programs, organize events and volunteers, to be there to answer people’s questions and help solve issues, maintain our website and look for partners to help supply instructors, materials and other things we don’t have the money to pay for. We must pay a bookkeeper to keep our financial records and an accountant to file our taxes and conduct audits, and pay for office supplies. The money we receive from contributions pays for all these things, making it possible for The Mitney Project to provide programs to the community.

 

How do you recognize large contributions to the Project?

There are a select number of naming opportunities available for major gifts – for rooms in the community center and the medical office. Please contact our Development Director at (843) 546-7900 for more information about these options.

 

What has The Mitney Project done?

  • Opened a community center and dedicated medical office serving 2,000 residents in one of Georgetown’s most high-need communities
  • Established 8 programs which have served over 4,000 individuals. Some of these include personal money management (we had one student learn how she could save over $5,500 a year after taking the budgeting class!), business counseling, first-time homebuyer workshops, physical fitness, dance, art, adult computer classes and robotics for kids. New programs are introduced regularly.
  • Fought for a $1 million community block grant that paid for one mile of improved streetscapes in West End
  • Formed a collaboration with the USDA, local contractors and banks that built/heavily renovated 4 quality homes for low income families in Georgetown (4 more will be built by 2016)
  • Implemented a renowned intensive entrepreneurship program for youth ages 13-18 to show them how to write a business plan and create a business of their own and established a youth business plan competition. (Our first competition winner, age 18, was awarded seed money for his business and competed in June 2013 in the state competition for thousands of dollars in additional start-up money) This program is expanding in 2014 to include adults
  • Formed a partnership with a local doctor who opened a medical office in the community center in January 2014 specialized in treating illnesses in our community like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure
  • Brought new cultural activities to the area for the public to enjoy. Over 2,000 people have enjoyed such events as the annual Gospel and Gullah in Georgetown Arts Festival, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day West End Parade and Festival, In Step Dance Studio Troupe public performances, the Big Shot Talent Show, and the West End Community Block Party
  • Developed partnerships that will make it possible to bring additional services and activities to West End, many of which have never been offered in the area before

 

How can I learn more?

Visit our Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter.  Email us your questions through our Contact Us page on this website.  Write to us at The Mitney Project, PO Box 349, Georgetown, SC 29442. Call us in the office with your question at telephone (843) 546-7900 and we’d be happy to help!

 

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