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The Lower Richland Alumni Foundation Community Cares Project

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $800,000)

The Lower Richland Alumni Foundation is the applicant applying for a $800.000.00 Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (BCJI) Grant for the Lower Richland Alumni Foundation’s Community Cares Project located in the Lower Richland area of Richland County, South Carolina.  The Lower Richland Alumni Foundation is working with the Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott who does participate in PSN’s goals via an agreement/partnership with United States Attorney and Columbia, SC’s Police Chief. 

The geographic neighborhood boundaries targeted by this grant are the rural areas of Eastover, SC (29044), Gadsden, SC (29052), Hopkins, SC (29061); and the rural/incorporated portions of Columbia, SC (29209) located in Richland County, SC.  These combined areas cover approximately 249.8 square miles, is predominately black, has a population of 45,071, an average per capita income of $20,050.00 with high concentrations of extremely high poverty and a large number of youths in foster care.  Additionally, an extremely small portion of the community is within an Opportunity Zone with no portion in a Choice Neighborhood or Promise Neighborhood zone.  These targeted neighborhoods have not received any relevant federal grant funding.  Project Guardian activities in connection with this BCJI application includes partnerships with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Foundation’s law enforcement partner. 

The initiative’s data outcomes will be examined for each relevant crime event and will include the overall disaggregated demographic profiles of gender, ethnicity, age, neighborhood, crime type and any additional fields identified during community and partner meetings.  The grant initiative will utilize data when making decisions about strategic planning, implementation, and budgeting.  Periodic and careful ongoing review of the implementation of the initiative’s plans will be made as the data becomes available.  The strategic planning process will be updated on an ongoing basis and new initiatives and activities will be incorporated into the overall strategic plan as the data feedback dictates.

This initiative is looking specifically to create a culture change in the communities by working with area residents and law enforcement to decrease crime in the area to include: 1) murder; 2) sexual assault; 3) robbery; 4) burglary; 5) larceny; and 6) drug dealing/trafficking.  A full-time project manager will be hired and will adhere to the plan of action put forth by the grant and will report directly to Dr. Cleveland Wilson, Jr.  The Richland County Sheriff’s Department, multiple area elected officials, numerous area churches, dozens of area community leaders, and area partners are additional resources supporting the grant’s efforts.

Date Created: July 26, 2022