Plenty of work remains to help turn the two Greenvilles that exist today — one where the economy is growing at full throttle and the other where more people are falling further into poverty — into one, says the new president and CEO of CommunityWorks.
And the nonprofit financial organization will continue to address the gap by providing affordable-housing loans, community loans, small-business loans and coaching, and banking services such as consumer loans and homebuyer assistance programs for people not served by traditional lenders, said Tammie Hoy-Hawkins, who will take the helm of CommunityWorks in January.
But there’s an opportunity for the organization to scale up its services to serve more people and communities in Greenville County and beyond, she said.
“There are a lot of haves and have-nots across the Upstate,” Hoy-Hawkins said, “and if we’re really going to chisel away at that and raise equity and inclusion, it’s not just about one city in one community. It’s about a broader approach. I think there’s some opportunities to look at other communities in our state that we can support.”
CommunityWorks is working on a new strategic plan that will guide what that looks like.
Hoy-Hawkins said she expects CommunityWorks to continue to play a big role in affordable housing, an issue that has come to the forefront in the city of Greenville and in Greenville County in recent years.
CommunityWorks could also play a significant role in investing resources in place-based initiatives similar to Spartanburg’s Northside Initiative, a comprehensive redevelopment plan to transform the city’s north side, said Hoy-Hawkins, who has been serving as project manager.
“It’s a growing model across the country, and I think CommunityWorks can play a significant role in investing resources and talent in those types of opportunities,” she said.
While CommunityWorks reaches 26 counties in South Carolina, Hoy-Hawkins believes there are opportunities for further expansion.
“There’s a lot of demand for the types of programs and products that CommunityWorks offers. One of the challenges in South Carolina is that there’s not organizations like CommunityWorks across the state,” she said.