AccelerateSC Recommends Nonprofit Funding

Posted By: GP McLeer Covid-19 Response, Speaking Together,

Governor Henry McMaster reactivated AccelerateSC, an advisory group of state leaders across multiple sectors first brought together during the start of COVID-19, in the summer of 2021 and charged them with drafting recommendations on how the state should spend approximately $2.5 billion appropriated to them from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Together SC met with their chair, James Burns, and was asked to submit a proposal for a nonprofit grant framework that the committee could consider. Together SC’s proposal included $100 million for nonprofits and a recommendation to lean on the nonprofit and charitable sector in crafting program details.

On August 24, the committee submitted their final report to Governor McMaster.

$50 Million for Human Service Nonprofit Organizations Recommended

Although Together SC’s full proposal was not adopted by AccelerateSC, the committee did include $50 million for a competitive grants program to support nonprofits operating in the human services sectors.

Read the Final Report here >>
Nonprofits - Recommendation #13, pages 20-22

Specifically, the committee’s recommendation will direct $50 million to the Department of Social Services (DSS) to administer a competitive grant program for nonprofits providing “human services”, defined as:

  • Food and clothing assistance
  • Elderly and aging services
  • Essential transportation
  • Shelter assistance

This amount is double the entire amount allocated to nonprofits in the state’s CARES Act Nonprofit Grant Program in late 2020 ($25 million), and represents an understanding that nonprofits play a critical role in helping lift up our state. Together SC appreciates the inclusion of nonprofits in AccelerateSC’s recommendation, but also believes the state has an opportunity to expand this recommendation and impact more sectors of our state’s economy, and more South Carolina communities. 

Noteworthy: AccelerateSC's final report seems to acknowledge the need for some level of input from the sector based on the CARES Act grant program's known issues, something we have brought up with their team before:

"There were a number of challenges in building out the grant program and administering the same...The Department of Administration does not have normal business interactions with non-profit organizations. As such, the agency was not familiar with nonprofits which would have been helpful when designing the [2020 CARES Act Nonprofit Grant] program."

Together SC will encourage the Legislature to expand upon this recommendation.

What’s Next

AccelerateSC’s recommendations will be reviewed by the Governor, who will put together his set of official recommendations by early September which will then be sent to the Legislature. 

The SC House and SC Senate both have ad hoc committees charged with developing their own set of recommendations for the $2.5 billion in ARPA funding. The Governor’s recommendations are just that - recommendations. 

What We’re Doing

Together SC will continue to push for an expanded version of AccelerateSC’s proposal that accomplishes three things:

  1. Includes all nonprofit sectors.
  2. Provides substantial support, accessible to every community.
  3. Leans on the nonprofit and philanthropic community to design and implement the grants program.

We have been actively engaging legislators, staff, and our own members in this process, including presenting at the August 24 House ARPA & SRS Ad Hoc Committee meeting, which you read more about here.