Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session I
Thursday, November 14
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

Community Development Finance

Jodie Harris   Bio

Jodie Harris

Jodie Harris, Director, CDFI Fund, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Meet and hear from Jodie Harris, recently appointed Director of the CDFI Fund, on how the CDFI Fund generates economic growth and opportunity in many of the nation’s most distressed communities. Ms. Harris will also facilitate a panel discussion with North and South Carolina CDFI leaders on lending needs and strategies; Opportunity Zones; emerging trends and innovative programs; rural capital needs; and other noteworthy financing solutions available for underserved neighborhoods.


Talk About It, Be about it: taking an authentic approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Meredith Mathews & Chynna A. Phillips, Sisters of Charity Foundation
By acknowledging the root of structural inequities, only then are we able to move from theory into action. Operationalizing values of DEI is essential work for any organization wishing to authentically honor these values and effectively put them into practice. This will be an honest session outlining one Foundation’s learning journey and lessons learned as they work to move from a place of discussion to action. Staff from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina will share their experience in the Foundation’s journey to intentionally learn, promote, and infuse values of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout all of their work. Attendees can expect to gain insight into the highs and lows that accompany authentic DEI work through examples from the Sisters of Charity Foundation, pop culture references, and group discussion.

Meredith Mathews   Bio

Meredith Mathews

Chynna A. Phillips, MSW, MPH   Bio

Chynna A. Phillips, MSW, MPH


Breakout Session II
Thursday, November 14
2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

Returning Citizens: Addressing the Systematic Barriers Facing the Formerly Incarcerated

Jerry Blassingame   Bio

Jerry Blassingame

Jerry Blassingame, Executive Director, Soteria CDC, Author of Reclaimed
For those formerly-incarcerated, gaining the skills and knowledge to find gainful employment is too often an extremely difficult process riddled with barriers. Soteria, a community-based organization manages a cutting edge “re-entry” workforce development and transitional housing programs aimed at providing customized training to help returning citizens find good jobs in growing industries, rebuild personal assets, and improve their quality of life moving forward. Additionally, Blassingame will address the continued barriers returning citizens must overcome and the recent expungement law passed in South Carolina. The session will offer eye-opening information which many of us are simply unaware.


Count me in: Preparing for the 2020 Census

Naomi Lett, President and CEO, United Way Association of South Carolina, Vermelle P. Simmons, Partnership Specialist, US Census Bureau, & Mike Young, MA, Co-Interim Executive Director & Director of Capacity Building, PASOs
The 2020 census will profoundly impact us all for the coming decade. It’s essential South Carolina has an accurate representation of its citizens, particularly our historically undercounted neighborhoods that are often overlooked. Census data is the single determinant for federal redistricting, fair representation in the House of Representatives, and federal funding allocations for education, healthcare, and other essential services on which we all rely.

Community based organizations are crucial in engaging, educating and ultimately counting an increasingly diverse and growing population. In this session, a panel of state leaders will discuss how best to ensure local community leaders and residents participate in the census process. Gain a working knowledge of available resources to fund local efforts, involve volunteers, and start meaningful conversations with those who may be reluctant to be “counted-in”.

Naomi Lett

Naomi Lett

Vermelle P. Simmons    Bio

Vermelle P. Simmons

Mike Young   Bio

Mike Young