As the extent of Hurricane Hugo’s devastation became clear, community leaders in Charleston, S.C., realized that short-term fixes would do little to help residents of the impoverished areas east of the Cooper River. Indeed, Hugo had exacerbated many long-standing problems in those neighborhoods, including substandard housing, limited access to health and dental care, hunger, and the threat of homelessness.
In response, Monsignor James A. Carter, pastor of Christ Our King Catholic Church, led the formation of East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO), a nonprofit ecumenical organization that would offer a permanent source of help to those in need.
Rev. Jack Little, ECCO’s executive director, feels very good about ECCO’s ability to tackle challenges. “Our funding has been super, and we have good relationships with people and other groups across the community,” he says. “And, we have the input from SCORE, which is helping us become a better, more efficient organization.
The sentiments are mutual, as SCORE named ECCO the Outstanding Socially Progressive Business for 2009.
Rev. Jack Little believes other nonprofits can benefit from working with their local SCORE chapters.
“The price is right, and their volunteers have the expertise, wisdom, and judgment to help guide you through the issues. The fact that SCORE’s counselors all have deep business backgrounds strengthened my trust and confidence in their observations and recommendations,” he says. “What’s more, they really care about the organizations they work with. They sense your passion and live it themselves.”
Several SCORE counselors worked with ECCO to launch a long-needed microloan program that has since aided several families. SCORE also offered ideas for realigning the organization’s staff and responsibilities, resulting in streamlined processes and substantial overhead savings.