South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said Tuesday she plans to use money from her new book– scheduled to come out next year– to start up a new nonprofit that will try to help slow the cycle of poverty in the state’s poorest counties.
The Original Six Foundation will be set up to assist struggling, low-income families in rural parts of South Carolina. Haley said the organization’s name is based off her own childhood in Bamberg, when her Indian Sikh family referred to themselves as the “original six” in the rural town.
The governor announced the new program at the Jubilee Academy– a small private, faith-based school in Forest Acres.
“We can’t just pay attention to those counties that have all the high population and the wealth,” Haley said, “We’ve got to look at every part of South Carolina.”
The foundation, which will start up in January, targets the ten rural counties that have the highest jobless rates in South Carolina. Haley said the goal is to work with state agencies and local leaders to determine what’s needed most to help those counties overcome their challenges. Haley said she would visit one county per month with this purpose in mind. The group would then recruit businesses and people to donate to that cause.
For example, if officials determine that families have trouble getting school supplies, Original Six would request donations to go towards that specific goal. However, Haley said she also wants the organization to help pay for health screenings and jobs training.
Wendy Homeyer, who has worked as a Republican marketer and fundraiser, will lead the foundation. Homeyer said she hopes to use her connections with some of the state’s deepest pockets.
“(The Governor) had a lot of people asking her in meetings, ‘How do we help?’” Homeyer said.
Haley planted the seed money with a $550,000 advance she received for her memoirs “Can’t Is Not an Option,” due out in April. She said the foundation will also get over $200,000 left over from donations towards her inauguration.
The governor emphasized Original Six would be funded entirely by private moneyand would not seek government grants. She said she wants the foundation to let donors know how their donations are being spent. “You are going to get to go and help every county that needs it,” Haley said, “Instead of just giving to a charity and not knowing where it goes, you’re actually going to pick and choose what you give.”
Homeyer said several companies have already indicated they wished to get involved, including South Carolina AT&T.