Back to News
Adults and girls pose with ceremonial check
Pictured L to R with The Village Group’s Sisters in STEM students are Dr. Pam Vereen, The Village Group Executive Director Ray Funnye, Alan Walters, Eileen Patonay, Edrick Alston, SC Rep. Carl L. Anderson, and Power:Ed Executive Dir. Claire Gibbons

GEORGETOWN, SC — June 22, 2023 — The Village Group, a nonprofit located in rural Georgetown County, working to equip African American youth with the tools necessary to succeed in school and life, has been awarded a $35,000 grant to boost summer learning and enrichment, from Power:Ed, a philanthropy of SC Student Loan Corporation

The funds will be used to support the cost of evidence-based curricula, teacher salaries, and student field trips. Data shows that Georgetown County experiences “persistent child poverty” and the median household income in Plantersville is $23,500. In 2022, The Village Group supported 230 underserved and primarily African American students through the Plantersville Summer Academy.

The organization offers equal access to quality education by providing a safe and nurturing environment, while at the same time improving performance on standardized tests and increasing the number of students who graduate from high school.

The Plantersville Summer Academy brings in specialists to lead programs in robotics, aeronautics, and other Science Technology Engineering Math programs. The Culturally Sustaining STEM Institute gives field experience in environmental science while relating lessons to the community and culture in the area. Programming also includes an art focus that will highlight student artwork and photography in downtown Georgetown this summer. Students will provide narratives for their artistic vision as part of the exhibit. The summer academy focuses on reading and writing through its Literacy is For Everyone initiative. In 2022, students gained two months in math and 1.5 months in reading because of these academic-focused programs. 

“We are excited about this new partnership with Power:Ed which will enhance The Village Group’s ability to continue enriching young lives with motivational experiences and quality educational support. Support from Power:Ed helps bridge gaps in underserved communities so that all students can strive for excellence in their college and career pursuits,” said The Village Group Executive Director Ray Funnye.

“The Village Group exemplifies the kind of excellence we seek to support and sustain in South Carolina. The organization and its partners are working to address systemic barriers to education equity and economic opportunity in their community, and we are so excited about the potentially transformative impact they will have,” said Power:Ed Executive Director Claire Gibbons.

In FY2022-23, Power:Ed awarded 23 grants totaling $900,000 to South Carolina education and career readiness organizations, including The Village Group. Grants are administered quarterly, and the next grant funding deadline is July 1, 2023.

About The Village Group

The Village Group is a 17-year-strong 501c3 nonprofit honored by South Carolina’s Secretary of State for devoting 98.9% of its income to programs. The organization is comprised of community leaders, parents, elders, and concerned citizens who strive to equip youth with the skills to build a sustainable community by focusing on college and career readiness, cultural education, and economic development. The Village Group seeks to help youth to understand and develop a lifelong love of learning through its core values of harmony, habitat, health, and history.

About Power:Ed

Founded in 2019, Power:Ed, a philanthropy of SC Student Loan is dedicated to creating opportunities for South Carolina’s youth and adults by supporting low-income, minority, and first-generation students; improving access to college and degree completion; and creating pathways to quality workforce opportunities. Organizations serving middle school through post-college talent who are interested in applying for a grant or partnering with Power:Ed, should visit


Back to News