**Photo credit goes to CommunityWorks
At Bon Secours, we pride ourselves as more than just a place where people go for health care. We are also a place of healing. Our desire to bring our communities health and wholeness extends beyond the walls of our facilities.
Because of this mission, we continue to focus on the social determinants of health: social, economic, environmental and behavior-related factors. These factors are important because they account for up to 80 percent of the health outcomes our communities experience.
“Bon Secours St. Francis has focused on several areas in recent years – firstly, affordable housing,” Dr. Alex Garvey, our vice president of mission, shares. “It’s one of the leading components as it provides stability to a family, security for children and the ability for them to self-actualize and flourish as productive members of a caring community.”
To help our neighbors, we’ve teamed up with community partners like CommunityWorks, a development financial institution committed to financial equity for under-resourced families and communities across South Carolina. Aligned in mission, our ministry provided CommunityWorks with a five-year, $750,000 loan earlier this year – an extension of the support we’ve given this group since 2015.
These funds are then used to help people like Rosa Rosario (pictured above, left).
Many years after moving to the United States and raising her children to be successful adults, Rosa wasn’t sure owning a home was in her future. However, with help from CommunityWorks and their community development partner, Northside Development Group, the home buying process became “the easiest, most painless thing,” Rosa shares.
The two groups worked with Rosa to first connect her with the right lender and realtor. Then they provided down payment assistance, turning her dream of being a homeowner into a reality.
But homeownership is just part of the overall picture. CommunityWorks also works to support small business growth and entrepreneurship. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, CommunityWorks has deployed $3,211,892 in paycheck protection program loans, helping more than 210 businesses receive the help they needed to save jobs.
They’ve also continued to give out small business loans that often larger financial institution cannot provide. Just ask Brandon Goldsmith (pictured above, right).
While working as a banker, co-workers became aware of Brandon’s baking skills. This not only led to an increased demand for his delicious cakes, but to a desire to move from his home’s kitchen to owning an actual bakery. CommunityWorks provided him with the financing he needed and he’s happily serving up slices of heaven at Exceptional Confections, his bakery that’s resided in the Anderson Mall for nearly two years now.
As we at Bon Secours and CommunityWorks continue to work together, stories like those of Brandon and Rosa will continue to happen in our communities.
“Helping people is at the heart of all we do. That’s why this loan is really an investment in our community,” says Deb Long, director of community health at Bon Secours.
The $750,000 loan is part of Bon Secours’ Community Investment Program, where a portion of investment funds are given out as loans to community projects. These funds are made available to borrowers at low, or below market, rates to foster improvements in the overall health of communities. While the financial returns to Bon Secours are modest, the social impact and community returns are often significant.