$28.3M grant helps local organization with goal to make brighter future for students in Lancaster


LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Three schools in the Lancaster County School District are a part of an initiative with Lancaster Promise Neighborhood to form programs geared toward students’ futures. 

Sharon Novinger, the Executive Director of Lancaster Partners for Youth, said the organization was one of seven in the country to receive a $28.3 million grant spread over five years. 

“We need something to happen for Clinton to Rucker to Lancaster High attendance zone, because their demographics for racial inequities, for economic inequities for anything, if you pull it out and it be its own county in South Carolina, it would be one of the most impoverished,” Novinger said. 

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Novinger said the organization will replicate its programs after Harlem Children’s Zone; a New York program designed to transform educationally and economically distressed areas in the community. 

“It has had a tremendous success rate for students going off to either the military, trade school or college,” Novinger explained.

Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Phipps said one of the things he’s looking forward to is offering extra resources and support after-hours for families in Clinton Elementary, A. R. Rucker Middle, and the Lancaster High attendance zone.  

“When our students leave us and they have the need for someone to help them after school and with their study habits. Giving those students somewhere to go after school, that’s a positive environment,” said District Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Phipps. 

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The grant allows them to build programs that range from birth to college and career in hopes of bonding and building partnerships for the future. 

“Being able to figure out what student’s needs assessments for what their interests are. One thing that the Harlem Childrens taught us is that to better engage students is to find out where their interests lie. We were able to visit some dance classes, some music classes and things that really engages the students,” he said. 

“It’s paramount to the whole purpose of the grant, you know to help elevate and enhance and educate the children in use of this footprint,” Novinger said. 

The grant money will be received yearly. The grant year begins on January 1, 2021, but Novinger said they’re planning now how they will best begin to spend the money.  

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