Progress Update | May 2022
There are so many daily happenings at Hand in Hand of Glynn, Inc. that we thought it a good idea to send an update highlighting a few of the activities and accomplishments since our 2020 Annual Report went out to you in January.
First, we should mention that our campus will be called The Grove at Correll Commons after Pete Correll, his wife Ada Lee Correll, and their daughter Elizabeth Correll Richards, who now runs The Correll Family Foundation. Without Pete and the Correll Family Foundation, there would be no campus. His original gift allowed us to buy the land without going into debt.
It has been a year since his passing, and Pete remains very much alive in our thoughts.
In March, we had a very successful event with Ron Hall, co-author with Denver Moore of Same Kind of Different as Me. Ron spoke on March 17 in Brunswick and March 18 on St Simons Island about his and Denver’s friendship. His message about homelessness, given with a heavy sprinkling of humor, brought much positive feedback and several new donors.
Diana Murphy, board member of Synovus Bank, continues to support Hand in Hand of Glynn and the bank, with Allan Kaminsky on our board is an important friend for Hand in Hand of Glynn. Not only has the bank given to us financially but has offered to teach financial acumen to our residents. This is the most requested class at other similar projects, and we are very thankful for their involvement.
A friend of Hand in Hand of Glynn recently donated $200,000 and designated it for the establishment of an endowment fund. It was set up as a “matching grant” for any funds given to the Hand in Hand Fund at The Coastal Community Foundation, which works like a community trust of The Golden Isles. Donors may designate their donations for the Hand in Hand Fund, and they will be matched up to a total of $200,000, eventually doubling the impact of this very generous matching grant. Hand in Hand can access up to 5% of the Fund annually if needed for operating expenses. Principal can only be accessed by a 2/3 majority vote of the Hand in Hand Board. This follows the conventional wisdom and conservative approach of endowment funds at other 501c3’s and educational institutions.
We have received substantial gifts to this match from Gail and Scott Ledbetter and Susie and Roy Dorrance. Please contact Paul White at the Coastal Community Foundation (912) 268-4442 should you wish to contribute to our endowment fund.
Linda, Anne, and Carolyn have met with many of the new City of Brunswick officials, including the new mayor; the City Manager; and, the new Chairman of the Brunswick Housing Authority Board, making sure they know about our mission.
Of course, everyone wants to know when our first residents will be onboarded. We have 18 houses totally completed including furnishings, etc.,12 more in various stages of completion, and an additional 11 framed up. We have received word from the Brunswick Fire Marshall that we cannot receive even a partial Certificate of Occupancy until the road through the entire campus is completed!
There are several steps that must precede the road work and we are addressing them. We are also assessing the options of a crushed concrete road versus a Geo Grid road. Linda has worked up a Gantt Chart which we distributed to all the trades, and they have committed to hard deadlines. Because so many trades and officials are involved, (the general contractor, the surveyors, the infrastructure engineers, the Brunswick/Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission, The Brunswick Fire Marshall, the Building Inspector, Georgia Power, plumbers, and architects, just to name a few) Linda, Carolyn and I are now taking control of weekly construction meetings to sort out timing and sequencing. If all goes as planned, we could have residents by mid-to-late summer. We will onboard slowly so that it is an orderly process.
Our Community Center is made up of Building One and Building Two which share a roof and are separated by a breezeway. Just to confuse things, we have completed all work in Building Two, which will be called The Claiborne and Betty Smith Lifelong Learning Center after a very generous unsolicited gift from our dear friend, Betty Smith. This building houses classrooms large and small, a laundromat and an intake shower facility for our residents, a small kitchen for serving the occasional group dinner, and a large central gathering space for A.A. meetings, GED classes and community worship services etc. Dedication of that building will be announced shortly, as soon as we have running water! Thank you, Betty Smith!
Coastal Community Health Services, headed by the dynamic Dr. Kavanaugh Chandler, has asked if they might put a satellite clinic at our site! We will build out a designated area in Building One to their specs which they will then furnish and staff on a part-time basis. This is a huge win for our residents to be able to access consistent medical care. The clinic will eventually be available for our neighbors in the community. Besides the clinic, Building One of the Community Center will house a Food Pantry stocked by America’s Second Harvest as well as an additional pantry stocked by Hand in Hand, the Director’s Office, a computer lab, and bathrooms.
We have contracted with a seasoned volunteer, who formerly worked at The Well, to help Carolyn, our Director, with various projects, including managing all the volunteer groups who want to lend a hand. Volunteers, of course, need to be organized so that we use their time productively, and so that they leave our campus having had a great experience. Carolyn and our volunteer coordinator are also finalizing contracts and guidelines for our prospective residents; ascertaining appropriate programing from the college, the hospital, and others who have volunteered; and finalizing plans for on-boarding residents one on one.
This past week Janelle Harvey, Director of Community Impact at The United Way, selected Hand in Hand of Glynn as the recipient of a large volunteer group working through Legacy Logistics. They brought 30 people who worked 4 hours each (120 hours of volunteer time)! Carolyn had all the different jobs organized and equipped, (furniture to be moved into the Tiny Homes, buckets, mops, and rags to clean the Tiny Homes, house numbers to be attached to houses, landscape cleanup, etc.) Now our 18 completed houses are all furnished and clean! The volunteers were very emotional about how they felt after this experience of preparing a Tiny Home for a person who is now homeless (….one woman wanted to write a letter to the future Tiny Home resident.) This volunteer effort made the front page of The Brunswick News.
We were approached by the new Glynn County Police Chief, Jacques Battiste, (a former FBI agent,) and the Brunswick Police Chief, Kevin Jones. Together, they want to establish a presence on our campus. We will renovate our Model Tiny House into a police substation and position it at our front gate. It will be manned by the 2 police departments coordinating on a part-time basis as well as our own security personnel, whom the Brunswick police have volunteered to put through their training program!
Hand in Hand of Glynn was on the agenda for the Brunswick Housing Authority’s May 11th Board Meeting in order to request Project-based Vouchers for all 60 of our houses. The vouchers were approved. They will enable us to supplement what our residents are able to pay for rent. Of course, we will have some residents whose income may not allow them to pay any rent, and, in this case, the Project-based Voucher will be the only revenue we will receive.
As we are blessed with over 55 different trees on the campus, we have enlisted the help of a tree expert. He and his crew will be trimming, taking out, and relocating trees. Nothing has been done to the trees in quite a while and some are in bad shape. In one of those strange coincidences that seem to happen with unusual frequency to us, our surveyor, Teeple Hill, told us his grandfather was the groundskeeper for the Altama Presbyterian Church, as well as a member of the original congregation, in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, and planted many of our trees. His grandson Teeple has shifted a number of planned houses to accommodate the underground infrastructure and the root systems and tree canopies of some of our beautiful live oaks which we are determined to preserve! Hence the name The Grove at Correll Commons has meaning.
Betty Moore, one of our Board Members, has been working on the overall campus logo and the campus signage. With her help and connections, finalized designs for (1) the signage at the welcoming gate; (2) 5 different road signs designating the 5 different neighborhoods; (3) the signage for naming our new Claiborne and Betty Smith Lifelong Learning Center and, (4) the Donor Recognition Sign have been completed pro bono, and fabrication will begin soon! We will print bumper stickers with the new logo for everyone to proudly display. Our new logo is below, originally designed by a marketing class at the College of Coastal Georgia! Thank you, students, and Betty Moore’s friends who lent their talents and expertise!
Given the numerous setbacks of Covid that have impacted every aspect of this project, including labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, and the resultant timeline delays, we feel encouraged and energized to be as far along as we are!
Thank you all, most sincerely. We give thanks every day for your generous donations that have made all of this possible! Your continuing interest and support have helped us raise an additional $1.2 million so far this year!! God bless you, each and every one.
Anne, Linda and Carolyn and the entire Board of Hand in Hand of Glynn, Inc.
Jeff Clark, Advisor to the Board