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Blackbaud makes 6-figure investment in Charleston students

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Blackbaud is making a multi-year, six-figure gift to Big Brothers Big Sisters to support local scholars and promote a more diverse workforce, particularly in Charleston’s technology industry.

The cloud software company, headquartered on Daniel Island, is donating a monetary gift, as well as a paid internship and summer youth opportunities for a new initiative hosted by BBBS of the Lowcountry: The Big Beyond Scholar Program. The program aims to build equitable approaches to career and post-secondary readiness for youth.

"For more than 40 years, our company has invested in education and equity in our local communities," said Mike Gianoni, president and CEO of Blackbaud. "We're proud to make this contribution to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization to support college and career readiness for high-potential youth locally, nationally and internationally."

The Big Beyond Scholar Program is based at James Island Charter High School and is investing in 25-30 high-potential scholars, whom the program will track over the next three years. Program members begin as sophomores and are matched with mentors who will follow them and help in developing an individual graduation plan. Together with parents, mentors, advisers and counselors, scholars navigate educational and post-secondary choices, be it college, career, trade programs or military.

Blackbaud’s gift will sponsor 10 students in the program for three years, as well as provide opportunities for employees to partake in BBBS mentorships and other service projects.

Merridith Crowe, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry said there is a need to foster an inclusive and more diverse workforce, particularly in the Lowcountry’s technology sector.

“Together, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Blackbaud can help address this problem with a real-world solution,” she said.

While the Big Beyond Scholar Program is based in Charleston, the learnings will be shared with hundreds of other BBBS agencies to prepare youth around the world, the release said.

"Our scholars deserve every opportunity to engage successfully in our growing economy and to imagine they belong at companies like Blackbaud,” Crowe said.

The company also said in the news release that it plans to make additional gifts throughout Big Brothers Big Sisters’ international network.

Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

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