Penn Center receives grant from Coastal Community Foundation

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

On Friday, June 21 the Coastal Community Foundation presented a $25,000 check to board members of Penn Center at their monthly meeting as part of a collaborative grant to fund the Learning Center of Beaufort County at the St. Helena institution. Penn Center matched the grant and will implement the Learning Center under the umbrella of the established PACE program.

From left: Clifford Bush III and Marion Burns of Penn Center receive a check from Edna Crews, Charles Kresch and Malcolm Goodridge, members of the Coastal Community Foundation and the Learning Center of Beaufort County.
From left: Clifford Bush III and Marion Burns of Penn Center receive a check from Edna Crews, Charles Kresch and Malcolm Goodridge, members of the Coastal Community Foundation and the Learning Center of Beaufort County.

The Coastal Community Foundation’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life in Beaufort County by supporting the network of nonprofits that serve our community.

Edna Crews, Regional Vice President of the Coastal Community Foundation, supports and encourages the collaboration of nonprofits to seek grants.

“Our job is to facilitate relationships in order to evaluate and approve grants. This collaboration between Penn Center and The Learning Center of Beaufort County is a win-win. Additionally, we have an obligation to continue to provide this fund for The Learning Center of Beaufort in perpetuity. It will always be here,” explains Crews.

Penn Center’s Chairman of the Board, Clifford Bush III, is excited about the new endeavor.

“This is an amazing opportunity for students on St. Helena Island. We live in a socio-economic challenged community where the kids don’t have the resources that other communities have. This program will teach our youth that they can overcome their learning challenges and be successful,” says Bush.

The Learning Center of Beaufort will offer students the chance to fully engage in a meaningful learning process, effectively utilize their distinctive learning styles and productively pursue ongoing academic achievement. And most importantly, The Learning Center will be available to every child in Beaufort County at a variety of locations.

All too often, children who possess an alternative to the verbal learning style get frustrated with mainstream teaching methods and abandon their will to learn. Students become apathetic; but, it’s not their fault. They just learn differently than most. The misunderstanding begins when many people can’t figure out why an intelligent person can’t read at their expected level. The mistreating begins when students are simply encouraged to “try harder.”

Malcolm Goodridge, founder and benefactor of The Learning Center of Beaufort County, understands this frustration. He is dyslexic. And he says his dyslexia is his greatest asset.

Goodridge remembers growing up and being called a “dummy” all the way through school. He took remedial reading classes to assist him, but they didn’t help much. He fought hard through school to overcome his learning disability, eventually going on to a distinguished career as a senior executive with American Express. Now retired, he thanks his struggle with dyslexia for his continued ambition toward success.

“I think that if I was a normal kid, I wouldn’t have the drive for success that I have now. I was pushed down so far, I had to figure out a way to survive,” says Goodridge.

Bush appreciates Goodridge’s generosity and adds, “Malcolm not only walks the walk, he talks the talk. He’s experienced learning challenges, overcome them and wants to give back to his community by funding this awesome program.”

Crews agrees, “When Malcolm (Goodridge) first approached the Coastal Community Foundation, he wanted to find a way to provide services to all children, regardless of where they lived in Beaufort County. His desire was to see kids get the assistance they deserve in order to have a full life like his.”

In addition to Malcolm Goodridge, the board of the Learning Center of Beaufort County consists of Charles Kresch, past president of the Beaufort County Board of Education, and David House, Board member of Beaufort Memorial Hospital and AMIkids. For more information or to donate to the endowment, please contact Edna Crews at edna@coastalcommunityfoundation.org or call 843-379-3400.

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