Our mission, objectives, fundraising strategy and keys to success
Gullah Society is a nonprofit organization created to assist those seeking to reconnect with their Gullah heritage, African history and culture. We honor our ancestors and commit to attending to their burial grounds as we know that they are forever with us.
The Gullah Society has outlined the following priorities to our vision for the future:
1. Burial Grounds Create partnerships with local, regional and national organizations to promote the preservation of African/African-American burial grounds.
2. Research and Education Increase our outreach to the community, so that more people can become aware of the achievements, contributions, and importance of Gullah Geechee Culture, especially African descendant youth.
3. Professional Development Increase public awareness of neglected African/African-American burial grounds, train communities and provide citizens with skills and access to resources for the preservation and maintenance of burial grounds. Work with schools and colleges to engage students and interns in public history and preservation.
4. Financial Development
Establish the Gullah Society as a sustainable nonprofit organization, through a combination of private, corporate and governmental consulting work, donations and project grants. Mission
Gullah Society intends to develop indigenous scholars, artists/artisans, cultural crafts people, and performers. These well-trained members will focus on artistic, oral history/storytelling and performance processes committed to bringing positive reconciliation and pride to Gullah Geechee people and their history. While the State of South Carolina attracts millions of tourists every year that attend theatrical performances and events where the works of artists are displayed, the effectiveness of connecting culturally specific, heritage-related Gullah Geechee art exhibits, theatre and tourism has not been tested.
Gullah Society’s theatre component will consistently offer dynamic and constantly evolving programs designed for spiritual/religious, educational, and charitable purposes. Our programs are intended to enrich and build the community’s appreciation of Gullah Geechee culture and traditions. Although we incorporate all the fine arts into our programs, Gullah theatre focuses on theatrical performances. The theatre ensemble is staffed with working playwrights, artists, vocalists, dancers and musicians who are committed to fostering a new generation of artists/performers who will preserve, promote, and perpetuate Gullah Geechee culture and traditions. An intended purpose for the Gullah theatre is to assist “in interpreting the story of Gullah Geechee people and preserving Gullah Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music.”
We are also committed to developing entrepreneurs and employment opportunities that will contribute to the economic empowerment of Gullah Geechee communities. We recognize that there is a lack of appropriate economic development, adequate job training programs, and entrepreneurial and educational opportunities. We believe that highly developed skill-sets and creative enterprise can be transitioned into entrepreneurial opportunities. Therefore, we will place emphasis on developing entrepreneurs that will become employers that will provide the needed employment opportunities for Gullah Geechee people.
Create an overall positive recognition of Gullah Geehee people and their culture and traditions through engagement with the community utilizing performance, visual arts, lectures, music, dance and cultural appreciation.
Create a self-sustaining entity through generating earned revenue from a combination of membership and admission fees, programming, outreach, special events, art sales, cultural crafts, and other tourists centered merchandise.
Secure-funding sources including grants, private, and corporate donations.
To develop a diverse and multicultural membership, Board of Directors, and staff that will be committed to service, impeccability, and excellence.
We are seeking funding for start up costs to be used for legal fees and related expenses. We are also looking to lease or purchase a building that will accommodate our artists/artisans studios, pottery and crafts workshops, and entrepreneurial training academy.
Additional funding will be generated by:
· Bi-annual benefit events
· Small fundraising activities
· Social Media fundraising
Gullah Society affiliates and advocates include community activists, religious and spiritual leaders, youths, artists, entrepreneurs, scholars. Gullah Society members and family believe that collective work and responsibility is a viable solution to many of the problems faced by urban and rural communities.