Help Save Gullah Geechee Land Campaign

$37,203 of $250,000 goal

Raised by 418 people in 54 months
Created March 5, 2015
This photo is truly worth a thousand words. Taken with a cellphone in July 2016, it shows Rev. Ben Grate at the South Carolina Statehouse protesting the $250 annual sewer assessment that has resulted in dozens of Plantersville, SC Gullah Geechee families having their  property sold at Georgetown County Delinquent Tax Sales since 2014.

Grate is a Plantersville native and a minister, who organized his Gullah Geechee relatives and neighbors to fight to save the beloved heirs property their families have owned since the end of the Civil War in the 1860s.

He's working closely with our non-profit (PAFEN) to ensure that Plantersville Gullah Geechee families can redeem their property that's already been sold.

But our ultimate goal is to prevent their ancestral homes and land from ever being auctioned again.

By Theresa White, Founder & CEO
The Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network, Inc. (PAFEN)

Disabled retiree Lillian Milton wasn't the first Gullah Geechee resident of Plantersville, SC to lose property through a Georgetown County Delinquent Tax Sale for not paying the controversial $250 annual assessment fee for a sewer line that she doesn't want--and has never connected to.

But she's the first person known to have suffered a stress-related heart attack over it, according to a widely-read BBC Magazine story published on Dec. 5, 2016.

"I am retired and I have already lost my house once to the tax sale because of this assessment," Milton told a Georgetown Times reporter in March 2016. " . . . somebody needs to step in and help us before we all lose our homes
."

Our PAFEN Board of Directors heard the Plantersville Gullah Geechee community's call for help.

So, we've been quietly working behind the scenes to lend both technical, and financial assistance in coming weeks.


We also spread the word about the growing threat of Plantersville land loss around the globe via our Facebook Page, using both the BBC story, and a special Atlanta Black Star video website posted on its website on Dec. 9, 2017.

VIEW THE BBC MAGAZINE STORY & VIDEO HERE:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-37994938

SEE THE ATLANTA BLACK STAR STORY HERE:

http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/12/09/the-gullah-geechee-are-being-forced-out-of-an

READ THE DETAILED HISTORY ABOUT  HOW THE GULLAH GEECHEES IN PLANTERSVILLE GOT INVOLVED IN THE $250 SEWER ASSESSMENT PROPERTY TAX TRAP,  IN THIS GEORGETOWN TIMES/SOUTH STRAND NEWS INVESTIGATION PIECE HERE:

http://www.southstrandnews.com/news/a-georgetown-times-investigation-a-community-i

Our non-profit Pan-African Family Empowerment and Land Preservation Network--which has helped to save more than $2-million worth of Gullah Geechee-owned land in S.C. since May 2015--is willing to go to the mat to help the Plantersville Gullah Geechee community.

But we need the financial support of our loyal gofundme donors, and the general public to redeem already sold properties; pay taxes to avoid delinquent tax sales; and launch a Gullah Geechee Land Legal Defense Fund.

Since January 2017, we've been working with Plantersville community activist/leader, Rev. Ben Grate, to develop both short-term and long-term strategies for saving the property of the land rich, but cash poor Gullah Geechee families whose land is in the crosshairs of real estate developers with deep pockets.

We're trying to raise a minimum of $500,000 to make that happen--while continuing our various assistance programs for Gullah Geechees, and other people of African descent.

FUNDS NEEDED TO HELP GULLAH-GEECHEE LANDOWNERS AVOID HOMELESSNESS & DISPLACEMENT


If they lose the land they own now--they face a very depressing future:

*Either they'll become homeless.

*Or they'll remain permanently displaced because they'll never be able to earn enough money to replace the beautiful land--some valuable waterfront property-- that's been passed down to them by their ancestors


PLEASE MAKE AN IMMEDIATE TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TO OUR HELP SAVE GULLAH GEECHEE LAND CAMPAIGN to support our much-needed financial and technical assistance to families in crisis!!!!


Beaufort, SC resident Michelle Lewis received $5,523.00 to save her lifelong home, which was sold at the 2014 Beaufort County Delinquent Tax Sale.

Alfornes "Alfonso" Brown of the Grays Hill Community received $702. 78 to pay the taxes on his mobile home current through 2016. His check was presented by "Sway of the Siren" author Laurie K. McCall, a loyal PAFEN donor.
Among other tax payments totaling more than $1,800, Grays Hill resident Shatwanna Fields received $806.22 to redeem her mobile home lot sold at the 2016 Beaufort County Delinquent Tax Sale. Her check above was presented by PAFEN First Vice Chair Stephen A. McHayle, a native of Jamaica.
Burton resident Michelle Haygood received $2,399.47 to redeem a home and land she co-owns with her father, Willie. The property was sold at the 2014 Beaufort County Delinquent Tax Sale. Her check was presented by PAFEN Founder & CEO Theresa White.

CONTINUING BATTLE FOR BLACK-OWNED LAND

Gullah Geechees and other Black-Americans have been, and are still being cheated out of their land  far more often than most Americans realize.

In 2006, the Associated Press published the findings of its 18-month investigation which revealed a pattern of African-Americans being cheated out of their land, or run off it through methods, including intimidation, trickery, forged deeds, violence, arson, and outright murder--in 107 documented land takings in 13 southern and border states.

Crooked judges and law enforcement officials were involved in  several of the cases uncovered by the AP.

In 2012, the Geechee people of Sapelo Island, GA had to fight off a McIntosh County tax reassessment that resulted in more than 500% tax increases  for almost all of the Hog Hammock community's less than 50 families. 

Incredibly, Annie Watts, 73, saw the tax bill for her three-room, 1-acre Sapelo Island homestead rise from just $362 to $2,312, according to The New York Times.

Currently, we're working with Hilton Head Island's  Native Islander Gullah Community; the S.C. Chapter of the National Action Network; and the new HHI Chapter of NAN to get land use restrictions loosened that keep Gullah Geechees from subdividing their land among relatives, and using it for economic development.

The graphic video below--which is narrated by Gullah businessman Taiwan Scott--shows how Town of Hilton Head Island officials have been neglecting the needs of Native Islander Gullah taxpayers since the town was incorporated in 1983.



And here's some of the media coverage about PAFEN's work with Hilton Head Island's Native Islander Gullah Community:

http://www.wtoc.com/story/31650117/groups-say-hhi-regulations-preventing-indigeno

http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/article136580843.html

RENTERS FACE DISPLACEMENT, TOO

Gullah-Geechee renters are also facing displacement, and the difficult search for new affordable housing in record numbers due to gentrification in cities including Savannah, GA , and Charleston, SC.

In Charleston, according to a Dec. 23, 2014 article in the Black-owned newspaper, The Charleston Chronicle, the city's Black popuation was plummeted from 70% to just 28% since 1980!

THE PAN-AFRICAN FAMILY EMPOWERMENT NETWORK'S  MISSION

One of the PAFEN's main goals is empowering people of African descent with the educational, organizational, and financial tools necessary to protect their ancestral homes, family-owned land, and farms from being lost through delinquent tax sales; gentrification;  new developments and resorts; and skyrocketing property taxes.

We also aim to ensure that African peoples understand that land and home ownership are key to building wealth to pass from one generation to the next, as well as important stepping stones to breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

THE GULLAH-GEECHEE
CULTURAL HERITAGE CORRIDOR

The Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was established by Congress in 2006 through the tireless efforts of Gullah-Geechee leaders like Marquetta "Queen Quet" Goodwine of St. Helena Island, SC.

Powerful back-up and legislative leadership  was provided by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the first African-American elected to Congress from South Carolina since Reconstruction. He's  currently the third highest ranking Democrat  in the U.S. House. 

The Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is marked by distinctive roadsigns from Wilmington, NC to Jacksonville, FL.

It  seeks to preserve and protect the culturally-unique Gullah-Geechee people, whose blended West African, Native-American, and European culture features some of the purest traditional African cultural retentions in the New World.

"Unless something is done to halt the destruction, Gullah Geechee culture will be relegated to museums and history books, and our nation's unique cultural mosaic will lose one of its richest and most colorful pieces," observes the National Trust for Historic Preservation website. 

Because many of their families live on valuable waterfront property on  beautiful sea islands stretching from North Carolina to Florida, untold numbers of Gullah-Geechee people are being forced to sell land their families have owned for generations due to skyrocketing taxes.

LANDOWNERS  NEED TRANSITIONAL FUNDS

Fortunately, here in Beaufort County, SC the Beaufort County Council has made it possible for all taxpayers to pay their property taxes in six equal installments--rather than one often hard to obtain lump sum payment.

The problem is that taxpayers have to be current on their tax bills by Jan. 15--in order to start making the estimated installment payments on the next year's taxes by February 15. 

Gullah-Geechee families have tried to raise funds to pay their taxes by many methods, including fish frys; bake sales; raffles; yard sales; timber harvesting; payday and finance company loans; and the online  sale of products like the Sapelo Island Geechee Red Peas Project.

But they still need help from other sources.

$500,000 GOAL IS JUST THE BEGINNING

Our long-term goal is to raise $5-million to assist Gullah-Geechee families with  buying back property that was sold at  delinquent tax sales before the "one year and a day" redemption deadline; providing training on various aspects of lowering  property taxes and making property pay for itself; and giving one-time tax payment grants to allow families to make the transition to installment tax payments. 

Any donation that you can make will be greatly appreciated, and publicly acknowledged on  the Pan-African Family Empowerment Network website--unless you request to remain anonymous.  

Please give as generously as possible. No donation is too small, or too large:)

We're a 501c3 tax-exempt organization, and will issue  receipts that can be used for tax-deductions.

Thanks in advance for your much-needed support!

Theresa White, Founder & CEO
The Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network, Inc.
St. Helena Island, SC
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TODAY--SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2019--will be a historic day for both the Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network, and our HELP SAVE GULLAH-GEECHEE LAND CAMPAIGN!

It'll be the final day of our 5th Anniversary Celebration, which began with our STAND4LAND TAXPAYER EMPOWERMENT WORKSHOP, held in partnership with St. John's Lutheran Church on May 4th.

HISTORY-MAKING GRAND FINALE

And what a grand finale it'll be:The Keynote Speaker for our 5th Anniversary Annual Meeting will be the first African Queen known to ever officially visit the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor--Her Majesty Queen Mother Dowoti Desir Hounon Houna II, Queen of the Royal Palace of His Majesty Dada Daagbo Hounon Houna II, Supreme Spiritual Chief of Vodun Hwendo, in Benin, West Africa.

Independent of her duties as a royal spouse splitting time behind two continents, Her Majesty is an internationally-acclaimed human rights activist, scholar, author, and faith leader in her own right.

During a long and distinguished career in both the private and public sectors, she's been profiled by numerous media outlets, including The New York Times.

The news of her visit to South Carolina made the Front Page of The Charleston Chronicle. You can read their story by clicking the link below:

https://www.charlestonchronicle.net/2019/04/29/african-queen-to-address-pafen-in-south-carolina/

INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN INFLUENCER

If you google Dowoti Desir, you'll be amazed by the many accomplishments of the Ivy League educated adviser to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). She lectures extensively on the objectives of the U.N.'s International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024.

Queen Mother Dowoti is expected to deliver a powerful message during her address to attendees at PAFEN's 5th Anniversary Annual Meeting. Her topic will be: "What's Vodou Got To Do With It? Human Rights, Land, and Reparations."

The free public event will be held at the St. Helena Branch Library, 6355 Jonathan Francis, Sr. Road, St. Helena Island, SC 29920. It begins at 12:30 p.m.

Queen Mother Dowoti is the Founder and President of the AfroAtlantic Theologies & Treaties Institute, and the DDPA (Durban Declaration & Programme of Action Plan) Watch Group.

A native of Haiti, she's also a Manbo Asogwe (High Priest) of Haitian Vodou. The former Catholic has long championed the right of African peoples to practive their traditional ancestral religions.

Known around the globe for her work documenting and helping to preserve the history of African peoples transplanted in the so-called New World by the infamous trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Queen Mother Dowoti is the Chairperson of the United Nation's NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations) Committee on the Elimination of Racism, Afrophobia, and Colorism.

DOCUMENTING GULLAH-GEECHEE CULTURE

Since her arrival in Beaufort County on May 15th, Queen Mother Dowoti has been deeply immersed in learning about, and documenting the celebrated African cultural retentions of Gullah-Geechee people. What she examined will be shared with the appropriate U.N. agencies, and published in forthcoming books.

Together, we toured the historic Gullah communities of Hilton Head Island, SC--one of which is the site of Mitchelville, America's first self-governing Freedmen's Village. Mitchelville was created in 1862 by Union Army General Ormsby Mitchell, when the now renowned world class tourist resort was under occupation by federal troops, during the early days of the Civil War.

Gullah Heritage Tours Guide Melvin Campbell, and our driver John Campbell, helped us to connect the dots about the survival of those freed West Africans, whose descendants are known today as Gullah-Geechees, both during, and after the Civil War.

Ahead of passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the island's newly-freed Africans weren't yet American citizens, and were then considered contraband of war.

But the community building success story of Mitchelville residents became a closely watched dress rehearsal for America's Reconstruction era, and was actively promoted by Harriet Tubman, and other abolitionists.

According to data provided to the Town of Hilton Head Island's Gullah-Geechee Land & Cultural Preservation Task Force, HHI's Gullah families have lost more than 66% of the land they once owned by a variety of methods, including delinquent tax sales. I currently serve on HHI's Gullah-Geechee Task Force.

Queen Mother Dowoti took plenty of photos in Mitchelville, and at the old Honey Horn Plantation's Coastal Discovery Museum, where Gullah Sweetgrass Basket Artists Michael Smalls and Dion Badger "sew" the highly-coveted baskets using the same ancient African techniques brought to the New World by captive Africans more than 400 years ago.

SAVANNAH'S SLAVE PORT PAST

Master Storyteller Patt Gunn, Founder & CEO of Underground Tours of Savannah, helped Queen Dowoti to retrace the steps that enslaved Africans made after disembarking from slaveships on the docks of Savannah, GA's famous River Street.

We went from the slaveship docks and the holding pens where slaves waited to be sold to the highest bidder, to the former slave market site in Johnson Square, according to Gunn's spellbinding narrative.

The Queen also took photos of the several other historic sites and artifacts. Among them are:

*The breathing holes used by slaves hiding in the basement of First African Baptist Church, the oldest continously operating Black Church in North America, and a legendary stop on the Underground Railroad;

*The Haitian Monument dedicated to the Black Haitian troops who defended Savannah during the American Revolution--then returned home to plan, and successfully execute the Haitian Revolution;

*The Old Savannah Cotton Exchange;

*And the African-American Monument featuring a free Black family facing their ancestral home in Africa, as well as a powerful though controversial inscription written by the celebrated late poet and author Maya Angelou.

Many thanks to all of you who've empowered PAFEN to survive to this critical point in our history, and to HELP SAVE GULLAH-GEECHEE LAND with an assessed value of more than $6-million since 2015!!!

Please join us today, if possible. If not, I look forward to updating you about today's events.

Your much-needed support is greatly appreciated, and will never be forgotten.

Peace and Blessings,

Theresa White, Founder & CEO
The Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network, Inc.
Beaufort, SC
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Over $6-million!

Thanks to the generosity of our loyal donors and supporters, that's the assessed value of the Gullah-Geechee-owned property kept from being lost by the HELP SAVE GULLAH-GEECHEE LAND CAMPAIGN of the Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network since 2015.

DONOR DRIVEN SUCCESS STORY

During 2017, our best year to date financially, we spent an impressive 86.7% of your donations on Program Services for our clients, according to the calculations of the South Carolina Secretary of State's Office. A copy of that report is attached for your review. But you can view it independently online at https://www.scsos.com. Just do a Charity Search using our name.

In 2018, PAFEN saved a whopping $3-million worth of property in South Carolina's Beaufort, Colleton, Georgetown, and Horry counties.

And we reached across into Georgia to help our first Gullah client there. Nancy Christopher Taylor-Johnson, then 80, is a wheelchair bound amputee, whose family has owned property on Hitlton Head Island, SC since the Civil War era. Her ancestors were among the residents of Mitchelville, America's first self-governing Freedmen's Village. Mitchelville was created by Union Army Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchel, during the Union occupation of Hilton Head Island in 1862.

Although we get most of the credit, the true heroes behind the amazing track record of success of PAFEN are our much-appreciated donors. WE DEFINITELY COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!!! We'll never be able to thank you enough.

PAFEN 5TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

So, as we prepare to kick-off PAFEN's belated 5th Anniversary Celebration on May 4th, we extend to you a special invitation to join us for three exciting weekends of educational, networking, and fundraising events. A copy of the full schedule of events with street addressees and zip codes is attached below for your convenience.

If you're a current or former PAFEN donor, supporter, or volunteer, you'll be recognized at all of our 5th Anniversary events--if you stand when asked to do so.

Our 5th Anniversary Celebration kicks off with the 2019 STAND4LAND TAXPAYER EMPOWERMENT WORKSHOP, which will be held on Saturday, May 4th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at St. John's Lutheran Church.

It'll be our Third Annual free combined Public Service/Community Outreach project designed to educate S.C. taxpayers of all races about the resources available to, among other things, help them to sustain long-term property ownership; open or expand a business; purchase or repair a home; use property to generate income; clear the title to heirs' property; and become more financially secure.

The celebration will conclude with our 5th Anniversary Annual Meeting and Report to the Community, which will be held on Saturday, May 18th, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the St. Helena Island Branch Library.

In the middle, will be an Open House at our PAFEN Family Empowerment Resources & Training Center, on Sunday, May 12th, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

EXCITING FUNDRAISING EVENTS

Because we currently have a waiting list of financial assistance requests that tops $35,000 that we still need to raise, we'll have three enjoyable fundraisers woven into our 5th anniversary festivities. Our first ever ticketed fundraising event will be the STAND4LAND JAZZ BRUNCH FUNDRASER, will be held at Hilton Head island's fabulous Ruby Lee's South, on Sunday, May 5th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nationally known vocalist and pianist Lavon Stevens will headline the JAZZ BRUNCH FUNDRAISER, which will be the first in a 6-part series of themed First Sunday fundraising brunches to be hosted by Ruby Lee's South, from May through October. Tickets are $50.

Tickets are already available at EVENTBRITE.COM using this link:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/stand4land-jazz-brunch-fundraiser-tickets-54792490815.

Beginning next week, tickets can also be purchased at Ruby Lee's South, 19 Dunnigan's Alley, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, and the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Comerce, 711 Bladen St., Beaufort, SC 29902.

And our final two fundraisers will be an outdoor 5th Anniversary Fish Fry Fundraiser & After Party hosted by the famous Gullah Grub Restaurant on St. Helena Island, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., on Saturday, May 11th.

Gullah Grub Owner Celebrity Chef Bill Green--who hails from Charleston County--has bragging rights to owning the only Beaufort County restaurant that's been spotlighted on national TV by culinary icons Martha Stewart and the late Anthony Bourdain! We can all expect to enjoy a delicious, hearty meal, and great dance tunes supplied by a popular local DJ.

Tickets for the Fish Fry are $25 and are already available online at EVENTBRITE.COM using the following link:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pafen-5th-anniversary-fish-fry-fundraiser-after-party-tickets-58652818158.

And next week, tickets will be available at both Gullah Grub, 877 Sea Island Parkway @ Dr. MLK , Jr. Drive on St. Helena Island, SC 29920, and the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce in Beaufort.

Those who only want to attend the After Party can make a $10 donation to enter at the onsite ticket booth.

DONATIONS STILL BEING ACCEPTED

Even if you can't attend our 5th Anniversary Celebration, you can still support our much-needed ongoing Black-owned land preservation efforts by purchasing a ticket online.

Current or prospective donors to THE HELP SAVE GULLAH-GEECHEE LAND CAMPAIGN are welcome to make a tax deductible charitable donation to help a family, or individual avoid becoming either homeless or permanently displaced from their ancestral home, and/or land due to delinquent property taxes via this gofundme link, or by using the PAFEN website donation portal at: https://www.pa-fen.org.

Thanks again for making all we do possible.

Peace and Blessings,

Theresa
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URGENT LAST MINUTE REMINDER:

Less Than 12 Hours Are Left To Support The "Help Save Gullah-Geechee Land Campaign" of the Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network This Year!!!

Please make a real difference by making a gift of $20, $50, $100--or any amount that you can afford, to help keep land rich, but often cash poor Gullah-Geechee families from becoming either homeless, or permanently displaced from their ancestral property dating back to the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

All donations received by midnight today, Monday, December 31st, will be tax deductible for the 2018 tax year.

Below are some of the grateful families you've helped because of your past generosity. Their relieved smiles and beaming faces tell the story of the true impact of your charitable giving.

Thanks in advance for your support.

And Happy New Year!!!

Peace and Blessings,

Theresa White, Founder & CEO
The Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network, Inc.
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

70-year-old widow Yvonne DeLoach of Beaufort , SC tried unsuccessfully to borrow $3,387.37 to prevent the auction of her childhood home at the 2018 Beaufort County Delinquent Tax Sale. But all she could come up with without going to a finance company was $700.

Sidelined from working by rheumatoid arthritis for the past two years, Laura Lawyer Jones was struggling to make ends meet with her dwindling retirement savings. So, she was powerless to stop the .42-acre parcel of land that her family has owned on Hilton Head Island for three generations from going to the auction block. Jones, 54, needed $695.66 that she couldn't afford to pay.

Unfortunately, both properties were auctioned at the dreaded annual county tax sale--Jones' for $24,000 and DeLoach's for $110,000. And the 3% interest immediately due to the winning bidders increased the cost of redeeming their properties by $720, and $3,300, respectively.

But thanks to the much appreciated generosity of donors to the "Help Save Gullah-Geechee Land Campaign" of the Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network--both women's property was redeemed in time for them to have a stress free and Merry Christmas!!!

NO MORE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

"Now I can sleep," Jones said, after I handed her the $1,415.66 Redemption Receipt from the Beaufort County Treasurer's Office on HHI on Dec. 14th. "Thank you very much! This means a lot of me and my family."

Jones explained that the property was been passed down to the oldest child in the family since her father, Nathaniel Lawyer, inherited it when her paternal grandmother passed away 30 years ago. She'd come dangerously close to losing her inheritance.

Noted artist Samantha Claar, who owns the Fine Folk Galleries in Norcross, GA, donated $1,000 of the money PAFEN used to redeem the Lawyer property, where Jones and her two children, and their children share a mobile home. And Claar drove down from the Atlanta area to be a part of the PAFEN Check Presentation to Jones and her father.

Claar partnered with the Art League of Hilton Head to auction a Gullah-themed painting and use the entire proceeds to help a HHI Gullah family pay their delinquent property taxes. The painting sold for $870, and Claar donated another $130 from her art gallery.

Pictured in the Lawyer/Jones Family Check Presentation photo below are, left to right, Kristin Griffis, Art League of Hilton Head Gallery Assistant; Artist & Fne Folk Galleries Owner Samantha Claar; me in my capacity as CEO of PAFEN; Laura Lawyer Jones, and her father, Nathaniel Lawyer, 72.

FRONT PAGE NEWS

A heartwarming article about the Lawyer/Jones Family land redemption made the Facebook Page, and the Front Page of both The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette on Dec. 20th. You can read it by clicking the link below:

https://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/article223197290.html

BIGGEST CASH REDEMPTION OF 2018

Thanks to the kind hearts of our new and loyal donors, during 2018 PAFEN was able to generate enough funds to prevent the loss of Gullah-Geechee-owned property with an assessed value of a $3,038,600, according to tax records in Beaufort, Colleton, and Georgetown counties. It's been our best year ever, and boosted the total assessed value of the property we've saved to more than $6-million since 2015.

But many more families still need our help to keep long-term ownership of their property through financial, technical, and referral assistance, and education about the various tax relief exemptions they qualify for, as well as resources available to help them to convert their property into a valuable asset that pays for itself.

Our largest assessed value redemption this year was the home of the late Stanley Wright and his widow, Jackie, on Hilton Head Island. Their property was then assessed at $227,300, but rose to $251,500 after the 2018 Beaufort County tax reassessment.

And our largest cash redemption was that of retired Beaufort widow Yvonne DeLoach, whose property we redeemed on Nov. 29th for $6,687.33.

Her home and land, which were purchased by her late parents in the 1950s, is currently assessed at $182,700--despite a badly leaking roof on the historic wooden house built in 1900. You'll see a photo of DeLoach below holding PAFEN's giant Presentation Check inside the Beaufort County Treasurer's Office in Beaufort.

EYE-OPENING MATH

A photo of DeLoach's property Redemption Worksheet is also attached so you'll be able to see for yourself why it's so important for us to prevent Gullah-Geechee-owned property from being auctioned at delinquent tax sales: The price of redemption can rapidly reach the point of no return for struggling families. The math tells the alarming story in no uncertain terms.

"I would like to extend my deepest thanks to those who helped in redeeming my home," says DeLoach, who was referred to PAFEN for assistance by the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce. "I appreciate your thoughtfulness in stepping up to help me. God bless you for what you did."

"I'll never be in this situation again," observed DeLoach, who took PAFEN"s advice about applying for both the lower 4% property tax assessment rate,, and the $50,000 Homestead Exemption for SC residents over 65. Her next tax bill will be a fraction of the current one--and she'll receive a refund for up to two years of back taxes.

Suddenly, DeLoach's burden of trying to pay high property taxes on a fixed income has been lifted off her shoulders--despite living in a historically-Black neighborhood in the midst of aggressive gentrification.

YOUR SUPPORT IS STILL NEEDED

Caring donors like YOU make it possible for PAFEN to provide life-changing financial and technical assistance to struggling families like the Lawyers and DeLoachs. YOU are the engine that keeps our uplifting train of programs and services moving forward during uncertain economic times.

And YOU are the reason we succeed in keeping Gullah-Geechee families, and others who attend our annual free STAND4LAND TAXPAYER EMPOWERMENT WORKSHOP from becoming either homeless, or permanently displaced from their beloved homes and land.

If possible, please take the time to make a year-end tax deductible charitable donation to support PAFEN's "Help Save Gullah-Geechee Land Campaign" by no later than Dec. 31st.

Donors who choose to do so can designate a specific geographical location to receive their donation, and can attend a PAFEN Check Presentation to meet the family their charitable gift is helping.

In addition to using this gofundme link, donors also have the options of donating via PayPal on the PAFEN website, pa-fen.org, or mailing a check to: PAFEN, P. O. Box 706, St. Helena Island, SC 29920.

Thanks in advance for your much-needed support,

Theresa
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Read a Previous Update
Dale Reno
33 months ago
1
1

Does the Heirs Preservation Trust not help at all?

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Dale Reno
14 months ago

Heirs preservation trust & pafen are 2 different organizations, I finally see, but I do appreciate both,. I was very glad to see the recent CNN coverage of this topic.

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Melissa Reynolds
32 months ago

Thank you for your work Theresa (and others).

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Sherry Suttles
49 months ago

This is fantastic documentation of who you are and what you are doing. Several of my referrals have made donations but probably did not cite GGG as their source of info about this. Had my own money order prepared but had to convert it to an emergency

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$37,203 of $250,000 goal

Raised by 418 people in 54 months
Created March 5, 2015
Funds raised will benefit:
The Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Networ...
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Beaufort, SC
EIN: 463519895
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CT
$25
Chris Tittle
8 days ago

Free the land! Free the land! Free the land!

RM
$10
Reginald Mcknight
1 month ago
$50
Anonymous
1 month ago
$25
Walter White
3 months ago
JH
$25
James Howard
3 months ago

In memory of Lucy Pulley, Red Jacket West Virginia

SG
$30
Susan Goldstein
4 months ago
JC
$50
Julia Carter
4 months ago
$25
Anonymous
5 months ago
$100
Anonymous
7 months ago
JC
$50
Julia Carter
7 months ago
1
1

It's important to preserve our heritage, and people everywhere have the right to keep their homes, not be preyed upon by greedy developers. There are enough beach resorts and beach condos already! Let's keep Gullah Geechee culture alive and well.

Dale Reno
33 months ago
1
1

Does the Heirs Preservation Trust not help at all?

+ Read More
Dale Reno
14 months ago

Heirs preservation trust & pafen are 2 different organizations, I finally see, but I do appreciate both,. I was very glad to see the recent CNN coverage of this topic.

+ Read More
Melissa Reynolds
32 months ago

Thank you for your work Theresa (and others).

+ Read More
Sherry Suttles
49 months ago

This is fantastic documentation of who you are and what you are doing. Several of my referrals have made donations but probably did not cite GGG as their source of info about this. Had my own money order prepared but had to convert it to an emergency

+ Read More
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