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The BlackRock Foundation invests in Spartanburg Academic Movement to spur education and job readiness in Union County, South Carolina
[May 28, 2024]

The BlackRock Foundation invests in Spartanburg Academic Movement to spur education and job readiness in Union County, South Carolina

Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM) today announced a $1.5 million grant award from The BlackRock Foundation. The new funds will enable SAM to support the creation of cradle-to-career model in Union County, while also granting funds to local Union County based direct service providers serving youth and families, and deepening no-cost professional training for local educators.

The cradle-to-career model emphasizes continuous education and skill development from early childhood through adulthood, aligning educational efforts with workforce needs. By providing comprehensive support and guidance at every stage of development, SAM's model helps individuals gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to pursue their careers and succeed in the workforce.

SAM's success as a leading education-focused nonprofit in Spartanburg County led to the planning and development of Movement 2030, a 7.5-year comprehensive cradle-to-career plan for Spartanburg County. Movement 2030 has garnered significant philanthropic support, totaling $100 million from notable contributors including Blue Meridian Partners, The Duke Endowment, Blue Cross Blue Shield South Carolina and over a dozen individual, corporate, and philanthropic investors locally. Notably, SAM recently secured a 5-year, $15 million Full-Service Community Schools grant from the Department of Education. This grant will bolster two Spartanburg School Districts, leveraging Movement 2030 as its core framework for sustainable impact.

"Union County and Spartanburg are more than just neighboring communities; we're partners in progress, united in our commitment to building a brighter future together," said Spartanburg Academic Movement CEO and StriveTogether Board Chair Dr. Russell Booker. "The BlackRock Foundation recognizes that the success of Union's children is paramount to the future local workforce. Our shared vision extends from early childhood education to career development, fostering a cradle-to-career pipeline of opportunity. With over a dozen years on this cradle-to-career journey, we are eager to support Union as they craft a plan tailored to their community's needs."

The BlackRock Foundation is a private foundation established by BlackRock, Inc., a leading investment manager which manages retirement plan assets for more than 35 million Americans,1 and helps manage pension assets for more than half a million South Carolinians.2 Additionally, more than 240,000 people work fr South Carolina-based companies that have access to a BlackRock retirement product.3 The BlackRock Foundation, which is part of BlackRock's philanthropic strategy, is focused on creating economic security and mobility for underserved communities by helping families save and invest for their financial future.

"The Foundation's grant reflects our belief in the untapped potential of this community and aims to build economic mobility. We look forward to seeing the economic opportunities it will create. Today's announcement is a shared endeavor, one that honors the aspirations of Union residents and paves the way for long-term financial security."

Claire Chamberlain, President, The BlackRock Foundation.

"The backbone of every community's economic development success is the betterment of the people in that community. We are very excited and optimistic that the cradle-to-career program initiated by this collaboration will benefit Union County employers and citizens for years to come. On behalf of Union County, I want to thank all of the partners that will be involved to continue moving Union County forward."

Dolton Williams, Union County Development Board.

"We are fortunate to have strong partnerships in our community. Our school district is very appreciative of the support from SAM and The BlackRock Foundation which provides this opportunity for our partnerships to grow and streamline our focus and collaboration on the cradle-to-career model."

Joey Haney, Union County Schools Superintendent.

About The BlackRock Foundation

Created in February 2020, The BlackRock Foundation focuses on creating economic security and mobility for underserved communities by helping families save and invest for their financial future.

About BlackRock

BlackRock's purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, we help millions of people build savings that serve them throughout their lives by making investing easier and more affordable. For additional information on BlackRock, please visit

1 Source: As of Dec. 31, 2021. The overall number of Americans is calculated based on estimates of participants in BlackRock's Defined Contribution (DC) and Defined Benefit (DB) plan clients. The Defined Contribution number is estimated based on data from FERS as well as ISS Market Intelligence BrightScope for active participants across 401(k) and 403(b). Defined Contribution includes plans with over $100M+ in assets where participants have access to one or more BlackRock funds; some may not be invested with BlackRock. The Defined Benefit number is estimated based on data from public filings and Pension & Investments for the total number of participants across the 20 largest U.S. Defined Benefit plans that are not also Defined Contribution clients of BlackRock.
2 Source: The Defined Benefit number is estimated based on the number of participants in the South Carolina Retirement System, as disclosed in the US Census Bureau 2022 Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State & Local Table. As of 6/30/22.
3 Source: Represents the estimated number of active participants with access to a BlackRock investment product through their US Defined Contribution plan headquartered in South Carolina. Does not include estimates for retirees or local government plans.
BlackRock Defined Contribution AUM is sourced from BlackRock Finance; Plan location, active participant counts, and the number of plans is sourced from BrightScope (as of 12/31/21 or latest led Form 5500).

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