E. Tedd Moyd is better attuned than most to the hardships brought about by the recession.
As executive director of Jasper County Neighbors United, a nonprofit organization that offers assistance to senior and low- to moderate-income homebuyers, he has seen firsthand its effects on people in Jasper, Beaufort, Hampton and Colleton counties.
"Since the recession hit, demand for our services has increased 200-fold," he says. "People are having to decide whether to repair their homes or buy groceries."
So when grants and donations to his group begin to dwindle, Moyd knew it was imperative to take action.
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He organized a "Builder's Ball," a black tie gala scheduled for Sept .1 at the Hampton Hall clubhouse in Bluffton.
Tickets are $100, and Moyd hopes to raise $40,000 to address what he says is an increasingly pressing issue for many.
"There are people with sinks covered in rust because of leaks, people with no septic tanks, even people forced to borrow water from their neighbors," he said. "Most of the homes we go into are unliveable, but the people in them think it's normal."
He said his nonprofit's seven-person staff began organizing the fundraiser in April to combat steadily declining funds, though he declined to offer an estimate of that loss.
The nonprofit raised about $435,000 in fiscal year 2010 -- the most recent year for which data is available -- according to the S.C. Secretary of State's Office.
The nonprofit lists nearly 30 "key funding partners" on its website, including the city of Hardeeville, Jasper County and the S.C. Department of Commerce.
In addition to home repair, the group offers financial-literacy courses, down-payment assistance and affordable housing.
This past fall, it began teaching first-time homebuyer classes for applicants seeking to qualify for the Wharf Street Redevelopment Project in Old Town Bluffton.
Vernita Dore, state director for the USDA Rural Development and co-chairwoman of the S.C. Rural Development Council, will deliver the keynote address at the ball.
State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, D-Ridgeland, and state Rep. Curtis Brantley, D-Ridgeland, are expected to attend, Moyd said.
Follow reporter Grant Martin at twitter.com/LowCoBiz.