The Problem & An Idea
In early 2016, when the reality of youth homelessness became so apparent that it could no longer be ignored, Kim Wilson (then principal at Stall High School) took up the torch and began seeking a realistic, tangible solution.
Inspiration & Action
The resulting Project H.O.M.E. (Helping Others Mirror Excellence) was inspired by Joe’s Place, a thriving home for displaced teenaged boys located in Maplewood, Missouri that had been in operation for just shy of a decade.
The Project H.O.M.E. concept was presented to the Riley Institute at Furman’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI), and selected members of the DLI formed the foundation’s board tasked with spearheading the project and implementing fundraising activities.
Key Startup Benefactors
- Mickey Welch gifted significant funds to build the house
- Charleston Auto Auction raised over $40,000
- Comcast donated $37,500
- The InterTech Group donated $25,000
- Steinberg Law Firm pro bono 501 c3 application
- The Wooddy Law firm – pro bono house closing
On May 1, 2017 a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site of Mickey’s House. The event was attended by key City of North Charleston officials as well as the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Mayor Keith Summey and Betsy Welch Wilson (daughter of Mickey Welch) turned the first shovel of dirt.
From Construction to Accepting Students
Construction of the home lasted 4 months, the first teenager and home parents moved into the home, and the ribbon cutting ceremony was held on November 1, 2017.
In the ensuing years, 90% of the students have graduated high school, and 60% have gone on to pursue post-secondary education.
A Shift in Branding
In 2020, the organization’s name was updated from Project H.O.M.E. Trust to Project Home Foundation.
Project Home Foundation works to provide a structured and nurturing home environment for displaced male high school students between the ages of 17 and 21 that will allow them to experience success in learning and in life. Our first home – Mickey’s House – exists primarily for boys in their teenage years who have been forced into youth homelessness in the Charleston County area.