Lowcountry Local First cultivates an economy anchored in local ownership, because local-independent businesses are the cornerstone of our culture, economy, and character.
WHAT WE DO
– Educate the general public on why it’s important to choose local and influence them to do so.
– Work with our elected officials, decision-makers and opinion leaders to foster a better environment for creating and sustaining local businesses.
– Deliver resources, programming, networking, mentorship and more to local businesses of all shapes and sizes.
WHY WE’RE DIFFERENT
We develop innovative models for sustainable and equitable local economies. Our work leverages our understanding of our more than 550 local business members and 12,000 employees across all sectors, and is informed by staff with expertise and on-the-ground experience in local economy building, innovative economic development, entrepreneur support, sustainable agriculture, and food systems. We are connected to local economy and sustainable business organizations throughout the country, granting us access to the best models, case studies and thought leaders.
We value diversity of perspective, identity, and passion and believe we are all better when surrounded by those with unique lived experiences from our own.
HONORS & RECOGNITION
- 2019 Coworker Members’ Choice Award for Local Works – Coworker.com
- 2019 Best Of Award: Staff Pick for Best Charleston Email Newsletter – Charleston City Paper
- 2018 Winner Best Non-Traditional Marketing Campaign – Charleston American Marketing Association
- 2014-2017 Winner Growth Accelerator Fund Competition – U.S. Small Business Administration
- 2016 Charleston County Ambassador for Economic Development, Jamee Haley – S.C. Department of Commerce
- 2016 Winner Best Promotional Video and Best Non-Traditional Marketing Campaign – Charleston American Marketing Association
- 2015 South Carolina Small Business Ally of the Year – SC District Office, Small Business Administration
- 2015 Winner Best Event Promotion, Runner-Up Guerrilla Campaign – Charleston American Marketing Association
- 2014 Institution of the Year – Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
- 2014 South Carolina Innovation Fund – S.C. Department of Commerce
- 2010-2012 Best Local Cause – Charleston City Paper ‘Best Of’ Awards
- 2008 Sustainable Communities Award – The Sustainability Institute
ANNUAL REPORTS AND FINANCIALS
* 2019 Annual Report // 2019 Form 990
* 2018 Annual Report // 2018 Form 990
* 2017 State of Local // 2017 Form 990
* 2016 State of Local – Celebrating 10 Years // 2016 Form 990
* 2015 State of Local // 2015 Form 990
KEY FUNDERS & STRATEGIC PARTNERS
Executive Director; She/Her
Recklessly optimistic that the world can be a better place. She leads the organization with fierce determination to show the value our homegrown businesses bring to our community and quality of life. People connector, big idea thinker and new idea junkie.
Favorite quote (not just because of the name) Buckminster Fuller; "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." Jamee also currently serves City of Charleston’s Health and Wellness Advisory Committee, College of Charleston’s Sustainability Literacy Institute’s Advisory Board and Together SC's Lowcountry Membership Chair.
Director of Operations; She/Her
Lauren loves to say "every dollar we spend shapes our community," and brings her background in city planning and non-profit management to lead LLF's advocacy and operations. After earning a B.A. from the College of Charleston for Preservation & Community Planning, and a M.S. from Pratt Institute in City & Regional Planning, she completed a fellowship in Urban Planning at the Pratt Center for Community Development. In 2013, Lauren found a use for her 20+ year boycott of Walmart and joined the team at Lowcountry Local First as the Community Development Director, transitioning in 2018 to become the Director of Operations. Lauren has served on the Charleston Regional Development Alliance Economic Scorecard Task Force, and currently serves on the ReThink Folly Road Steering Committee, as well as the James Island Neighborhood Council.
Director of Development
Barbie brings more than 15 years of nonprofit experience to the organization. From her work with large scale nonprofits like United Way and American Red Cross, to regional organizations like Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy and the College of Charleston, her commitment to the greater good is ubiquitous. Also committed to life-long learning, Barbie earned her Masters of Public Administration for Nonprofit Management from the College of Charleston and now teaches as an adjunct professor in the program. Prior to that, she received her bachelors degree in Public Relations from Ferris State University. She serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is a loud & proud advocate for West Ashley.
Director of Marketing and Communications; She/Her
Jordan came to be the lead story-wrangler and cheerleader for the organization in 2015 after 7 years in the full-service marketing agency world. When not touting the local scene, you may find her enjoying time with her daughter, riding her bike, digging in the dirt, or listening to her husband perform spoken word. Jordan has previously served on the board of directors for Charleston Moves and the Charleston American Marketing Association and chaired the 2013 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Good Enterprises Program Director
Raquel is a graduate of SC State University, with more than 20 years of experience in marketing, PR and business consulting. She has worked with large entities such as Charleston County Government, Charleston County Parks & Recreation, the USC and MUSC cementing her skills in fundraising, marketing, budgeting, and event management. In her role as Good Enterprises Program Director, Raquel combines her love for community with her extensive experience in business development to help existing and future entrepreneurs achieve economic sustainability through business ownership. As the owner of a business consulting firm, The Peacock Company, Raquel knows first-hand the amount of perseverance and grit it takes to run a successful business. She is a passionate advocate for the minority business community.
Program Coordinator; She/Her
C.T. is a firecracker visionary with a people-loving personality that lights up any room. She focused on hospitality and event management while studying at the College of Charleston, and was the recipient of the School of Business’ Outstanding Student of the Year Excel Award in 2011.
She has found great success in the event planning and management world in Charleston, through events like the Jewish Community Center’s KidsFair and the City of Charleston’s First Day Fest. C.T. also served as Market Manager for the Charleston Black Expo and as an event organizer for the 2017 Taste of Black Charleston Chef event that exceeded 1,300 attendees.
C.T. continues to connect local businesses here at Lowcountry Local First. As a small business owner, she understands the importance of relationships and having access to resources in this community.
Community Partnership Manager
Steve's personal and professional adventures have brought him to destinations as far-flung as Florence, Italy and to places a little closer to home like Florence, South Carolina. A New Jerseyan by birth, Steve received his BA at the College of William and Mary. He's worked in the private sector as a PR account executive and content strategist, but he's also been a brewery tour guide, a door-to-door fundraiser, a bartender, and a traveling musician. In 2019, Steve graduated from the College of Charleston's Master of Public Administration Program, where he cultivated a deep appreciation for the power and purpose of social entrepreneurship and nonprofit management. When he's not thinking about ways to better steward and support local businesses, you'll find Steve and his wife McKayla walking their dog, Dell, or grabbing some sushi from Aji, one of their favorite James Island eateries.
Brand Manager; She/Her
Never one to shy away from bright colors or bold patterns, Maud is the creative crusader at Lowcountry Local First where she brings visual awareness to the local movement in Charleston. Some might call her attention to detail and design fanatical —we call it brilliant. Maud has been conquering the design world since 2013 when she launched her own freelance graphic design business after earning a degree in Art History from the University of Virginia and mastering a multitude of various design courses.
Kaylee brings her love of numbers and organization to Lowcountry Local First with a background in nonprofit and small business bookkeeping. When not working hard to further the Local cause, she is completing her bachelors degree in accounting and finding time to enjoy Charleston’s beaches and booming food scene. Her life motto? “If you aren’t happy with your life, change things until you are. If you can’t change something, change your attitude about it.” Kaylee is the Joint Base Charleston nominee for the 2018 Air Force Association Joan Orr Air Force Spouse of the Year Award, recognizing her extensive work as a Key Spouse during two major emergency evacuations, her insistence upon helping to care for the squadron's fur children, and the work that she does for the entire community.
Board of Directors
Grassroots Wine Wholesalers
South State Bank
Charleston County Parks
Ruth's House Event Rentals
South Carolina Federal Credit Union
Employment and Internship Opportunities
We’re almost always on the lookout for volunteers who can help with event coordination, office work (filing, mailing, phone calls, etc.), business coaching or entrepreneurship support. If you have the time, talents and passion, we’d love to hear from you. Fill out this form to let us know your availability and interest and we’ll reach out to you with any upcoming volunteer opportunities.
PO Box 72018
North Charleston, SC 29415