Mount Pleasant nonprofit East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) received a $1 million endowment, its largest donation since its founding in 1989. 

Nonprofit Adele A. & Harold J. Westbrook Foundation gifted the funds to support ECCO’s “Beyond Our Walls” campaign, which will renovate its Six Mile Road facility, purchase a mobile office to serve rural communities and secure a fleet of vehicles to provide transportation to those in need. The Westbrook family has supported and volunteered with ECCO since its founding. 

ECCO serves men and women who are struggling from a variety of hardships such as disability, unemployment,  poverty, domestic violence, illness and homelessness. The nonprofit provides service to low-income populations who live or work east of the Cooper River in a specific region. To learn which zip codes can receive support from ECCO, visit eccocharleston.org

The Westbrook Foundation made the donation on behalf of Mount Pleasant native Katherine Adele Westbrook, who died of an accidental fall at 28 years old last March. Katherine organized food drives for ECCO’s pantry and volunteered for its various programs.

“We needed to make sure all the promise and good that Katherine would have done in the world still happened,” said Katherine’s mother Liesl Westbrook. “Katherine cared deeply for people and had a servant’s heart. When we thought about how we might both honor her life and draw purpose from it, ECCO made sense.”

ECCO will use portions of the $1 million gift to rename its Clothing Closet facility “Kat’s Closet” in Katherine Westbrook’s honor and to rename its Wellness Pantry “Monsignor James A. Carter Wellness Pantry” in honor of ECCO’s founder. ECCO will also relocate the Clothing Closet to Six Mile Road from its current location on Bowman Road as part of its effort to consolidate its core services under one roof. 

“Thirty-three years ago, with the onslaught of Hurricane Hugo, I had a vision of how we might respond to some of the needs in our Mount Pleasant community,” said ECCO founder Monsignor James Carter. “Out of this was conceived the idea of ECCO. The community has grown, and needs have increased — [which renews the] vision and the need for a major fundraising effort to meet the needs of the community.”

The landmark $1 million donation pushed the campaign past the $4.5 million mark and elevated the funding goal from $4 million to $5 million. ECCO launched its Beyond Our Walls project last fall and, to date, the effort has received more than $4.75 million. 

ECCO director Stephanie Kelley said ECCO hopes to raise its campaign’s remaining $250,000 before the end of the summer to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of Hurricane Hugo’s landfall in Charleston.

To learn more about the Beyond Our Walls campaign contact Don Squires at (843) 416-7123 or visit eccocharleston.org/beyondourwalls.


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