Friends With Benefits Fund, the production and promotion company that brought The Major Rager to downtown Augusta during Masters Week, has donated $10,000 to the Turn Back The Block initiative in the Harrisburg neighborhood.
“We really want to have a direct impact on the community,” said George Claussen, founder of Friends With Benefits Fund. “We give to a lot of local charities, but with Turn Back The Block, they are building a house here and working hard to revitalize this community. It is amazing because we actually get to physically see change happening.”
Turn Back The Block is a faith-based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to revitalize the Harrisburg neighborhood through the rehabilitation of existing housing and the promotion of home ownership by local residents.
Recent statistics show that 14 percent of Harrisburg homes are vacant or abandoned, and that less than 25 percent of the homes are owner-occupied.
Turn Back The Block is trying to return the Harrisburg community back to the thriving neighborhood it used to be decades ago, said Clay Boardman, the organization’s treasurer and site selection committee chairman.
“What’s been so lovely about this situation is the neighbors have seen the activity with the building materials and trucks and they are excited about the change,” Boardman said. “The whole key is that we develop the pride in the neighborhood and, hopefully, it will spill over to block after block.”
Change will not happen overnight, Boardman said, but the organization is gaining more attention and volunteers each and every day as the community realizes this group is committed to making a difference.
“It’s a long, slow slog,” Boardman said, chuckling. “It will take 25 to 50 years, but it’s going to happen.”
For more information about Turn Back The Block, visit www.turnbacktheblock.com