Prominent S.C. black church may partner with Tom Steyer charity after primary

Tom Steyer
African American clergy, activists, and community leaders who pray over Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer and his campaign in Des Moines, Iowa. |

A large predominantly African American church in South Carolina said it might receive financial assistance for a renovation from a charity overseen by Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer.

Pastor Charles B. Jackson Sr. of Brookland Baptist Church in Columbia mentioned during worship on Sunday that he had applied for a grant from the TomKat Foundation.

If approved, the grant would help with renovations at Lakeview Empowerment Center, where Brookland holds after-school programs, according to The Associated Press.

Kat Taylor, wife of Steyer, explained that any consideration by the foundation to invest in the facility would have to happen after the Democratic South Carolina primary.

“It is the kind of work that Tom and I have historically funded in communities,” she told the AP. “The TomKat Foundation would be happy to consider a proposal after the primary.”

“Our singular focus is on winning the nomination and positioning Tom to be the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump. … We also don’t want to do anything inappropriate, and neither would Pastor Jackson or Brookland Baptist Church want us to do that.”

Last month, Brookland Baptist Church hosted the annual Columbia Urban League Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keeping the Legacy Alive Breakfast, in which Democratic presidential candidates Steyer, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Gov. Deval Patrick, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts were in attendance.

A wealthy businessman and outspoken environmentalist, Steyer was raised by an Episcopalian mother and a Jewish father, becoming a Christian while in his 30s.

“I think about my religion as giving me the values and the framework for thinking about everything including government,” he explained in an interview with Paula Faris on her podcast “Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris.”

“I think everybody should be coming to questions of government with values in mind in trying to do the right thing. I say, look, if you come that way, if you tell the truth and put the American people first in trying to do the right thing, if we disagree on everything, I’m fine with it … that’s called democracy.”

The first statewide contest to take place in the South, the South Carolina Democratic Primary is scheduled to take place on Feb. 29, after the Nevada Primary. 

According to an average of polls by RealClearPolitics that was accessed Monday, Biden leads in the state with 26.5 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 20 percent, Steyer with 16 percent, Warren with 9 percent, and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 7.5 percent.

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