Neighbors Helping Neighbors

aka ECCO   |   Mount Pleasant, SC   |


ECCO provides assistance, guidance, and resources to help our neighbors navigate through life's challenges. All programs and services strive to help clients find a path toward opportunity. ECCO’s ministry of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” attempts to improve the quality of life in our community in a compassionate way that respects the dignity and worth of every person.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mrs. Stephanie M. Kelley

Main address

1145 Six Mile Rd

Mount Pleasant, SC 29466 USA

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NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Ambulatory Health Center, Community Clinic (E32)

Food Banks, Food Pantries (K31)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

South Carolina is reported to have the 8th highest poverty rate in the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services defines poverty as a function of income, ranging from $11,880 for one person and $24,300 for a family of four persons. Health and hunger are two significant barriers that individuals and families experiencing poverty in our community face.

Food insecurity rates are 16-24% for ECCO's service area and 20-25% adults ages 18-64 do not have health insurance. People experiencing food insecurity have to make difficult choices and access to produce can improve a variety of health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, dental wellness, and overall nutrition.

Also, client data from 2017 shows only 11% of ECCO clients hold a college degree or higher, 13% have an associate's degree, 35% earned their HS diploma or GED, 19% have less than a High School diploma or GED, 57% are either unemployed or only have a part-time job, and just 14% are employed full-time.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

East Cooper Community Outreach was founded in 1989 by Monsignor James A. Carter, Pastor of Christ Our King Catholic Church, in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Hugo. The destruction caused by this major storm exposed needs that many leaders in the community had not previously identified - poverty, substandard housing, lack of access to health and dental care, hunger, and the threat of homelessness challenged a growing community. This challenge was answered by the creation of ECCO to offer a permanent resource to provide hope and help to those in need.

ECCO serves the community through three main service areas: Assistance, Guidance, and Resources. Thousands of individuals each year receive assistance for food, clothing, household furnishings, financial aid, dental care, medical care, prescription assistance, and counseling, along with access to community resources for financial literacy classes, computer skills training, job readiness workshops, and asset development.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Unemployed people
People with disabilities

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, ECCO was formed as an emergency relief effort and has since grown into a permanent resource for families in financial distress, the elderly and disabled, the unemployed and underemployed – including those in situational poverty and generational poverty. One of ECCO's overall goals is to provide low-income families with holistic, wraparound services and support to help clients address the underlying causes that have contributed to their situations.

Over the last few decades the organization has expanded its programs to adapt to the changing economic environment, especially in the areas of health and education. ECCO has introduced new programs and enhanced existing services since its inception, including the Dental Clinic, Getting Ahead for single mothers in 2008, a Job Readiness program in 2013, and the Partners in HealthCare medical clinic in 2014. ECCO now reaches thousands of low-income households annually and continues to treat all clients with dignity and respect.

As part of the organization's holistic service model, ECCO offers support in three main program areas (Basic Needs, Health, and Empowerment) to address a variety of needs that low-income households experience. The organization maintains a client-centered focus and strives to empower individuals to achieve their greatest potential, an improved quality of life, and ultimately reach economic stability. ECCO programs and services have been designed to help clients address their individual barriers, while filling the unmet needs of our community.

In 2016, ECCO launched a new Fresh and Free Client Choice Farmers Market as part of the organization's increased efforts to bring healthier food options to low-income households across the Lowcountry. Due to the popularity of this new initiative, the series expanded from quarterly to monthly, and we recently enhanced these events to incorporate health education, oral health screenings, and hypertension and diabetes screenings for new clients, with the goal to identify uninsured patients in need of a primary care provider. In September 2017, ECCO transitioned its Client Choice Food Warehouse into a Client Choice Wellness Pantry to provide increased amounts of food for families, and to offer healthier and more well-rounded options. This shift is influenced by the "" model that guides meal consumption towards a healthy lifestyle, focusing on variety, amount, and nutrition, and encouraging the community to choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. The Wellness Pantry provides a large assortment of non-perishable and perishable food items for our clients with an emphasis on low-fat, low-sodium, and low-sugar options. A variety of produce and meat products are also readily available.

Health Services, ECCO's second program area, helps uninsured and underinsured clients by providing emergency prescription medication assistance and education, healthy eating and wellness classes, counseling, preventive and restorative dental care, emergency extractions, and ongoing health maintenance and medical care. Partners in HealthCare (PiH) was established to address the health needs of ECCO's uninsured clients after staff identified that a significant number of individuals were not receiving basic preventive services and those with chronic disease were using hospital emergency departments as their only source of medical care. PiH is an innovative and cost-effective program that utilizes the expertise of nurse practitioners from MUSC's College of Nursing to provide the continuity of care and personal instruction that remains critical for under-served populations, especially those suffering from chronic diseases or other serious medical conditions.

ECCO has grown from an emergency relief effort to a permanent resource for low-income families. Over the last twenty-eight years, the organization had adapted its programs based on the changing economic environment and community needs. ECCO now offers the wrap-around services and education necessary for families to rise out of poverty. ECCO is able to provide clients with holistic and individualized support, ongoing case management, and the education and resources needed for long-term change. ECCO leverages additional resources from the community in order to spend close to 91% of the budget on direct client services. Thanks to more than 250 generous individuals, the monetary impact of 19,890 volunteer hours and donated professional services equates to more than $706,350 in fiscal year 2016-2017.

A strong partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) allows ECCO to provide clients with high-quality dental and medical services. ECCO works with the College of Nursing to provide primary care and ongoing patient treatments at our facility. Their College of Pharmacy also supports ECCO's free medical clinic through medication consultations. Our work with MUSC's College of Dental Medicine now allows for more complex dental procedures to be performed for clients at the ECCO Dental Clinic as well.

Recent community impact highlights include:
*Case managers completed 750 client assessments, 272 of which were new to ECCO
*315,875 pounds of food were distributed to our food insecure neighbors, a retail value of $442,269.
*Provided $70,017 to help 173 households with emergency financial assistance covering utilities, rent and mortgage payments.
*Performed 5,157 dental procedures - a value of $804,971 - at no cost to the client.
*Saved our clients more than $161,958 by filling 338 emergency medications and assisting with long-term prescription enrollment programs.
*628 patient appointments were scheduled through Partners in HealthCare for free medical care and health coaching, keeping uninsured adults out of the Emergency Room.
*500 families received Thanksgiving dinner, complete with a turkey and all the sides.
*340 children received presents for Christmas through our Adopt a Family Program.
*137 clients engaged in our Empowerment programs, including 38 active participants in ECCO's Individual Development Account (IDA) matched-savings program.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 09/13/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Michael Burson

MD Burson Consulting, LLC

Term: 2022 - 2024

Timothy A Grow

Elliott Davis

Andrew Davis

Stavis Enterprises

Rev. James A. Carter

P.A. Pastor

Elmire Raven

Get It Right with Raven, LLC

Dawn Baker

Interim Healthcare

Michael D. Burson

MD Burson Consulting, LLC

M. Dawes Cooke

Barnwell, Whaley, Patterson and Helms

Michael Drohan

FineMark National Bank & Trust

Lisa M. Glavin

Mt. Pleasant Psychiatry & My Sisters House

Dr. John Maize Jr.

Trident Dematology & MUSC

G. Richard Query

Retired, Krispy Kreme, Inc.

Furman K. Stanley

Palmetto Management Advisors, LLC

Catherine Stuhr

J. Henry Stuhr, Inc.

JC Darby

The Beach Company

Tom Fitzgerald

Southern Crown Partners

Cynthia L Hollar

Carolina One Real Estate

Rev. Dr. Arthur Holmes

Pastor & Educator

Marcus Moore

Nucor Steel

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/13/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/13/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.