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Home Going Gardens Inc. (HGG) was recently awarded its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt designation from the Internal Revenue Service. This designation was a dream come true for its founder, Anitra Cobb.
Because of its exempt status, HGG can qualify for various grants and gifts given by government, corporate, foundation and private sources. Monetary gifts and non-financial resources will help HGG carry out its mission by helping individuals written off by society because of a felony record. All contributions made to HGG are tax-deductible to the benefactor.
Cobb, formerly of Baltimore, Md., and Leland resident since 1998, will serve as the president and executive director of HGG. For nearly two years, she housed the vision of starting and operating a 501(c)(3) public charity organization.
In 2011, she met David Pickett of Shallotte, who agreed to prepare the required paperwork, documents and budgets needed for HGG to obtain IRS tax-exempt status. Pickett orchestrated the entire determination process from the state and federal level to approval.
With corporate offices and a job training facility at 1409 Ocean Hwy. W. in Shallotte, HGG will create jobs for people with felony records, probation issues and child support mandates.
Cobb, who is 38 and a mother of two daughters, understands the impact a felony record can have on an individual. At 20, she lost a good job because of a felony, although the charge was ex-sponged. A close friend of hers was incarnated at 18 and released from prison at 36. This person only had a GED, no job history, could not get a job bagging groceries, and had no way to pay court-mandated probationary fees.
“Some folks who can’t take care of their financial obligations resort to selling drugs, stealing, and prostitution,” Cobb said.
After hearing an inspiring speech by President Barack Obama, Cobb decided she wanted to make a difference in the life of a felon. At the same time, she could help herself and more importantly help improve her community and society at large through economic development and crime reduction.
By hiring people who most employers would not employ, she grooms a person into a productive citizen, and then pays him or her an income that will allow the former convict to take care of their family.
Furthermore, her vision will create additional tax revenue to state and local governments.
With the assistance of her partner and husband Malon, general manager of The Ultimate Vault Company, people with felony records will be given jobs and job training skills in vault manufacturing, grave restoration and interment services. With nearly two decades of experience in these areas, Malon has developed and will oversee the job- training program.
To find out more about Home Going Gardens Inc. job creation and training program, or to make a tax-deductible donation, contact Anitra Cobb at 755-6001 or email HGGardens@atmc.net.