Inspirational, Innovative TED Talks Spread to Charleston – Charleston Post & Courier

By Brendan Kearney – May 16, 2013

Since he was speaking on a Lowcountry peninsula Wednesday, the Rev. Bill Stanfield couched his community development argument in terms of rivers.

In the upper-income Greensboro, N.C., neighborhood where he grew up, Stanfield explained, most of the capital coursing through was controlled by the citizenry and flowed to “strengths,” such as high-achieving students or institutions.

In poorer areas, however, such as the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood where he now lives and works, most of the money comes from the government and “agencies,” Stanfield said as images and graphics flashed on a screen behind him, and it tends to go to “problems.”

And so a perverse incentive system arises wherein problematic behavior — addiction, violence, etc. — is somehow rewarded, bloating well-intentioned nonprofits and dependency with them, and the “strengths” aren’t supported like they should be.

“What those bright spots need is not charity but investment,” Stanfield told a rapt audience of more than 100 people packed into PURE Theatre on King Street. It was a compelling set-up for a call to action.

“Let’s get to work,” he concluded, prompting quick and enthusiastic applause.

Stanfield, CEO of Metanoia Community Development Corp., was one of 14 speakers at the inaugural TEDxCharleston, a local iteration of the popular Technology, Entertainment and Design conferences that began almost three decades ago.

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