Support the Port is an innovative force for good in the Wilmington, North Carolina community that has blossomed from a scholarship fund to a full-fledged nonprofit organization. Founded by Cedric Harrison, the organization began in October 2015. Harrison describes the mission of his organization as “creating ownership, excellence, and decreasing violence in the community of Wilmington through arts, philanthropy, and STEM”
Prior to Support the Port, Harrison has always had a passion for serving the community.
He states, “I’ve always been into giving back since my brother died. I started off by doing a scholarship fund and it eventually evolved and turned into a whole nonprofit organization.”
Harrison, a mass communications major and recreation management minor, began his marketing career with positions in Atlanta and Washington, DC. His job on the job experience with branding and marketing and his personal experience as a member of the community in those cities are part of what led him to create Support the Port.
Regarding his time in those two cities, Harrison says, “It was there I was able to learn how to help brands engage with consumers by marketing. I learned a lot about how the black community in Atlanta and DC that were out of poverty conducted themselves. It was a space that was missing in the Wilmington area, so I wanted to get a nonprofit that helped some of our people out of poverty into a level of income where they’re able to enjoy life as I’ve seen our people do the same in DC and Atlanta.”
Among other efforts to improve the Wilmington community, Support the Port has hosted a mattress, drive, a back-to-school book drive, and multiple food drives. Support the Port has also formed a welcoming committee of successful adult role models who great area students and encourage them to work hard in school.
Harrison mentioned that the most successful and most fulfilling initiative of Support the Port to date has been a Stop the Violence Start the Peace rally held during the Azalea Festival, one of the biggest annual festivals in the southeastern Carolinas. According to Harrison, the rally featured “over 500 kids and about 250 people and gave away 100 tie-dye shirts and had face painting and live performances.”
In conjunction with the rally, Support the Port conducted a campaign called Stop the Violence One Sign at a Time. Harrison explains, “With that first initiative, we got so much spotlight that we were able to get a phone call from the mayor, have a sit down with the DA and the county commissioner and a few other influential community leaders. We posted them [Stop signs that said Stop the Violence] around the neighborhoods and at memorials where people have died due to gun violence.”
The works of Support the Port has attracted the attention and support of many local celebrities.
A coloring book and a Photoshoot Phresh Pop-Up shop event are among the future plans of this nonprofit organization.
Support the Port is truly working to make a difference in Wilmington and by the looks of it there is no stopping this organization.