Our History

The Walker Foundation

The Walker Foundation was established in 1979 as a private, non-profit fundraising arm for The South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB). Its original name was “The Foundation for the Multi-handicapped, Blind and Deaf of South Carolina, Inc.” The Foundation strives to support SCSDB in every way possible to ensure that its students achieve maximum success through high-quality educational programs, outreach services and partnerships.

The Walker Foundation’s tradition of giving to the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind has continued over 30 years, and we uphold the generosity of its founders, Reverend Newton Pinckney Walker and Martha L. Hughston Walker. We receive community support and charitable contributions from gracious donors who share our mission and the State’s mission to support the school and its students; we were proud to celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2009, and we look forward to many more years to come.

 

The South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind

Reverend Newton Pinckney Walker and wife Martha Hughston Walker established Cedar Springs Asylum in 1849 near Cedar Springs in Spartanburg.

The State of South Carolina purchased Cedar Springs Asylum along with 157 acres for $10,579 and renamed it the South Carolina Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind.

The school began to see tremendous growth and community support during the 1900s. In 1944 it initiated a teacher education program for the deaf at Converse College, and it began to mainstream some students at Spartanburg High School.

Throughout the next several decades, The South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB) incorporated a variety of programs into their institution. An aphasiac program was developed in 1961 to serve students with multiple handicaps or brain injuries, which gave way to the opening of the School for the Multihandicapped, now known as Cedar Springs Academy, in 1977. Around this time it also began weekend bussing which allowed students to travel home more frequently.  In 1978 the federal government required public schools of the nation to “assume responsibility of educating all handicapped students,” and many SCSDB students moved to their home school districts for schooling.  The late 1980s presented the establishment of the school’s Postsecondary Program and its first permanent Outreach Center in Charleston, SC.

The South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind celebrated the 160th anniversary of its founding in 2009.