Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Making connections makes magic happen

Making connections leads to making magic. I sometimes tell folks a big part of my job as Regional Director for Coastal Community Foundation is like the match making character in Fiddler on the Roof. I got an email from Ilze Astad, Director of Development and Programs at the Lowcounty Food Bank. The kitchen they were using in this area to do meals for Kid's Cafe was closing for major renovations.

She asked if I knew of any commercial style kitchens they might be able to use to continue their services. I had just completed site visits for the Beaufort Fund Grant program and a group I visited popped up in my mind immediately. Alan Moses and I visited Agape Family Life Center and left impressed with the staff, Dr. Deloris Young and Ms. Sandra Baldwin, and with their amazing facility in the Hardeeville community of Levy. Alan and I had talked about the commercial style kitchen and Deloris and Sandra had talked about wanting to partner with other organizations to extend their services. I quickly emailed Ilze the contact information and she did the follow up. I received another email from her telling me that by working together with Agape Family Life Center the LCFB was able to upgrade the afterschool snack program at Agape to a Kid's Cafe, a program that, in addition to academic tutoring and enrichment activities is also providing hot nutritious meals. A part time Kid's Cafe Chef will be preparing meals on site starting April6. The next steps? Ilze, Deb Loesel and I are meeting to discuss the Lowcountry Food Bank's vision for childhood hunger programs in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. The magic will continue.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Now is the time to support open grants!

Hundreds of nonprofits have benefited from our open grants program, which provides up to $10,000 annually to nonprofit organizations that enhance the arts, education, environment, health, human needs or community development. However, many grants have been smaller than $10,000, while still having a big impact.

Each year Coastal Community Foundation receives more requests through the Open Grants Competitive Program than there are funds available and therefore cannot support many worthy nonprofit organizations. This year, we are participating in “March Goodness”, a contest hosted by Razoo, our online donation processor. We are competing with 15 other worthy nonprofits in the southeast region to win additional funds that will go directly to support open grants. And we are the ONLY nonprofit represented in South Carolina!

So, how can you help? Give $10. We know many of you contribute to this program anyway, so now is a perfect time to make your donation! The initial prize is based on the number of unique donors who give a minimum of a $10 gift. Prizes are also available based on total dollars raised. To make a contribution, visit our March Goodness page and share it with your friends and family. There are many ways to come up with $10 to give. For example, instead of chipping in with your co-workers for doughnuts on Friday, throw the few dollars together for one group donation. Or, skip your grande-fat-laden-caloric coffee a couple times this week and you’ll have $10 in no time. If you have another creative idea for giving, please leave your comments on the donor wall once you make a donation.

Still not sure? Read what some of our past recipients have to say about Open Grants: “Coastal Community Foundation's Open Grants help make it possible for THE ARK to reach out to families coping with Alzheimer's Disease.” “The Open Grants funding we received will help fund our new Transitional Living Center for Homeless Families (TLC).” “To be the recipient of an Opens Grants award has launched the Summerville Community Orchestra to a new level of service.”

So, will you help us compete in March Goodness? To give, visit our page before March 30th. You can also track our progress online. We appreciate your support!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Let your town be the next one

Reading at an early age lays a framework for imagination and inspiration, creativity and comprehension. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is helping kids from ages one to five do just that by providing free books on a monthly basis because after all, it’s hard to engender a love of reading without having something to read.

Every month, for five years, children receive an age appropriate book in the mail. The content of the books the children receive changes with every year they get older. The Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation has given to the program for Georgetown County tots, and there are small programs of it in other areas of the Lowcountry. In Charleston County, volunteers are aiming to start it in focus areas of Hollywood, Adams Run, and Meggett. Help support the youth of tomorrow.