Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting Things Done

Two things keep Carl Harmon up at night - elderly people in horrible living conditions and children who go to school hungry and without the supplies they need to learn. So, thirteen years ago, Carl started Caring and Sharing in a 10 x 14 room behind his house in Hemingway, South Carolina. That year, he helped provide 13 families within a 10 mile radius with food.

Today, Caring and Sharing provides food weekly to over 100 families who would otherwise have to do without. Caring and Sharing also helps disabled and senior citizens who are on a low, fixed-income with paying their utility bills, purchasing medicine, and filling in the gaps at the end of the month. Monthly, the organization touches 2,500 citizens' lives in Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties, two of the poorest counties in South Carolina. The non-profit also depends on an average of 20 volunteers to make up its workforce, people without which the work of providing for those in need could not be done. This year, Caring and Sharing hopes to pay out $44,000 for food, utilities, and medicine with more being donated.

Carl believes in partnerships. He works with the Lowcountry Food Bank who delivers food once a month, as well as Food Lion and Pepsi for donations. The group is working with the Georgetown County Diabetes Core Group to educate its clients on the proper foods to eat to help maintain or improve their diabetes. Carl is also working with teachers at Pleasant Hill, Andrews, and Hemingway Elementary schools to gather supplies that school district budgets can no longer pay for. Teachers are asking for things as simple as crayons, notebooks, pencils, and paper. Things I took for granted when I was a kid, children are having to do without because neither their schools nor their parents can afford to supply them.

The downturn in the economy has been hard on the organization because its two main fundraisers have been down about half. But Carl is optimistic and has faith. He believes as long as Caring and Sharing continues to help the people of Georgetown and Williamsburg, he will be able to find a way to keep the pantry stocked for those who need it most.

"Want something done? Ask a busy person to do it!" That's what Carl says, and that is an apt description of Carl Harmon, a busy person who gets things done.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coastal Community Foundation Center Building Progress 6/22/2010

Cox-Schepp Project Manager Bill Woodward met us at the site of the Coastal Community Foundation Center to share what's been happening. The helical piles were completed and the construction team is preparing the ground for phase one of the foundation pour. Concrete will be poured onto the pile caps securing the helicals, which act as a security measure for our building during a high-wind hurricane. Additionally, the existing sewer lines are being diverted to make room for the extended storm sewer that will be installed below ground. Stay tuned for next week's pouring of the foundation. It's all happening.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Knot In The Network

So let me understand. You hate office parties. You don't like making small talk. You don't like face-to-face meetings with strangers. Yet you are complaining that all the good (select from the following list: deals, mates, ideas, customers, all of the above, or other) are already taken. Not only are you not well-networked, you do not like the idea of networking at all. You are not in a network. Being a knot in the network (or more formally, a "node") would remedy your complaint. So, what should you do?

Coastal Community Foundation strives to be the pre-eminent hub of philanthropic activity in our region and we have worked hard to be well-connected. It has taken years of work but looking back I can now see what we did to get connected. Success for us has always been connecting a donor to a nonprofit. The first step in being tied into a network is linking together others. We can tell this simple matchmaking step has worked for us because people we do not even know come to us saying that someone else we do not know told them to contact us. That's linkage.

You can also become a valuable connector in a network by providing thoughtful advice. Take the time to listen, really listen when someone is asking for advice. Be generous with your time when someone is looking for a job or seeking more information. This seems a bit like "just do good work" kind of advice, but for networking this is really effective. By doing someone a favor, something that is easy for you but hard for them, you generate life-long gratitude disproportionate to the size of the favor done. It is amazing how favors done months or years ago lead to new contacts today. You can tell if you are doing this or have done this in the past if people tell you stories about how something you said or did motivated, inspired, gave confidence, etc. to them. If you hear those stories today you know that in the past you were doing your networking right.

And finally, if people come to you to share confidential information in advance of the gossip, then you will know that you have arrived. Remarkably, you get there by not gossiping...that is, by not breaking the confidence of those who trust you to stay silent.

So, you can tell if you are a knot or a node if people share secrets, tell you stories about yourself, or connect people to you on their own. But what if none of those things are happening? What if you really are starting from scratch? That is easy. Volunteer to work on committees. Volunteer to help make introductions. Volunteer to help...and then make sure to deliver.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Give a little, get a little

Back on Track Charleston is a way for local residents to exchange services. This time bank service is intended to reduce financial burden and strengthen connections in the community. It's all about paying it forward.

To use a time bank, you spend an hour doing something for another person, and in exchange you receive a time dollar. You can then turn around and spend that dollar having someone do something for you. There's no money involved in this exchange of services.

Once you become a member, log into the site to view services offered or to make a request for yourself. The topics are grouped into categories, including community activities, education, and wellness.

Back on Track Charleston also plans to expand their service by opening a resource center for assistance with writing resumes and learning interviewing techniques. Visit their website to stay posted on their plan for a resource center and to set up a free account for the time bank.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Coastal Community Foundation Center- Building Progress

We stopped by 635 Rutledge to see the progress of the new building. Cox-Schepp Construction is the general contractor on site. They are currently drilling helical piles 35 to 75 feet underground, 35 of them, to withstand high winds in hurricane-like weather conditions.
Hopefully we won't need them but we're glad we have them.
We will be on-site later this week when the foundation perimeter is laid.
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Play Money Brings in Thousands

Coastal Community Foundation collected more than $13,000 for its unrestricted competitive funding programs at the Annual Celebration on May 8th, 2010. The distribution of the money to certain fields-of-interest was decided when donors played a game that included pictures of the Foundation's President's on the face of monopoly-type 5, 10, and 15 dollar bills. Those who participated in the fun chose their field-of-interest and placed the fake money with his or her field of choice to bid for which would receive the most.

Each person in attendance was given the same number of bills. The money represented the Foundation's gift to the donors, but donors could opt to contribute more and many did. After all of the donors spent his or her "money" and placed it into the "community chest" of his or her choice, the money was divided by field-of-interest and tallied up. Each field-of-interest will receive an amount proportionate to what was in their respective chest. Education received the most votes.

The purpose of the game was to promote the unrestricted funds or as some call them, "open-grants". Last year the Foundation awarded $275,000 through the Open Grants Competitive Program (Berkeley, Charleston Dorchester Counties) and $500,000 through The Beaufort Fund (Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties). Unrestricted funds can be distributed to any of the Foundation's six fields-of-interest (Arts, Environment, Education, Human Needs, Neighborhoods, and Health).

Nonprofits can still submit applications that will then be reviewed by committees comprised of individuals from the surrounding community. This process is what we call community-based grant-making where individuals who represent the community contribute to the grant-making process using their knowledge and experience. This is done to ensure the grants are distributed to those who need it most by those who know the surrounding community.

Although the deadline for the Open Grants program has passed (June 1st), we are still accepting applications for the Beaufort Fund and that deadline is Aug. 20th, 2010. To learn more about submitting an application please visit our Website and click on the GRANTS tab in the NONPROFITS dropdown box.

Overall, we commend those who pledged above and beyond what was expected and at the same time extend a hand of thanks. All of you exemplify how we as a community not only give but also lead.