Friday, December 14, 2012

Gifts that Keep Giving

Indicated by an emptied third of cheddar, butter, or caramel, everyone has their favorite flavor of holiday popcorn.  You know what I am talking about—those addictive tins of sweet and salty goodness that disappear all too quickly.  If only there was a way to make this gift keep giving.
Similar in their finite nature, grants provide a surge of funding for non-profits.  If only there was a way to make this gift keep giving.  Home Community Fund, established by Home Telecom, has made this wish a reality.  Through selecting programs that are not only focused on the current needs of Berkeley County, but that also invest in the future of the community,  Home Community Fund provides a permanent charitable resource for local non-profits.

This year, several non-profits accepted grants for future-minded projects, transforming the provided funding into gifts with lasting results.  Coastal Carolina Council, Boy Scouts of America, for example, requested “$3000.00 to purchase a universal canoe kayak trailer. The trailer will be used to transport the vessels from BSA Camp Moultrie and will enable Boy Scouts to reach greater distances to camp, kayak and care for the environment”.  Michelle Strobel, Development Director at the council, reflects on the scouts’ participation in the 2012 Beach River Sweep claiming that, “close to 400 Boy Scouts traveled from Camp Moultrie via kayak, canoe, small boats and vehicles to clean Berkeley County’s boat landings, Canal Park, two miles of dikes and two islands. Over 4.15 tons of trash was collected!”

Similar in their long-term investment, Habitat for Humanity of Berkeley County received funding that has, according to Executive Director, Bryant Knepp, “significantly assisted us at Habitat for Humanity of Berkeley County in being better stewards of our donors’ time and dollars.  This award is being used to upgrade our computer and telephone systems which will enable our staff and volunteers to more effectively utilize their time and energy in fulfilling our mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities, and hope”.

Through their thoughtful distribution of grants throughout Berkeley County, Home Telecom has provided gifts that will continue to give even after the holiday season ends.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall at the Farmers' Market

When you ride through the town of Hampton County, it is hard to miss the Hampton County Farmers’ Market.  Three years ago, it was just a vacant field where farmers could drive in and set up tables.  Now, there’s great signage, a paved parking path, covered seating areas (modest, but serviceable), a building that serves as a farming museum, running water, electricity for the fans and lights, Port-a-Lets, and more.  One vendor builds outdoor furniture and through a contract with the market, created permanent tables for displaying the food.  Another partnership with the local agriculture organization allowed for an attractive small display building to be added to the property.  A construction class from the high school has also built a deck around the farming museum building, providing more seating for various forms of entertainment.  It’s turning into the “community gathering place” that they want it to be. 

The board continues to make improvements, thanks in part to past funding from the Winthrop Family Fund.  Additional funding is provided through local financial supporters, including Ag South and Farm Bureau, and by the $5 per market day fee that is required of all vendors.  The plan is for the market to be open for 5 months as they found there was little interest from vendors or customers to continue past the end of October.  The board has tracked average daily customers, marking an increase from 62 in 2009 to 99 in 2012. With modest funding, the well-run Hampton County Farmers’ Market has made a remarkable impact, growing from the seeds of a vacant lot into a vibrant community centerpiece.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - message from local Red Cross

From: Welch, Louise
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 5:46 PM
Subject: American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is very busy assisting thousands affected by Hurricane Sandy. I was deployed to PA on Sunday and currently on my way to work in DC. Is there any chance we could share our statistics with your donors?

• Almost 11,000 people spent Monday night in more than 250 Red Cross shelters across 16 states.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back to School

            Swish. That is the inevitable and unavoidable sound that shopping carts make as swarms of fast-moving parents and students move throughout the “back-to-school” aisles in attempts to check off an item on their extensive to-do list.  This list facilitates a mixture of emotion and a sense of burdensome urgency laced with feelings of anticipation provided by the new and unknown world called college.  Through the reduction of financial barriers, Coastal Community Foundation’s General Scholarships allow for students to be focused on the excitement of pursuing a college career rather than the heavy weight of their education’s expenses.  Granting $226,400 in scholarships this year, Coastal Community Foundation has assisted 120 deserving students in bringing their aspirations for a college education to fruition.  Generous donors throughout the Lowcountry have allocated the funding for these grants planting seeds for future community leaders.  Recipients, carefully selected based upon their academic credentials, ambitions for the future, and financial need, hail from several counties and various backgrounds.  They are alike, however, in their aspirations to purpose their education for the betterment of the whole community. 

 Jonathon Heyward, a multiple-year scholarship recipient from Charleston, describes his story eloquently, claiming that, “for the majority of my life, I have been raised in a single parent household with another younger sibling. This situation has brought many financial obstacles making it sometimes difficult to continue my musical career.  Ever since the 9th grade, it has been a dream of mine to continue my studies as a musician at a conservatory. The Coastal Community Foundation has truly made my dream come true and I am so grateful for the continued support. I am currently a junior studying Cello Performance at The Boston Conservatory of Music. I hope to continue my education with a Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting and to later become a Music Director of a symphony orchestra. My aspirations as a Music Director would consist of building a strong education and community outreach program making music more accessible to everyone.”  Eager for and thoughtful in their college pursuits, scholarship recipients like Heyward brighten the back-to-school equation.

For a full list of General Scholarship winners please visit:

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Paradox of Giving

                In my initial meeting with Coastal Community Foundation’s CEO, George Stevens, I was bewildered at his claim of the difficulty found in giving away money.  Although struck by his statement, I found myself struggling to find the validity in his words.  How could George, a leader whose work schedule is inundated with public speaking engagements, donor solicitations, and strategic planning sessions have difficulty in granting donations?   Selecting nonprofit recipients and awarding grants seemed, upon my initial contemplations, the easiest and most rewarding process accomplished by the Foundation.  However, after my recent site visit to HALOS, the heavy burden of choice was brought to fruition.  As I listened to testimonials given by grandmothers, expressing their heartfelt appreciation of HALOS’ Kinship Care Program, I felt compelled to extend support to this organization.  As I sat at a table with HALOS’ three, dedicated staff members, I craved an opportunity to accolade them for their heavily involved efforts and limitless compassion.  HALOS, I thought to myself, defined a deserving organization.  It was in that moment, that I finally recognized the truth behind George’s initial statements.   My emotions were overtaken by competing feelings of love and guilt.  How could I promote a grant to one organization, knowing that it would mean the denial of another worthy nonprofit group’s request?               

The process of narrowing grant recipients represents a paradox of beauty and pain.  Although the fruitful works of many Lowcountry nonprofits are inspirational, it is distressing to recognize that not all of them can receive a grant.  What provides ultimate comfort, however, is the knowledge that with the expertise of Coastal Community’s staff and through careful consideration taken by the grants committee, worthy designations will be made.  Not only do volunteer grant committee members and staff visit the sites, but they are actively engaged, asking extensive questions.  Although site visits serve as an important component of the grant-making process, the careful consideration does not end there.  After personally visiting all of the applicant sites, the committee meets to comprehensively evaluate all of the nonprofits and allocate grants accordingly.   The process, although arduous, is fruitful in its return, as it serves to promote the good of our entire community.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Small grants can make a big difference

No exaggeration -- a $2,500 grant this summer from our Webb-Croft Endowment to a program at MUSC designed and produced by Patty Coker-Bolt (Ph.D., Assistant Professor, and community blessing) resulted once again this summer in children receiving life-changing therapy that would have cost their families a total of more than $250,000 if given at teaching hospitals in other parts of the nation. The week-long 30-hour program is called “Camp Hand to Hands”, and costs the children’s families ZERO. Here’s what it does, and how it leverages the dollars provided 100-fold, turning $2,500 into more than $250,000:

CIMT (“Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy”) uses splinted gloves fashioned into puppet mittens on a stronger limb to get children with cerebral palsy (or other conditions) to want to use their free weaker limb to participate in deliriously fun activities. The result is that over the course of a week of “Camp Hand to Hands”, the weaker limb becomes stronger and more available to the children. While places like the Kennedy-Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins can charge a family $15,000-$20,000 or more for this experience (usually not covered by insurance), it was FREE to the 14 kids who did it this summer at MUSC’s O.T. Department because, using MUSC students as the therapists in loads of space made available by MUSC for this, the only things that have to be bought are lunches, splinting supplies and hand puppets, and craft things from area discount stores for the MUSC students to make games, props and decorations for each day’s different theme (one day, maybe the Olympics; another day, maybe Disney World). As you can see from the photo, the ratio of MUSC students to kids is incredible at better than 3-to-1. Patty Coker-Bolt received one of Charleston Magazine’s 2011 “Giving Back” awards for volunteerism – not for this program, but because of her leadership in helping to create the Charleston Miracle League. She also was one of the founding board members of Pattison’s Academy. Legions of local special needs children are better off in lots of ways because of Patty.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Call for Nominations: Malcolm D. Haven Award for Selfless Community Giving

Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, that mastering a skill comes at a lofty price.  Commonly labeled as the 10,000 hour rule, Malcolm argues that one must practice an art for at least 10,000 hours before claiming mastery of it.  Michael Phelps, for example, would have to have spent over 830 hours in the pool each year beginning at age 15 to be deemed a master of swimming.  Designated by the eight gold medals that adorned Phelp’s neck during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Phelps represents an easily distinguishable master.  But who are the hidden masters around us, not recognized atop the Olympic podium?                                                                                                               
Coastal Community Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2012 Haven Award for Selfless Community Giving.  Malcolm D. Haven, for whom the award is named, was not only a founding member of the Community Foundation, but was known throughout Charleston as, “one of the finest, most civic-spirited people that has ever lived in Charleston.  He was always thinking how to make things better, how to make education better, how to make the community better”.  He mastered the art of selfless giving, dedicating continual energy, time, work, and love to our community.  Haven drew inspiration from the potential for improvement, claiming that “life is exciting as you witness situations evolve for the better due to your participation”.  Just as Phelps has spent unmatchable energy stroking through the water’s resistance, Haven had ambition to fight the current.  Haven contained the needed drive to change the tide, improving community life for everyone.  He was a mover and a doer, inspiring others to follow his lead, encouraging them to jump into the water with him.                                                                             
Coastal Community Foundation invites you to nominate someone who you feel has not only mastered selfless community giving, but has motivated others to do the same.  The nominee should be notable in his or her persistent community involvement and unsurpassed generosity.  Whether the nominee’s job is community work based or if his or her work is entirely voluntary, the ideal candidate will have exceeded expectations and made unparalleled contributions to our community.  A candidate’s efforts can be focused in one area or spread widely through a variety of outlets.  Regardless of a candidate’s mode of giving, his or her efforts must be notable in their consistency and extent, stretching far beyond what is asked or expected.                                                                                                                                   
In recognition of his or her efforts, the 2012 Haven Award winner will not only be recognized at  Coastal Community Foundation’s Donor Celebration this November, but he or she will also be invited to designate a grant of $1,000 to his or her  nonprofit of choice.  Please view our Request for Nominations page to view submission requirements, deadlines, and other important details.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Coastal Community Foundation Welcomes New Board Members

Each summer we have the bittersweet moment that comes with changing of the guard at the Foundation’s June board meeting. Dedicated, experienced volunteers retire and fresh and energetic ones join.  

We would like to recognize and thank those that have invested more than we ever could have expected through their collective years of Foundation board service:
Gary Cooper          Stephen McLeod-Bryant
Charles Rowland    Leah Greenberg
George Milner       Will Verity

We are pleased to announce the newest Foundation Board Members who will serve a two-year term representing the following counties.

Beaufort County:       
D. Cabell (D.C.) Gilley, Attorney at Levin, Gilley & Fisher, LLC
Charleston County:
Rachel Hutchisson, Director of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy,
Blackbaud, Inc.
Darcy Shankland, Editor-in-Chief, Charleston magazine
Georgetown County: 
Carol Jayroe, Co-owner of Prince George Sotheby’s International

Coastal Community Foundation Welcomes New Staff Members!

Sydney Fowler

Sydney brings extraordinary skills as a result of her formal legal training as well as her experience working within nonprofit organizations in Charleston and New York.  She is deeply thoughtful and will add new insights into how to improve the capacity of nonprofits to serve our region.

Charlton Wieters

Charlton has brought to us up-to-date and money-saving tips and tricks to streamline our accounting system.  He will add to our abilities to advise nonprofits on how to better prepare themselves for annual audits and required government filings.

Sonny Sutton

Provides Coastal Community Foundation with focused database management services for our grantmaking efforts.  He has led our efforts to make our giving more visible and accessible to the general public, donors, and Staff.

Caroline Mullis

Caroline expands the services we provide to donors to improve the speed with which we respond to requests for information and to grantmaking suggestions.  She has a strong background in customer service and brings an even stronger customer service orientation to our operations.