Monday, October 7, 2013

Q&A with Charles Williams


Coastal Community Foundation is excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award and to recognize this year's winner

Charles Williams

Please join us for an opening exhibit and reception on October 18, 2013 from 5-7 p.m. at City Gallery at Waterfront Park (34 Prioleau Street).



Getting to know the artist: Q&A with Charles Williams

When did you start painting?

When I was in 10th grade, my high school art teacher helped me overcome my fear of mixing colors.  He mixed colors for me until I developed enough self-confidence to do it myself.  When he realized how serious I was about painting, he also helped arrange for me to have private lessons with Georgetown artist Bruce Chandler and that was when I started painting.

When and how did you realize that you wanted to pursue art as your career?

When I saw art related magazines in bookstores, even when I was a young child, I wanted to see my art on those magazines.  I spent many hours every day drawing my versions of the art I had seen.

Describe your art in three words.

Contemporary realism landscapes.

What got you interested in painting landscapes?

I became interested in painting landscapes from seeing work by artist Jacob Collins in American Artist and Art Collector magazines.

Do you draw from any other inspirations besides nature?

I draw inspiration from interactions with other people and from seeing other art forms, including visual and/or auditory art, such as video, film, or music.  I am also often inspired by memories, which sometimes leads me to create pieces that elicit a passionate response from my audience derived from their own emotional response.

Tell us something about yourself (non-art related) that we don't know!

If I hadn't become an artist, I would have chosen to be either a musician or a meteorologist, or both.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lending or Giving?

Would lending your lawnmower make you more influential in getting your neighbors to mow their lawn more often than just giving them a lawnmower?  Or put in philanthropic terms, do bankers who provide a line of credit to a charity have more influence on how the charity works than that charity's major donors?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Impressions

With its logo proudly displayed on the corner of Huger and Rutledge Avenue, its overflowing parking lot, and modern two-story design, the Foundation’s office certainly leaves an initial impression.  But what happens up the stairs and through the doors of suite 201?  The Foundation’s newest addition, Director of Development Steffanie Dohn, remembers her first impressions and her transition into the Foundation’s family— “I was drawn to CCF because it is a wonderful community resource and effective vehicle for philanthropists to impact everything, from arts to human services, that is necessary for a vibrant community.”


She recalls staff boasting what a “wonderful place” the Foundation is to work.  Now she knows.  Not only has Steffanie seen how “truly happy people are to be working here,” but that “the level of expertise and experience among the staff is exceptional.  I am amazed at how much they get done in a day, all while maintaining an incredible sense of humor and work/life balance.”


What Steffanie does not know, however, is the initial impression she has made on other staff.  “She is motivated, energetic, positive, and a good listener.”  “She fits right in.”  Welcome home, Steffanie!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stock-picking for nonprofit leaders

I got a call from a breathless stock pusher the other day. He started by saying "I am buying Smith and Wesson and I want you to be part of the action." I do not know how these people find me. He got through the receptionist by saying "I've lost George's cellphone number, can you give it to me?" When Liz balked he said, "Well, is he in? Why don't you just connect me?" She did. (Don't try this again. We're on to you now.)


Okay, so here is my breathless stock pick...as in bedside table stock.  If you have not read "Toxic Charity" by Robert Lupton or "Why Don't They Just Get A Job" by Phillips and Garrett, you are missing out on the next big thing.  We have been talking about them with donors and nonprofit leaders from around the State.  After our discussion one nonprofit leader bought 200 copies.  Another got his entire town to read about and discuss the issues.  In the coming months Coastal Community Foundation will be bringing the founders of the nonprofits featured in these books to the Lowcountry.  The combined message is that if not done correctly charitable organizations and their donors make societal problems WORSE.

There, have I caught your attention?

Contact me if you want information on when and where to get a piece of the action.  You don't need my cellphone number, you do not need to try to outfox Liz, you can just email me at george@coastalcommunityfoundation.org and I will fill you in on how you can get in on the ground floor.

Its gonna be huge!

Friday, April 5, 2013

You don’t need nonprofit status to do awesome things


Our staff have conversations with different people who want to start a nonprofit.  There’s a lot of paperwork involved when people go that route and may take people away from the work they want to do.  Often we encourage them to look to existing organizations to partner with rather than starting from scratch. And awesome things can happen in a community group that's not an official 501c3.

ReStartSC.org is the community group I’m bragging on today.  This is a group of HR and business professionals who are giving time to help people who are unemployed, underemployed, or are seeking transition.  They recently had a 150 person conference at Seacoast Church in March.  Attendees received practical advice throughout the day on finding their strengths, developing a resume that will be read, learning how to interview, and the importance of a network.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A conversation about nonprofit tech needs

Some local nonprofits met in our office yesterday to talk about technology needs.  We heard some common themes: desire to network with other IT professionals, finding a sounding board, and ideas to stay current with the latest technology trends.  Nonprofit staff also need help understanding what they even have in place, learning basic website design, developing a social media strategy, and learning new tips for productivity.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dr. Ted Stern: Richard Hendry's Recollections as a Newbie


Collecting information about Dr. Stern for the biography he was writing last year, author and researcher Bob McDonald asked if I had ever seen Dr. Stern lose his temper in the three decades I knew him.  “Sure, I guess so,” I said – but then when I thought about it, I couldn't think of one instance – ever.  

He wasn't cross when, as a new hire at the Community Foundation, I made two flubs in a short period of time.

When I took a call from a phone salesman and ordered three years’ worth of correction tape for our IBM Selectric typewriter for more money than was in the budget, he smiled and said, “Okay, valuable lesson here.  From now on, don’t order anything from any salesman on the phone, ever – okay?” 

Not long after, when Dr. Stern was vacationing in St. Maarten with friends, I saw an obituary for “Jack Black,” a friend of Dr. Stern.  I proactively sent a note to the family of “Jack Black” saying that a donation had been made in Jack’s memory to the Foundation by Dr. Stern (because I knew he would want to).  When I told Dr. Stern about this on his return to the office, rather than write a check, he said, “I don’t know who the Jack Black is that died, but the Jack I know was part of the group I was with this week in St. Maarten.  From now on, how about let’s not use my name unless I know about it first, okay?”

The first time I went to a Board meeting chaired by Dr. Stern, in the middle of the meeting he reached into the inside jacket of his pocket, pulled out a pack of cigarettes, lit one, and smoked it.  Turns out he had been a smoker for decades,  and so when he said one day a couple years later at the age of 70+ that he was quitting, I thought, “Yeah, right.  Lotsa luck, Dr. Stern.”  He never smoked again.  He simply quit, after more than fifty years.  (I, on the other hand . . .)

At another early Board meeting, before anyone in the area had heard of the Foundation or knew what it was, he said to the Board members, “We need to set the example for others.  I hope each of us will think about starting a Fund with the Foundation.”  A week later, we received a check to begin the “Theodore S. and Alva D. Stern Fund” of CCF – one of our first.

Flash forward 30 years, when Ted at the age of 95 was ending his term as Chairman of the Board of the Saul Alexander Foundation, to which CCF gives staff support.  He said, “I’ve been on the SAF Board for decades, and I still enjoy serving, but I’m 95 years old, and so now I think it’s time for me to . . .”  “Resign,” we were afraid would be the next word – but no.  He said he wanted to continue to serve, but as an Advisor rather than as a Trustee, so that a younger person could take his seat as a voting member.  He continued to attend and fully participate in meetings until he was 99, in late 2012.

Dr. Stern and George Stevens at CCF's Dr. Theodore Stern Room Dedication

When I began with CCF in 1983, I was young, green and in slack-jawed awe of the powerful, important people on our Board.  For most members, it took only a few months before I was comfortable calling them by their first names – Wade, Howard, Courtenay, Marybelle, Irvin, Gary.  But I was and remained in such awe of Dr. Stern that I never came close to calling him “Ted.” To me, saying, “Hi Ted, how are things?” would have been tantamount to saying to Mother Teresa, “Hey Terry, how’s it shakin?”

Everyone who knew him has their own personal recollections about Dr. Stern that will probably never appear in printed profiles about him, but the common denominator for all of them is “a good man.”

-Richard Hendry

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Security for Nonprofits


I've talked in the past about the generous geeks in our community willing to help out nonprofits.  Many out there either donate or significantly discount their normal fees.  This picture is from a class that started Tuesday morning on security for nonprofits with Bob Hooper as the instructor.  

Many of us in the nonprofit field are running as fast as we can so we rarely stop to look at the security in our office.  But it’s important.  We’re responsible for donor data.  We don’t want to lose it and we certainly don’t someone else to access it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Connecting the dots


You have finally started to grasp what a Community Foundation actually does.  You have begun to recognize some, if not all, of CCF’s staff members.  Now, what in the world does each of us do?

To help clarify, the next several blog posts will focus on staff profiles, allowing  you to not only put 
face with a name, but to also distinguish our roles at the Foundation.

At the Foundation, Liz Marshall is where it all begins.  She is the friendly voice that you are likely to hear when you call, the one responsible for the majority of day-to-day operations at the office, and the administrator who keeps us all organized.  


When to contact Liz:

-To schedule a meeting with a staff member

-To make conference room reservations

-To request a speaker for an event



In addition to her role at the Foundation, Liz enjoys her "retirement" traveling with her husband and spending time with her grandchildren.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lessons learned from holiday habits

T ’was the night before Christmas and Scrooge-like, I thanked a shopkeeper for not playing Christmas music. Not three hours later, at a Christmas Eve service, the congregation collectively drew a deep breath and started in on “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” In that instant I was thankful for the music but even more thankful that the words came effortlessly to mind, just in time, as if I had practiced for years. Which made me realize that I had practiced for years, even if only a few minutes each year.

 It does not take much for an act, if executed regularly…even infrequently, to embed itself deep into your being. I made a mental note to watch for the pull of rare but regular acts and how they shape us.


I did not have to wait long to start taking notes.