Leadership Charleston Class Learns About Nonprofits and Philanthropic Impact in the Lowcountry

Written by Leadership Charleston Class of 2021 participant Lynette V. Duggins, Executive Director of Teachers’ Supply Closet

When I volunteered to write on this subject, I wanted to hear the stories of other non-profits as we compete for dollars. I shared how the non-profit I represent is the story of part of my life. We heard from a number of nonprofits throughout the day, including some highly informative tours. The Leadership Charleston Class of 2021 was encouraged to lean in and to utilize the new information learned. As different organizations, we seek to impact our community by reaching it in different ways.

Adrian Cain welcomed us and shared what we would learn and see today. He asked the presenters to tell us where their organization fit in to our community and what they mean for the lowcountry. We also heard about green space, parks, education and quality of everyone.

The State of Nonprofits in the Lowcountry

Darrin Goss, CEO, Coastal Community Foundation

Mr. Goss shared that the Coastal Community Foundation is a 46-year-old philanthropic organization which started with a $9,000 grant in 1974. It is currently in 9 counties in the coastal areas of our state worth $300 million. They receive philanthropic dollars and invest the dollars as they get a return on those dollars from private donors and corporate donors to support our communities.

He offered us five reasons why philanthropic giving and involvement is vital: relief-charity, improvement-skills, reformed-advocacy, civic engagement and reconciliation through our ecosystem where we should find ourselves. He told us how using our social, moral, intellectual, reputational and financial capital we can help bring value to our communities.

We discussed how COVID-19 has hurt the fundraising asset of all nonprofits’ ecosystems globally, which put us in the unknown of survivorship the next three to four months. Our local non-profits need to be highly creative during this time to survive. CCF’s COVID-19 Relief Fund raised $2.3 million in four weeks they have allotted $1.3 million to over 100 agencies and programs for food, housing, utilities and COVID-19 testing, to name a few.

He encouraged us to read CCF’s Civic Engagement Summary online as we will see a surprising reality of people of color and white people in our region on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. We will need to reconcile our history of why we are who we are as we learn that some of us has the advantage when others have the disadvantage. We need to look at three things that we control: policy, practice and investment.

Mr. Goss addressed questions about challenges nonprofits have moving forward. He said people give to what they have the greatest passion about those who are having basic needs problems in the next six months. We have been disruptive with revenues due to COVID-19. SC will be ground zero for housing evictions. COVID-19 has forced some non-profits to think about merging or closing. We must have virtual events with our regular sponsors/donors. We must have our CEOs, Executive Directors, Board Members be ambassadors for our mission and go get what each organization needs at this time.

Karen Quadrio, Director of Philanthropy, Charleston Promise Neighborhood

Mrs. Quadrio informed us that Charleston Promise Neighborhood will be celebrating 10 years of transforming within a generation who have limited access to opportunities in quality education, housing, transportation and employment. Their founding partners are the City of Charleston, City of North Charleston, Charleston County and Charleston County School District.

The Neighborhood consists of four Charleston County School District Title 1 schools in the Neck of Charleston which covers 5.6 square miles. It concentrates on portions of the cities of Charleston and North Charleston representing four schools: Chicora, James Simons and Sanders-Clyde (where I attended back in the day) elementary schools and now the Mary Ford Early Learning and Family Center.

Charleston Promise Neighborhood seeks to partner with the community as well as the schools, parents and students who reside in the Neighborhood; together with CPN can work to provide opportunities for our children to live full and prosperous lives as they engage in their education and beyond.

CPN’s Strategic Priorities and shared to us are: Health & Wellness Programs, Parent & Family Engagement Programs and Community Engagement Programs through collaborative relationships, marketing and communications, resource development and governance.

CPN believe that ALL children deserve equal opportunity to be successful regardless of their circumstances. They provide school-based health centers, family and parent engagement create a positive learning environment for students, and that the community engagement builds positive and culturally responsive relationships.

How you can help:

Amanda Lawrence, Vice President of Community Impact, Trident United Way

Ms. Lawrence engaged us into the Community Impact Division: using data to lead the change our Tri-County is going through since Covid-19 appeared in our area. She shared the mission to be a catalyst for measurable community transformation in education, financial stability and health. Our families need Trident United Way.

2-1-1: Get Connected. Get Help. Which is completely confidential, free, accessible 24/7 and 180 languages. www.sc211.org. Tri-County Traffic Overview for October was: Total Calls, 1,506 increased to +12%, Total Referrals 3,796 increased to +65% and Website Visits, 11,127 increased to +40%. Tri-County Needs: Electric = 40%, Rent = 20%, Water = 16%, Other Needs = 16%, Eviction Prevention = 5% and the Food Pantries = 3%.

She spoke on Charity Tracker where it is a need to coordinate efforts for improving efficiency and reduce duplication in the suggestion of 320 organizations using the system for 1,200 organizational volunteers and staff rely on this software daily. $1,302,580 in monetary assistance through the coordination system. Finally, 25,718 households with a total of 54,762 members were assisted.

Tri-County COVID-19 had 25 agencies had funds disbursed. She then shared the Self-Sufficiency Standard Guide to Building Livable Communities for South Carolina for those who does not depend on government assistance       for 2020 during this time.

~ Now the Tours ~

The Gaillard Center Presentation and Tour:

Stephanie in Marketing shared that $500,000 goes into Title I Students for the Arts Education Program. A masterpiece for the Arts and Community of Charleston.

Charleston Parks Conservancy Tour:

Jim Martin, Director of Horticulture and Dan Daniel, Director of Development and Communications discussed with us the role of greenspace in community and quality of life. We learned that there are over 100 parks in the City of Charleston for public spaces for all people can gather and enjoy.

Aquarium Briefing and Tour:

Kevin Mills, President and CEO, South Carolina Aquarium showed us the magnificent 93,000 square feet of Charleston’s finest aquarium. What a vision, what a tour.

International African American Museum Construction Update:

Bobby Teachey, II, Project Manager, Brownstone Construction Group shared his passion for the International African American Museum in the absence of Elijah Heyward, III who is the Chief Operating Officer. Our local media were recording the progress as we were on site.

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