Tony and Linda Bakker have held the Bakker Family Fund at Coastal Community Foundation for 20 years, supporting regional causes such as education and human needs with more than $5.6 million in grants since the fund’s inception. As the communities in coastal South Carolina now grapple with unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Bakkers — including their two children, James Bakker and Katy Bakker McKee — have stepped up again to help the region in an instrumental way.
The Bakker family has committed to match every donation up to $500,000 to the COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund by April 20, potentially raising up to $1 million for the effort.
Tony Bakker, founder of global software firm Blackbaud, said he’s concerned that the pandemic will continue to cause significant economic disruption, and that the most vulnerable members of our communities will face the worst of it.
“While there are initiatives in place through the CARES Act to help both individuals and businesses both large and small, we believe that many of the most vulnerable members of our community will fall through the cracks and won’t be able to claim unemployment insurance or receive a stimulus check,” he said. “We think that many of the outstanding nonprofit organizations in our area that support the most vulnerable amongst us will be overwhelmed and will need all the financial support they can get.”
He said he entrusts Coastal Community Foundation with this effort because of his experience as a fundholder for the past 20 years.
“We believe that no organization is better placed to collect donations and distribute them to those nonprofits most in need,” he said. “There are many very generous individuals and companies in our community who we’re sure are wondering how they can best help. We think that funneling donations through the Coastal Community Foundation will be the most effective way to get financial support where it is most needed.”
Coastal Community Foundation President and CEO Darrin Goss thanked the Bakker family for their generosity and leadership.
“This matching grant from Tony and Linda Bakker not only signals their commitment to coastal South Carolina during this crisis, but encourages others in the community to follow their lead,” said Darrin Goss, President and CEO of Coastal Community Foundation. “We have already begun deploying resources from this fund to support essential nonprofit services, and we will be able to scale up these efforts quickly if we reach this $1 million goal.”