Coastal Community Foundation funds reach 50 percent more organizations in Beaufort area after tweaking 21-year-old grantmaking program

BEAUFORT, S.C. – Coastal Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization serving coastal South Carolina, is pleased to announce that 89 organizations across Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties received grants from The Beaufort Fund in 2018, a 50 percent increase from the previous year.

Since it was established in 1998, The Beaufort Fund Grant Program has distributed $9.3 million to organizations in the southern Lowcountry region. Now in its 21st year, the fund’s impact is expanding.

For the 2018 grant cycle, the Foundation restructured its selection process to provide more opportunities for organizations of all types and sizes to access the funding. Three categories were created to suit the needs of small, large and first-tiame applicants – an approach that allowed the Foundation to evaluate organizations that are similar in fiscal scope, life cycle and programmatic impact. In the past, all applicants competed for the same pool of funds.

As a result, the Foundation was able to award funds to 30 more organizations than in 2017. The 89 grantees in 2018 received a combined $704,600.

“We saw the need to ensure organizations of all scopes and sizes were given equal opportunities to compete for funding,” said Program Officer Veronica Hemmingway, who leads The Beaufort Fund Grant Program. “We now have new organizations that weren’t in the mix before, and that’s what we want.”

The program area is mostly rural, so nonprofits in these communities typically have a limited donor pool to draw support from. However, they’re often serving some of the greatest needs in the region. For decades, the Beaufort Fund has helped sustain these essential programs.

Camp Wildwood Summer Day Camp, for instance, is the only program in Hampton, Allendale, Colleton and Jasper counties that provides a fully-staffed public pool where children can learn how to swim. It’s a critical skill in a region surrounded by water, but it’s not one that’s taught in public schools in these counties.

“We’ve been doing this for going on 27 years, and I believe that we have made a great difference in the amount of water-related accidents in this area,” said Camp Wildwood Executive Director James Black, adding it’s largely possible because of the annual support of the Foundation’s Beaufort Fund. “Over the years, it’s been like the lifeblood of the program, financially.”

Improving education in coastal South Carolina is one of the three top priorities identified in the Foundation’s Civic Engagement Agenda and will be a central focus for the Foundation’s work moving forward. The Civic Engagement Agenda was created last year to identify and direct resources to key issues facing the nine coastal counties in the Foundation’s service area. The process involved small group discussions with more than 500 residents along the coastline, and the top three issues that emerged were: access to economic opportunity, education and affordable places and inclusive spaces.

Coastal Community Foundation empowers individuals, families and organizations to make a lasting impact through permanent, endowed funds for charitable giving. The Foundation serves Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry and Jasper counties. To learn more, visit coastalcommunityfoundation.org or call (843) 723-3635.

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