Meet the Hays Family

Donors defining philanthropy

We sat down with Sarah Hays this Spring to get the scoop on what philanthropy means to her and her family.
You and your husband, Joshua started the Hays Family Fund in 2016. Where do your giving interests lie, today and in the future?
Typically, we give throughout the year. We realized we wanted to give to the Swanson Scholars Program at the College of Charleston and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) at the end of 2016 and were able to do so in November with our fund at the Foundation.
When we think about giving, we look for organizations that have a local impact. These organizations work with education and families in our area and include everything and anything from Trident United Way, One80 Place, Donors Choose, Florence Crittenton of South Carolina, Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center, East Cooper Land Trust, Lowcountry Food Bank and more.
Recently, we have also delved into giving back with organizations that support healthy lifestyles, like Charleston Moves.
Josh is from the mountains of North Carolina and you are from the upstate of South Carolina. Does the Lowcountry feel like home now?
It does. We like giving back to organizations in our area because it means we can get involved and volunteer in ways that are not always possible when you are giving to global organizations. But we’ll never forget our roots.
My home in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina was hit hard by floods in 2015 and by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Last year, we decided to give direct donations to individuals and giving campaigns as well as help gather items of need for flood victims in the areas affected by floods in South Carolina. We used Donors Choose to help give back to schools in our hometowns in both South and North Carolina. There are so many families in this region who still have not received the assistance they need to recover from this natural disaster.
Can you tell us a little bit about the legacy you hope to leave to your two sons by starting this fund?
Around the same time we began giving to flood relief efforts last year, we decided to make a grant from our fund at CCF to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). UNHCR works to support refugees who flee due to conflict, flooding, security, war, etc. This is the main global entity we give to because we believe in one global community. While these horror stories go on in far off nations, they still impact the world around us and we want our children to care about that.
Our sons are still very young, but every day we are doing our best to keep them down to earth; and to drive home our commitment to their (and our!) community.
To learn more about our donors and the causes they care about, visit

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