My father, whose parents made him painfully aware of the hardships of the Great Depression, felt that there was little closer to heaven on earth than an “all you can eat” buffet. And of course, he felt it was his personal responsibility to make sure he had gotten his money’s worth. Somehow he had a nose for finding those buffets that had the broadest variety, the best quality, and the most value for the dollar.
He would have been especially proud of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. As a potential donor, he would have been able to choose to make a contribution of any size to one or several of over 200 different funds with different charitable purposes – or for as little as $2,500 (for a nonpermanent fund) or $5,000 (for an endowment), he could have started a new fund to address a need representing his own passion.
Isn’t it amazing that if a person loves Jasper County, they can contribute to the Jasper Community Fund, or if they are passionate about unmet needs in Bluffton, they can support the Greater Bluffton Community Endowment? If they love the arts, for example, they can support the Public Art Fund, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina Endowment Fund, the Junior Jazz Foundation Fund, or the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund.
If they believe in the power of education, they can support the Beaufort County School District Foundation for Educational Excellence Fund, the Friends of the Library Endowment Fund, the Literacy Volunteers Endowment Fund, or a number of scholarship funds.
So, what makes your taste buds tingle? Healthcare, the environment, youth? There are a variety of funds that support them all. And if you don’t have time to do the research needed to make the best decision about community needs or the most impactful and effective organizations in the area, you can support the competitive grantmaking programs of the Community Foundation—the largest of these is the Hilton Head Island Foundation Endowment Fund (supporting Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands along with greater Bluffton), but we’re working hard to grow the Touch Tomorrow Endowment Fund so that more grant dollars are available for all of Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper and Hampton Counties.
And what about value for the dollar? Dollars contributed by the one are leveraged by the contributions of many others—creating a permanent pool of resources invested for growth and dedicated to the future of the Lowcountry. A professional staff and committed community leaders assure that the resources are protected and nurtured, and spent as wisely as possible.
My father would have felt the love and, in his words, he would have been “filled to the eyebrows.” What about you? Have you discovered the best smorgasbord in the Lowcountry? You are invited to the table. Today. Remember, every day matters.
Denise K. Spencer