When in a downpour, nothing is quite as exquisite as a stranger sharing with you his umbrella. You know that while your feet are still getting quite wet, there is immense comfort in having your head sheltered from the driving rain. You know that this unknown individual is not quite as dry as he would have been without this act of kindness. And you feel the connectedness of humankind, as you struggle together against the elements. What a happy turn of events—a stranger with an umbrella!
We never know when that sudden shower will come…or a financial setback…or a serious illness…or a disastrous loss. We never know when we may need that stranger to help us.
Fortunately, here in the Lowcountry, we have a number of capable and caring nonprofits which provide umbrellas in times of need. These are organizations which offer education, health care, safe haven, food. These are organizations which have working for them individuals of great professionalism and heart, and which utilize the talents and generosity of many volunteers and donors.
But who provides the umbrella for the nonprofit community? Who offers organizational development so nonprofit boards can strengthen themselves and improve their efficiency? Who offers the opportunity for an agency to expand or add a new service badly needed in our area? Who makes it its business to connect people and resources with discovered needs? The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, through its competitive grantmaking programs (like the Hilton Head Island Foundation Endowment Fund, or Women in Philanthropy, or Hargray Caring Coins, or the Long Cove Club Community Endowment Fund, or the PEARLS of Hampton County, to name a few), provides umbrellas. The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, through a myriad of funds designed to support particular organizations, or provide scholarships, or allow donors to manage their own philanthropy in a cost effective way, provides umbrellas. And the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry offers the umbrella of leadership when an objective convener is needed to begin the process of solving a community issue.
And who provides the Community Foundation with shelter from the rain? It is those like you who provide support, both volunteer and monetary, for the important work we do. We continue to need you to be at the ready with your umbrellas, just as we try to be. Downpours are inevitable. But so are rainbows. We just need to keep providing the umbrellas in the meantime, because every day matters—rain or shine.
Denise K. Spencer