Most people who are familiar with Community Foundation of the Lowcountry probably know us as grant-makers.
While we are much more than that, we do indeed have a competitive grant-writing process. This is just one of the reasons most nonprofits in our area know us well.
The Community Foundation is home to more than 300 different funds with different purposes ranging from scholarships to advised funds, to organizational funds and more.
We also have a variety of other competitive grant-making funds that have been established by connected groups of donors.
For nonprofits, this means that there are many "pots" attached to the Community Foundation from which organizations may apply for grants.
A few examples include The Belfair 1811 Charitable Fund, the Colleton River Plantation Club Operation Santa Claus Fund, the Hampton Hall Charitable Fund, the Hampton Lakes Tiger Bass Charitable Fund, the Long Cove Club Charitable Fund and the Women of Palmetto Bluff Charitable Fund. These are funds established by the residents of some of the area's planned communities and involve residents in collective charitable giving and grant-making.
The Dragon Boat Beaufort Fund supports the healthy physical activity of cancer patients and survivors while it raises money to assist cancer patients with unmet needs.
The Hargray Caring Coins Fund exemplifies how a business can do charitable work; money raised by its "round up" program is put in the fund and supports grants in the Hargray service area.
The PEARLS of Hampton County Endowment Fund and the Women in Philanthropy Endowment Fund are women's giving circles.
The Women's Association of Hilton Head Island Charitable Fund is an example of philanthropy being accomplished by a club, and there are others.
These amazing community groups, combining the resources of many to strengthen and leverage their giving, could apply for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status of their own. Instead, they have chosen to be under the fiscal agency of the Community Foundation.
This is beneficial in many ways. They do not have audits to undertake, federal tax filings to accomplish, investments, receipting, organizational due diligence for grant-making or the requirement to file for a license to solicit in each and every state that requires it.
For those whose donor base includes people with homes in other states, that last one alone is a major benefit! Each group has 24-hour online access to information about the available dollars in the fund they established and the grant-making that has been accomplished.
For some groups, we are beginning to work on providing access to our online grant-making process, making things easier for their grant's committees and for their applicants as well.
So, whether you are a nonprofit organization looking for funding, or a community group looking for an easy way to do charitable work, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry can make living generously easy, cost-effective and fun.
Denise K. Spencer is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. www.cf-lowcountry.org