Wednesday’s editorial profiles the good work of the Waccamaw Community Foundation, which gives grants to local causes:
The Waccamaw Community Foundation, an area nonprofit that supports a variety of interests and causes through philanthropy, awarded a record $455,606 in grants for the first quarter of the year. Annual grants total $1.5 million and they reflect the wishes and interests of the donors of funds. It’s good news for local nonprofits that are still facing a financial crunch as contributors recover from the recession.
“Faith-based organizations remain our largest area of giving,” the foundation said in announcing the record. Nineteen faith-based organizations received $185,192.24. That is 40.7 percent of the nearly half-million dollars given out last quarter. “These funds can support any number of charitable endeavors by a religious organization from youth group disaster relief missions to church food banks to care for the elderly.” The two largest grants went to Market Life Ministries ($50,000), which puts on a weekly Bible study at Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse in Myrtle Beach, and Redemption Church ($10,000), a small nontraditional church plant.
Community service organizations received $143,134.75 (31.4 percent) for services for the homeless, women and children’s aid and soup kitchens “as well as civic organizations geared toward community health and renewal.” The two largest of these grants went to the Horry County Museum Foundation, which received $20,000 and the Horry County Police Department’s Camp Pride, which was given $3,000 to support the camp that fosters discipline and teamwork among young people age 11 to 15.
While faith-based and community service groups received the bulk of the money, other groups were also able to share in the foundation’s commendable generosity. Education endeavors received $62,316.57; environmental, wildlife and animal welfare $26,000; arts and culture $20,450; health/general $18,512.74. The education grants include “scholarships, institutional giving, sponsorships and support of a variety of educational programs throughout our region that amount to a grassroots network of advocates for learning, literacy and early childhood development.”
The environmental category grants supported “conservation efforts throughout the Waccamaw region. We would love to have more support in this area,” the foundation said. The arts and culture area “is an opportunity for tremendous growth in our community, as the application of arts in the business world becomes more and more apparent.”
The health area includes targeted medical causes, physician care for the underserved and children and “more assistance is desperately needed in this area.”
The group, supported by the Knight Foundation, has continued its good work even as it lost its long-time leader. Stepping down in March was Jonathan P. Kresken, who ran the foundation for eight years, during which time the foundation had tremendous growth after its organization in February 1999. It was originally established in 1997 as an affiliate of the Foundation for The Carolinas.
Donna Lewis, director of finance, said the executive committee has started a search for a new president. Kresken accepted a position with the Myrtle Beach law firm Turner Padget Graham and Laney. In a letter, Kresken expressed mixed emotions about leaving the foundation and is grateful “for the opportunity to grow and develop a sense of the philanthropy in our community.”
To learn more about supporting a variety of interests such as community services, education or arts and culture or about creating a fund contact Donna Lewis at Waccamaw Community Foundation.
Phone | 843-357-4483.
Visit the foundation’s website at www.waccamawcf.org