November 2012

Charity Corner - Your Community's Foundation

Author: Carolyn Torgersen

Members of the board and staff of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry are frequently asked by friends, neighbors, members of the media, and acquaintances to explain the community foundation.

With an almost 100-year history and a presence of more than 700 in communities across the United States and 1,400 worldwide, one would think that community foundations would be better known. But the truth is community foundations are among the best-kept secrets in philanthropy.

As one of the 1,400 and one of the 700, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry is your community’s foundation. It is comprised of 16 caring, committed and local board members, seven tremendously talented staff, and countless volunteers who offer service to committees and task forces.

Since its founding in 1994, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, along with its donor partners, has granted more than $46 million to nonprofits serving the Lowcountry and beyond. It has worked with more than 250 individuals, families, organizations, and businesses to establish charitable funds, growing assets from the Community Foundation and its supporting organization to over $57 million. Behind the 250 funds and more than $46 million in grants, there are 250 stories and maybe 46 million reasons why people choose to work with the Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry is that connection that provides the personalized service, local expertise and community leadership needed to meet the philanthropic dreams of donors and the goals of nonprofits. But what does that mean?

It means that a local couple with a passion for youth in our community can establish a scholarship fund to support our future teachers, engineers, doctors, or whatever their hearts desire. It means that a local animal shelter can establish an endowment fund that will provide a steady stream of income in perpetuity, keeping a roof over the heads of hundreds of cats and dogs as they await adoption. It means that a gentleman, fond of the theater, can continue to support a local arts group even after he’s gone, through a bequest in his will or estate plan. It means that a local community can pool the contributions of its generous neighbors, invest them, and provide grants to area nonprofits, increasing the impact of each gift.

Philanthropy is personal. Every donor is extraordinary. Each cause has value. Each story is unique. Yet, through these stories, there is one familiar theme: the desire to spark change. Whether current donors, or donors who have given graciously to establish a legacy, these values are alive and well and are reflected in the nonprofit organizations which offer innovative programs and services that strengthen our community.

To learn more about how you can be a part of your community’s foundation, contact the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry at (843) 681-9100 or visit the website at

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