December 2018

Giving Back: Belfair Charitable Fund helps local community

Author: Stephen Prudhomme

The residents of Belfair Plantation in Bluffton enjoy tennis, golf and other recreational pursuits associated with Lowcountry living. With a temperate climate not found in many of the places from which they moved, they’re able to participate in these activities throughout the year.

However, not everything is about ground strokes, serves and tee shots for the residents of Belfair. They’re hitting winning shots off the court and course by donating money to a number of local charities and organizations.

Three years ago, a committee comprised of plantation residents started the Belfair Charitable Fund to give back to the local community in southern Beaufort County, primarily on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. Through an annual golf tournament and donations, the fund raises money for a number of local groups and organizations. Last year, it raised close to $90,000, $50,000 of which came from the golf tournament. This year, it collected nearly $70,000 from the golf tournament.

“We felt like we should give back to the community,” said committee member Ken Louis. “There’s a lot of need out there.”

According to Louis, the fund focuses on charities that fly under the radar. (The charities submit a request for financial assistance, and the committee visits them to determine the scope of the need.) Last year, money was donated to 14 organizations. “We’re always looking for one that doesn’t stand out,” Louis said, noting they had three to four new recipients last year.

Among the organizations benefiting from the fund’s largess are Neighborhood Outreach Connection, which offers an after-school tutoring program to help youngsters; Lowcountry Meals on Wheels; Lowcountry Legal Volunteers, featuring attorneys who volunteer their time to help individuals who can’t afford legal assistance; and Lowcountry Autism Foundation. The latter group serves Beaufort and Jasper counties and has impressed the committee with its good work.

Likewise, the autism foundation is impressed with Belfair’s work. Program coordinator Sophia Townes said the funds from Belfair will sustain their Parents’ Night Out program, which offers a monthly respite for parents of children with autism—three hours of self-care, a date, catching up with friends or talking to other parents of autistic children.

“We’re very grateful for the support of Belfair,” Townes said. “It’s a very generous donation. We feel the Belfair community is made up of many generous people with great hearts who care about putting their money into the local community and nonprofits.”

When it comes to making a positive impact in the local community, Louis and other residents of Belfair are stepping up to the service line and hitting a winner. “We’re all volunteers,” Louis said. “It’s a community pride effort. As members of the community, we ought to give back to charities that need support.”

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