I venture to say the Lowcountry would rank very high nationally if measured by its citizens’ giving per capita. In addition to writing large and small checks, many people in our region donate countless hours of volunteer time to raise money, organize events, direct aid, build homes and provide other services to those in need. Then there are the countless in-kind donations from local businesses and the never-ending coverage by local media of the area’s thriving nonprofit community.
There are no fewer than 99 (soon to expand to 150+) not-for-profit organizations listed alphabetically on the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry’s website, and all are worthy causes to include in your holiday giving. To make a direct donation to any of these organizations doing great work locally, go to thegivingmarketplace.guidestar.org.
These organizations are not the only way our community supports worthy causes. There are 70-plus churches in the Lowcountry, and these congregations also give time, money and support to our neighbors in need. In addition there are a variety of private, family and company foundations and trusts tied to specific causes.
Community wealth is created when people from varied backgrounds share their strengths to advance worthy causes that lift up society. Our enormous community wealth is based on three factors unique to the Lowcountry. For starters, our area is home to a large number of professional retirees, who bring their talents and wealth to every endeavor they undertake. Like building a professional career, effective philanthropy requires time, focused attention and creativity. With free time on their hands, these residents are a true force for good in the Lowcountry. Another less obvious factor is that the Lowcountry tends to attract a certain type of transplant — generally someone not too self-absorbed, with understated substance and intellectual curiosity. This personality type is attracted to hands-on, face-to-face philanthropy to improve local health, education, justice, recreational opportunities and access to the arts. Simply put, Lowcountry residents are good at identifying needs and filling them. And the final factor is the sense of place that the Lowcountry exudes — it just inspires giving. This one is harder to explain: True community-building only occurs when people in the same geographic area feel connected and engaged. If you live in a place that respects nature and fosters cultural diversity and your interaction with fellow citizens is generally positive, it’s easier to feel united with your neighbors and to want to help them. This is the foundation upon which community wealth is built.
In this sense, the Lowcountry is indeed a very special—and wonderful— place.
Over the years, Monthly has had the privilege to help many local nonprofit groups with their marketing efforts — consulting, content, printing, websites, etc. These organizations have included Sea Pines Montessori Academy; Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra; and the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island, which won a national award for its capital campaign — a collaboration with Monthly. Monthly has featured philanthropic people, organizations and events for 25 years. On a personal level, Anuska and Marc Frey contribute and get involved. At their home, they hosted hopeful piano competitors and judges for a decade. Anuska has been the president of the Island School Council for the Arts, and is currently a member of Women in Philanthropy. Marc was part of the previous Mayor’s Vision Task Force effort and has given numerous presentations. Their latest effort is funding and leading our own not-for-profit initiative, ShopMoreLocal.org. The goal of this effort is to help small businesses compete against big-box retailers, and to make consumers aware of the importance of small businesses in our local socio-economic fabric. It has always been rewarding to make a positive impact.