Lowcountry Strong: Family pledging to match $500K in donations to Coastal Community Foundation

Lowcountry Strong: Family pledging to match $500K in donations to Coastal Community Foundation

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Several weeks ago, the Coastal Community Foundation, in partnership with the area United Ways, set up a COVID-19 Recovery and Relief Fund designed to award grants to local nonprofits helping during the coronavirus crisis.

Blackbaud founder Tony Bakker, his wife, Linda, and their two children, James Bakker and Katy Bakker McKee, pledged Tuesday to match donations of up to $500,000 to the COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund through April 20.

“That’s $1 million, if we can raise the money, that would go directly to relief and recovery here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina,” Coastal Community Foundation President and CEO Darrin Goss said.

If the goal is reached in the next two weeks, that will bring the fund’s total to at least $1.5 million, all of which will go directly to the nonprofits working on providing medical care, food access, financial support and more to those most impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in coastal South Carolina.

"Many of the outstanding nonprofit organizations in our area that support the most vulnerable amongst us will be overwhelmed and will need all the financial support they can get," Tony Bakker said. "Coastal Community Foundation has managed the Bakker Family Fund for 20 years, and we believe that no organization is better placed to collect donations and distribute them to those nonprofits most in need."

“We think this crisis is going to have some long-term impacts,” Goss said. “That’s where the recovery part of the fund comes in. And this gift from the Bakker’s will allow us to respond not only to immediate needs, which we are doing, but well into the future of this crisis as this lingers on.”

With a record number of South Carolinians applying for unemployment benefits amid the pandemic, it's expected that more people will rely on nonprofit services for fresh food and other necessities for the duration of the social distancing period. The COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund aims to help nonprofits quickly meet that increased demand.

The first round of grants from the COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund of Coastal Community Foundation, totaling $90,000, have been awarded to support nonprofits expanding food access, providing shelter to children and supporting small businesses throughout coastal South Carolina in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the grant recipients so far:

  • Lowcountry Food Bank, serving all nine coastal counties of South Carolina, was awarded $50,000 to purchase at least 17,000 pounds of shelf-stable food; provide at least 1,100 food assistance boxes to its 275 partner agencies throughout South Carolina, and support weekend hunger-relief backpacks and School Pantry boxes for students.
  • The Carolina Youth Development Center, serving Berkeley and Charleston counties, was awarded $10,000 to increase direct care staff at its group homes for displaced children. The nonprofit is accepting up to 29 more children upon referral from DSS — almost doubling its current population and significantly increasing CYDC's need for staffing.
  • Second Helpings — serving Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper Counties — typically feeds nearly 20,000 people per week with donated food from restaurants and grocery stores. Those donations have been reduced by half over the past few weeks due to the pandemic. The nonprofit was awarded $15,000 to purchase nonperishable food and sanitation supplies to continue serving people in need.
  • Conway Downtown Alive in Horry County has been awarded $15,000 to provide direct, one-time relief payments to up to 70 employees of independent hospitality businesses in downtown Conway. More workers in Horry County have applied for unemployment benefits than any other county in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

The second round of grants totaling $100,000 will be awarded in the next few days.

“We tend to believe that if you are still blessed and fortunate enough to have a paycheck, no dollar amount is insignificant,” Goss said. “We know is through the midst of any crisis, the small dollar donations from people who care make a big difference.”

The Covid-19 Relief & Recovery Fund is a regional, collaborative effort led by Coastal Community Foundation and supported by Black River United Way, the Chapin Foundation, Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Trident United Way, United Way of Horry County, United Way of the Lowcountry and Waccamaw Community Foundation.

This fund is designed to make grants only to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, and groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization. This is a rolling process, and applications will be accepted as they come in. Donations can be made securely online with a credit card here.

Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create vibrant communities by uniting people and investing resources across Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry and Jasper counties. To learn more, visit www.coastalcommunityfoundation.org or call 843-723-3635.

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