The Bishop Gadsden Charitable Fund, which began in 2018, allows residents and employee team members the opportunity to help residents in the Bishop Gadsden Community who require financial assistance as well as assist nonprofit organizations in the Charleston community. The Charitable Fund primarily supports our residents, and once those funds are distributed, the remaining amount is dispersed in the Charleston community. The Charitable Fund offered a more formalized process of the Bishop Gadsden outreach program, established by residents in 2000, and has distributed with more than $2.7 million to Charleston area charitable organizations.
Each year, Bishop Gadsden involves residents in the process of choosing which organizations will receive grants from the Charitable Fund. The process, spearheaded by our Nonprofit Selection Subcommittee under the Charitable Mission Committee, begins with Bishop Gadsden asking residents to nominate organizations they would like to receive a grant application. Each nominated organization receives a Charitable Fund Grant application. Once the application deadline is here, the Nonprofit Selection Subcommittee meets to go over applications and choose the finalists.
Once the finalists are selected, those organizations receive an invitation to present their grant proposals to the residents of Bishop Gadsden. Based on these presentations, residents have the opportunity to vote on the finalists, who will then become a grant recipient.
In 2019, the residents chose Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic, Ronald McDonald House, and Sea Island Water Wellness in the large grant category, and Friends of Fisher House, One80 Place, and Sea Island Habitat for Humanity in the medium grant category. Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic received $75,000 and both Ronald McDonald House and Sea Island Water Wellness received $65,000. In the medium category, both Friends of Fisher House and Sea Island Habitat for Humanity received $20,000 and One80 Place received $25,715 which included funds raised by employee team members.
Progress of 2018 Recipients
One year has passed for our 2018 recipients, which means each of the four recipients from 2018 has seen the impacts of their 2018 Charitable Fund grant, which was distributed in February of 2019. In 2018, the Charitable Fund grant recipients were Vantage Point Foundation, Lowcountry Food Bank, Sea Island Habitat for Humanity, and Turning Leaf.
This past year, Vantage Point Foundation was able to take its $109,000 grant to develop Leadership Development Courses (LDC) for veterans in the Lowcountry. These courses help launch veterans into their One-Year Transition Program. The award was initially funding two LDCs, but the amount of interest in the courses created the need for a third section of the course. The Charitable Fund grant provided the funds to make the third section a success and allow Vantage Point to reach more veterans.
Lowcountry Food Bank received $38,000 to go toward its BackPack Buddies program. For those enrolled, this program discretely provides food for school-aged children by placing four pounds of food in each backpack to take home for the weekend. In 2019, Lowcountry Food Bank was able to serve 2,087 students in 31 schools throughout the Lowcountry, resulting in 10,000 backpacks filled. Overall, the Lowcountry Food Bank gave out 40,000 pounds of nutritious food in 2019.
Sea Island Habitat for Humanity received $38,000 from the Charitable Fund for construction of one of their 18 homes in the Heritage Oaks neighborhood on James Island. The grant helped continue their goal of helping to complete their Heritage Oaks neighborhood, but also enabled a Bishop Gadsden employee team member to achieve her goal of homeownership for her and her nine-year-old son.
In 2019, Turning Leaf was able to put their $38,000 grant to enroll eight additional men into their program, which serves men who are recently released from incarceration. This program involves four months of daily support by attending classes Monday through Friday, along with group therapy and individual counseling sessions. In 2019, Turning Leaf had a total of 50 men enrolled in their program, which meant for a successful and impactful year.
Bishop Gadsden is thrilled to help our fellow nonprofits in the Charleston community, and we are excited to see how our 2019 grant recipients will grow and positively affect Charleston.