SC Ports awards $30,000 to nonprofits, schools

JOC Staff | Oct 11, 2013, 8:56 AM EDT

Charleston, S.C. - The South Carolina Ports Authority has awarded $30,000 in undesignated funds to nonprofits and the Charleston County School District as part of its Community Giving program.

The Community Giving program rewards nonprofits that impact maritime commerce, economic development, environmental awareness or community outreach, and this year's winners are engaged in projects to protect Lowcountry habitats, engage at-risk students and support the arts in Charleston.

"Our mission at the port goes beyond driving commerce and economic development for the state of South Carolina," said South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome. "These and many other organizations are yielding great results in our community, and our Community Giving program gives us the opportunity to partner with outstanding nonprofits that work daily to better the environment, economy and society."

For more information about the Community Giving program, please visit

This year's recipients are:

American Red Cross

The Red Cross received a $2,000 award for its Heroes of Fire Victims program, which provides disaster assistance for families who are displaced by fire.

"Victims of home fires are often left without shelter, food, clothing, medications and more," said Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO for the American Red Cross. "The American Red Cross provides resources to meet our neighbors' immediate needs after a blaze, and we work with victims on a long-term recovery strategy as well. We are grateful to the South Carolina Ports Authority for its Community Giving award; it is only through the generosity of the Port and others in our community that the Red Cross is on the scene to assist home fire victims in their darkest hours."

Avian Conservation Center

The Avian Conservation Center received a $2,000 award for its Lowcountry Conservation Initiative. Funds will be used to support medical and veterinary staff and other components of the initiative. The Avian Conservation Center also runs The Center for Birds of Prey.

"We are grateful to be a part of the SCPA's Community Giving program and proud that it recognizes the Center's educational and environmental work as important to the vitality of the Lowcountry and South Carolina," said Jim Elliott, founder and executive director of the Avian Conservation Center and its principle operating division, The Center for Birds of Prey.

Charleston County School District

The school district received a $1,000 award to support An Evening with the Stars, an event to honor the area's outstanding teachers and help raise funds for the Charleston Educator Symposium.

"We are most appreciative to the South Carolina Ports Authority for its contribution to Charleston County School District's An Evening with the Stars event," said Anita Huggins, director for the district's Office of Teacher Effectiveness. "As a result of SCPA's generosity, we will be able to honor outstanding educators who are working daily to elevate the achievement of all students and close the achievement gap."

Charleston Symphony Orchestra

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra received a $1,000 award to help fund its 2013-2014 Concert Series, which will feature six masterworks, four pops concerts and 30 chamber concerts.

"The Charleston Symphony Orchestra is grateful for the support of the SC Ports Authority," said Monica Jenks, director of development for the orchestra. "This critical support enables us to accomplish our mission of providing musical performances and educational opportunities of the highest caliber to the Charleston area and beyond."

Charleston Waterkeeper

The Charleston Waterkeeper received a $2,000 award for its Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program, which tests bacteria levels in Lowcountry waterways.

"Charleston Waterkeeper greatly appreciates the South Carolina Ports Authority's support of our Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program," said Andrew Wunderley, program director and staff attorney for Charleston Waterkeeper. "The program regularly tests bacteria levels in local waterways so the public can determine where it's safe for activities like swimming, SUPing, kayaking and sailing."

Charleston Women in International Trade

Charleston Women in International Trade received a $1,000 award for its annual meeting and another $1,000 award for its Auction under a Harvest Moon. The awards help fund scholarships for college-bound students.

"Charleston Women in International Trade would like to thank the SCPA for the sponsorship," said English Struth, vice chair for CWIT. "This important contribution allows CWIT to continue to support its mission and programs, such as awarding $9,000 in student scholarships, funding for candidate training at the College of Charleston for preparation of the Certified Global Business Professional credential examination, mentoring, Woman-of-the-Year and monthly professional development events."

Chucktown Squash

Chucktown Squash received a $1,000 award to provide academic supplies for its after-school tutoring program.

"Chucktown Squash greatly appreciates the South Carolina Ports Authority Community Giving Program's generous donation of $1,000 for academic supplies to be used during the one-on-one tutoring Chucktown Squash provides its students each day at the College of Charleston," said Sam Candler, executive director for Chucktown Squash. "The Ports Authority's contribution will help ensure the Chucktown Squash students have the tools necessary to recognize their full academic potential as they develop into outstanding scholars, athletes and community members."

Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools received a $2,000 award to support its drop-out prevention efforts and help fund specialists in area schools who work with at-risk students.

"Communities In Schools is honored to be a recipient of funding support from the South Carolina Ports Authority," said Jane Riley-Gambrell, executive director for Communities In Schools of the Charleston Area. "This support will enable us to continue providing the range of services that help our students stay in school and achieve success."

GrowFood Carolina

Growfood Carolina received a $2,000 award to support its efforts to distribute local produce.

"We're very thankful to receive the SCSPA Community Giving Award!" said Sara Clow, general manager of GrowFood Carolina. "Fostering a vibrant local food system is one of the most important things for a community to focus on and invest in and the SCPA is visionary in understanding this mission."

Lowcountry Open Land Trust

Lowcountry Open Land Trust received a $2,000 award to support the Lowcountry Conservation Initiative and another $2,000 award to support The Angel Oak Preserve. The funds for the initiative will be used to expand land protections in Lowcountry watersheds, while the Angel Oak Preserve award will go toward purchasing the 17-acre site.

"We are grateful to the South Carolina Ports Authority for their support of the The Angel Oak Preserve and the Lowcountry Conservation Initiative," said Elizabeth Hagood, executive director for Lowcountry Open Land Trust. "Their support will allow the land trust to continue to protect the irreplaceable and critically important lands of the Lowcountry."

March of Dimes

The South Carolina chapter of the March of Dimes received a $1,000 award to help fund its Real Estate Breakfast honoring Keith Summey. Proceeds raised at the breakfast go toward educating new moms about prenatal care.

"The March of Dimes is honored to be a recipient," said Meredith Repik, executive director for the South Carolina chapter of March of Dimes. "Our mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, infant mortality and premature birth, and locally we have funded over $1 million in the past four years to research in our backyard at MUSC. Thank you so much for this gift, it allows more babies to be born healthy and on-time"

New Carolina

New Carolina received a $2,000 award for its Transform SC education learning platform, which provides a database of experts and other resources to create collaboration between the business community and educators.

"South Carolina has a world-class port system that is the cornerstone of economic growth and global competitiveness in our state," said Laura McKinney, deputy executive director for New Carolina. "The port and the companies it serves must have a workforce with the knowledge and skills to meet their high standards. New Carolina is thrilled, on behalf of Transform SC, to be the recipient of the S.C. Ports Authority's Community Giving Award, which will help our schools meet those needs."

PURE Theatre

PURE Theatre received a $1,000 award to support its upcoming theatre season.

"We at PURE Theatre are thrilled to have been selected a recipient of a Community Giving award from the South Carolina Ports Authority," said Laurens Wilson, managing director for PURE Theatre. "It certainly means a great deal to have an organization like SCPA recognize the work we do. PURE uses our Core Ensemble of professionally trained theatre artists to bring the most exciting and dynamic work of the contemporary theatre to the Charleston community. We very much appreciate SCPA's commitment to PURE and the greater Charleston arts community."

Push-Up & Up

Push-Up & Up received a $2,000 award to support its drop-out prevention efforts for local students.

"We are honored that the SCPA Community Giving program has chosen to support Push-Up & Up and our mission for dropout prevention among at-risk youth," said Mindelle Ziff, co-chair of Push-Up & Up. "This generous gift kicks off the fundraising campaign for our 2014 Push-Up & Up Challenge on May 3rd at Marion Square. We encourage other businesses to join as event sponsors and with corporate teams to promote employee wellness and team-building. Thank you for helping us push-up at-risk students in South Carolina!"

Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition

The Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition received a $1,000 award to help educate stakeholders about the wind industry in South Carolina and the state's assets that could help grow the industry.

"The Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition is proud to have the support of the South Carolina Ports Authority as we work to bring the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy to the Southeast," said Brian O'Hara, president for SECWC. "We believe South Carolina's ports are well-positioned to attract new business from this growing industry."

Water Missions International

Water Missions International received a $2,000 award for its Lessons in a Bucket program, which teaches students about the global water crisis, the importance of water and ways to conserve water.

"We are honored to receive our first-ever community outreach grant from the South Carolina Ports Authority to help fund Water Missions International's Educators' Think Tank initiative, Lessons in a Bucket," said Molly Greene, co-founder and chairman of the board at Water Missions International. "Lessons in a Bucket activities teach about the science of safe water, resource management and the global water crisis across academic disciplines. This grant allows us to print additional free teaching resources and distribute them to educators throughout tri-county schools. We are amazed at how students immediately want to make a difference once they learn about the severity of the global water crisis."

World Trade Center Charleston

World Trade Center Charleston received a $2,000 grant for its Metro Export Initiative, which has a goal of boosting the Lowcountry's export capacity.

"World Trade Center Charleston is delighted to be a recipient of the South Carolina Ports Authority Community Grant," said Pennie Bingham, executive director for the World Trade Center Charleston. "Your support is instrumental in the implementation of the Metro Charleston Export Plan - enabling our region to increase our export intensity, the number of companies exporting and job growth."

About the South Carolina State Ports Authority

The South Carolina State Ports Authority, established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at more than $63 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year. For more information, visit