Giving Generously



This spring, when tornadoes ripped through Hampton County and locals lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus, nonprofit giving circle Women in Philanthropy sprang into action. The group that usually serves only Beaufort County needs issued special appeals to its members, who responded generously to both fundraising drives.

WIP Pearls3Margaret McManus, past chair of WIP, lead the effort to partner with PEARLS, a women’s giving circle in Hampton County. On May 16, the WIP group drove two SUVs and two cars loaded with supplies, including sheets, diapers and wipes, toiletries, paper products, cleaning supplies, rugs and tools, plus monetary donations in cash. Other WIP members donated to the PEARLS fund at Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. PEARLS took charge distributing the gifts, which had a total value of $8,553.

“Their level of appreciation ran really deep. They told us stories about people they knew who had really suffered. One minute you have a home and then the next minute you don’t,” McManus said, adding that five people died in the tornadoes and at least 50 families lost their homes.

Women in Philanthropy also conducted a special drive among members that raised $5,000 for COVID-19 relief. The money went to groups directly helping local people affected by the coronavirus.

Since their founding in 2003, the members of Women in Philanthropy have built an endowment of over $1 million and, since 2006, more than $600,000 in grants has been awarded to nonprofit organizations throughout Beaufort County. WIP provides grants in the areas of arts and culture, community development, education, the environment, health and human services.

Elizabeth LodaElizabeth Loda, who assumed the presidency of WIP on July 1, said the organization likes to fund “innovative programs that will hopefully find new ways to solve old problems.” 

This year, nine local organizations received a total of $77,800 from WIP after they submitted applications for projects that related to the theme: “Providing Enrichment and Readiness for At Risk Children.” The group chooses a different theme each year.

Loda, a certified financial planner who lives on Hilton Head Island, said she looks forward to planning field trips where WIP members will visit organizations that have received their grants. Loda replaces outgoing president Kathi Bateson. 

Women in Philanthropy is seeking new members. For membership information call Community Foundation of the Lowcountry at 843-681-9100 and ask for Debbie Cahoon.