Bunnelle Foundation in Georgetown awards $352,033 in grants

Twenty-one nonprofits working to improve Georgetown County residents’ quality of life have been awarded a total of $352,033 in Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation “Grants for the Common Good.”

Geales Sands, the foundation’s executive director, says in announcing the grants that they are in two areas of the Bunnelle Foundation’s “goal of improving the quality of life for our county’s residents.” The current awards are for “Addressing the Root Causes of Poverty” and “Encouraging Positive Youth Development.”

Recipients of $20,000 grants in addressing the causes of poverty are the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, Miss Ruby’s Kids, and Nurse-Family Partnership. The Salvation Army was awarded $19,000.

In the youth development area, nine recipients of $20,000 awards include The Mitney Project, which operates a community center in the city of Georgetown West End.

“We are a community revitalization organization,” says executive director Leslie Di Mitri. “We teach critical life skills” in areas of education to sharpen career opportunities, computer skills, and health and wellness.

The center, opened in December 2013, has a physician on staff and a computer lab which helped 500 people complete income tax returns. Di Mitri anticipates that the center’s programs will serve “close to 1,000” people in 2015, including more than 200 children. “We more than doubled” the estimated 400 served in 2014.

Mitney is a West End term for child, Di Mitri says. The Mitney Project began in 2008, with some programs in the Howard building, formerly an all-black high school.

The other recipients of $20,000 youth development grants are: Bible Way Community Learning Center; Cultural Council of Georgetown County; Friends of Coastal South Carolina; Pawleys Island Child Development Center; St. Christopher’s Children; Teach My People; The J.O.Y. School; The Village Group.

The J.O.Y. School for many years has provided a summer program for special needs children from Pawleys Island Presbyterian Church. “It’s a great program serving a great need,” says Amy Downing, Bunnelle Foundation program officer. Teach My People, also in Pawleys Island, has after school and summer programs for kids selected by the school district. “They do amazing things empowering kids to do what they’re capable of.”

The Village Group started in Plantersville and serves up to 200 students from the county in summer water safety and academic programs taught by Duke University students.

The additional eight youth development grant recipients and amounts are: Freedom Readers, $8,000; Hugs for Horses, $15,000; Little Smurf’s Child Development Center, $10,000; Optimism Preventive Services, Inc., $16,500; Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art, $5,000; Pee Dee Community Project, $13,000; S.O.S. Health Care, $9,600; SC DNR Marine Education Program, $15,933.

Since its start in 2003, the Bunnelle Foundation has awarded more than $19 million. Twice a year, Georgetown County nonprofits may apply for “grants for the common good.” The next competitive cycle of grants address three more Bunnelle Foundation mission areas, “Promoting Economic Vitality,” “Preserving the Environment and “Meeting Basic Human Needs.”

Frances Peace Bunnelle, who lived in Pawleys Island until her death in 2003, also designated annual, noncompetitive gifts to two of her favorite nonprofits, Tara Hall Home for Boys and St. Frances Animal Center in Georgetown.

[hed]Next grant cycle

deadline July 9

Nonprofits working in “Promoting Economic Vitality,” “Preserving the Environment and “Meeting Basic Human Needs” may apply for the next competitive cycle of Bunnelle Foundation grants. The deadline is July 9.

Online | www.bunnelle.org

Phone | 843-237-1222

email | Executive director Geales Sands: gsands@bunnelle.org or Program officer Amy Downing: adowning@bunnelle.org