Letters to the Editor

Nonprofits Seek New Funding

As financially tight times grind on, nonprofits throughout the area continue to feel the squeeze as they struggle to provide vital services. Even as they lose funding, organizations such as food pantries have increased numbers of people needing help. Many organizations thus are caught in the cruel paradox of having more clients and fewer dollars. In such a situation, venerable fundraisers are even more important and new sources of revenue must be found.

Local governments such as the city of Myrtle Beach are forced to reduce or eliminate grants to nonprofits; even the Grand Strand Humane Society Animal Shelter in Myrtle Beach, which has a contract with the city, is facing a reduction of $27,000 from its $200,000 city grant. Citizens Against Spouse Abuse, for example, faces a $5,400 reduction to $34,600. Horry County in 2009 effectively eliminated financial support to private nonprofits.

The Coastal S.C. Chapter of the American Red Cross, denied city money for the second year, netted close to $3,000 from a yard sale and added a Princess Parade to its heroes program. Angela Nicholas, chief executive of the chapter, says she was "disappointed, certainly, but not surprised" that the city denied a request to help finance disaster relief, which includes responding to home fires. "We'll just have to move on," she says. The chapter's 16th annual golf tournament is coming up Aug. 7.

One innovative fundraiser is "Signature Sleighs" of the Horry County Arts and Cultural Council, in partnership with the city of Myrtle Beach and The Market Common. Sandi Kendrick, executive director of the council, is working on finding sponsors for the third year of the program. The city constructs full-size replicas of 1800s Russian sleighs. Artists paint the sleighs and receive a stipend for their work. The sleighs are displayed after Thanksgiving at The Market Common, which provides the materials. Sponsors own the sleighs after the holidays. Kendrick says three sleighs will be done this year, the same number as in 2009. Signature Sleighs is gaining momentum. Besides new money for the council - "we are always looking for new funding" - the sleighs create "public awareness, which gives the organization value in the community."

Saturday in Wilmington, N.C., the Historic Wilmington Foundation will benefit from a unique fundraiser. Gregory Chandler and Bill Robertson are selling a substantial portion of a collection of antique furniture including Wedgwood and other china, lead crystal decanters, framed art, chandeliers and antique rugs. The foundation will receive a portion of the proceeds. Granted, such an opportunity is rare, but the benefit for the foundation perhaps provides a fundraising idea for another nonprofit or a community-minded collector.

Also in Wilmington, the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross raised more than $37,000 at the 29th annual Red Cross Gala and Auction, illustrating the increasing importance of established fundraisers. The Cape Fear Chapter serves five N.C. counties including Brunswick.

The 23rd annual Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach golf tournament on June 19 raised $12,000, which was a better result than in 2009, although not as much as raised in previous years. An improvement over last year, however, is encouraging, as area nonprofits strive to replace lost money.