COLUMBIA, SC – October 23, 2012 – Central Carolina Community Foundation and Columbia Metropolitan Magazine will recognize the recipients of the 2012 Best of Philanthropy Awards at an awards gala on Thursday, November 1 at 701 Whaley. The community is invited to join in the recognition of these individuals, groups and families who have made significant contributions to our community, demonstrating the true meaning and value in helping others.
Tickets to the Best of Philanthropy Awards are $50 each and include cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. followed by the awards presentation at 7:30 p.m. To register, visit www.yourfoundation.org. This year’s winners are:
Local Business Winner: Kenneth Long, owner of Long’s Drugs
Long’s Drugs is committed to the betterment of the communities in which it does business. This community support includes statewide sponsorships of Special Olympics; organizations that serve the mentally ill like the Mental Illness Recovery Center (MIRCI) and sponsoring the largest group of walkers at the annual National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) walk; and healthcare organizations such as assisting the Florence Health Center with their annual event, contributing to Palmetto Health Foundation’s annual breast cancer event, and generously supporting the Babcock Center Foundation with both monetary support and volunteers.
Student Group Winner: Airport High School Student Government
Since 2004, Airport High School’s student government has organized an annual 10-day charity drive week of more than 50 events that benefits CAMP KEMO Programs of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. In addition to sponsoring the charity drive week, student government enlists the support of Airport High School’s 1,400 students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as the West Columbia community. In 2012, Airport High School raised more than $41,000 for CAMP KEMO Programs. Overall, during the past eight years, these students have raised more than $167,000, making Airport High School CAMP KEMO’s second highest donor.
Group Winner: The CASA Quarterbacks
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Quarterbacks is a group of committed men who are trained volunteer Guardians ad Litem for maltreated children in Richland County. CASA Quarterbacks began in 2007 with only 13 men and has grown to an army of more than 100 men dedicated to advocating for abused children. Their fresh approach to recruiting male volunteer Guardians ad Litem has proven effective, efficient and easily transferable to other entities, bringing the CASA Quarterback male recruitment model recognition by National CASA as a Best Practice. The CASA Quarterbacks have trained more than 3,000 people across the country on how to recruit male guardians. Most notably, since January 2010 the Richland County CASA Quarterbacks have ensured that 100 percent of children in Richland County whose interest is before the Family Court for issues involving child abuse has had a volunteer Guardian ad Litem.
Family Winner: The Gué Family
After many successful years of medical and nursing careers in Orangeburg, Dr. Bert Gué and Ms. Jeanne Gué, MSN, with assistance from the Regional Medical Center, were instrumental in establishing a medical clinic to provide care to the medically underserved population in Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties. They applied their knowledge and skills in the medical and nursing fields to help those in need. Services are provided through a free standing clinic to persons who are uninsured, low income and whose household income is 200% below the federal poverty level. The clinic is now a medical home for more than 600 patients. Dr. and Mrs. Gué’s diligent work to pursue new avenues for fundraising, seek new volunteers and advocates has sustained the clinic for the last three and a half years and has raised more than $508,000.
Individual Winner: Cynthia Byrd
After Cynthia Byrd’s youngest son, Brandon, died in an automobile accident she turned her grief into an effort to meet the needs of other people’s children through a philosophy that she calls Remembering Through Giving. A single mother working two jobs, Byrd started with a school supply drive at Seven Oaks Elementary School that garnered more than 3,000 school supply items and raised $1,000 to purchase new books. She then embarked on a mission to honor her son’s memory by soliciting more than 500 individual, small gifts for Richland County Public Library. To address a need in the community for family-centered events, she organizes an annual fashion and talent show to engage African-American youth by focusing on their strengths. In addition, she has established a college scholarship fund in her son’s memory that has enabled 10 college freshmen since 2011 to receive scholarships.