For more than 20 years, The Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area has provided millions of dollars in grants to local nonprofit groups for a variety of worthy causes, ranging from Golden Harvest Food Bank to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta to the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art.
The local impact of this foundation has been truly remarkable.
In fact, ever since The Community Foundation first began back in 1996, this publicly supported charitable organization has granted more than $91.8 million to nonprofits throughout Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie, Burke, Aiken and Edgefield counties.
While the Board of Directors of The Community Foundation is preparing to announce its 2019 Unrestricted Grant Recipients for the upcoming year on Friday, Dec. 7, the Foundation has come up with another way to further encourage the community to help some deserving local nonprofits.
“We always have so many applicants each year applying for a grant,” said Rebecca Wallace, the director of Grants and Community Engagement for The Community Foundation for the CSRA. “For example, this year we will be giving out 47 grants, but I had 113 applicants. And those 113 applicants were the ones who made it through to getting site visits, so I actually had a lot more than 113. We always have more applicants than we can resource. So we are trying to be more creative and come up with ways we can help these nonprofits.”
The Community Foundation is promoting a local campaign called “Grant an Extra Wish,” which will help provide about 45 local nonprofits with the funding for small requests that they currently can’t afford through their discretionary funds.
“While all of our nonprofits have missions that they do each day, they also have things that they would really like to have that would make it easier for them to do their work on a day-to-day basis,” Wallace said. “But for a nonprofit, those items are very unattainable, most of the time.”
Many nonprofits have to stick to their basic necessities to keep the organization up and running, she said.
“Their money has to keep the lights on, and it has to serve their mission,” Wallace said. “The last thing they can afford to buy are those special wishes. And so that’s why we decided to reach out to them and ask them, ‘If you could get something from someone — and it isn’t something that you could easily budget for, but you do really need it — what would that be?’”
In a way, this list of “extra wishes” is both a wants and a needs list because these requested items would truly impact thousands of clients served by these nonprofit organizations each year, Wallace said.
“What we said to the nonprofits is, the maximum amount that we wanted to see them ask for was one item or a combination of things that wouldn’t be more than $2,500,” Wallace said. “So they could ask for one thing that was $2,500, or they could ask for little things that added up to $2,500.”
The requested items from the nonprofits ranged from wishes such as $10 Uber gift cards to help their clients get to job interviews or medical appointments to a $2,500 request by Action Ministries Inc., to replace flooring in the organization’s community room, Wallace said.
“Those items are just some things that are hard for nonprofits to afford, and yet they can really make an impact,” Wallace said, adding that one of the most common requests from the nonprofit agencies was for updated technology such as new computers. “Technology is so hard to budget for, especially with the short lifespan of computers these days.”
New technology can open a lot of doors for local nonprofits and their clients, she said.
“Now, I know that some people might look at those wishes and say, ‘Well, I would like a new computer, too.’ But the reality is, if you have a mission like tutoring kids, you’ve got to have the right technology these days to accomplish it,” Wallace said. “These are tools that they need to properly provide those services.”
Wallace also wanted to stress that all of the nonprofits that submitted a “wish” request have been fully evaluated by The Community Foundation and were specifically selected because of their commitment to improving this region.
Some of the local nonprofits that have submitted wishes include Storyland Theatre, Augusta CSRA Habitat for Humanity, MACH Academy Inc., Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue, Catholic Social Services of Augusta and Westobou.
“These are all nonprofits who have applied through us before, and we have invited them to be a part of this wish list,” Wallace said. “They have been vetted, and we know they are doing good work and we know they have their 501(c)(3). So people don’t have to worry or wonder, ‘If I give money to this, what’s going to happen to it?’”
The “Grant an Extra Wish” campaign will run through the entire month of December and the first week of January, Wallace said.
“The way it works is, the money will come to us, the Foundation, but we will literally turn it around and get it right to the nonprofit agency,” she said. “The agency then will be sending us documentation showing that they purchased what the actual donation was meant for, so there will be checks and balances there.”
One of The Community Foundation’s goals is to help promote local philanthropy on both a large and a small scale, and this campaign is a way to achieve that goal, Wallace said.
“A lot of times when people think of philanthropy and The Community Foundation, they think of people who have a lot of money,” Wallace said. “And, certainly, we do have people who do generously give out a large amount of money through us. But we have all kinds of donors throughout the community.”
In fact, Wallace said she recently encouraged her own grandchildren to participate in making a donation to the extra wish campaign.
“I gave each of my grandchildren a little bit of money that they could go on The Community Foundation’s website and pick out a nonprofit that they wanted to give to,” Wallace said. “I know of several other people who have done this, too, because it’s starting to teach that philanthropy at a really young age. So, my grandchildren can go online and they can read through the wishes of these nonprofits and say, ‘I want to give $25 to buy cat food for abandoned kittens.’ Or, ‘I want to buy new shoes for children.’ It means a lot.”
While this is the first year that The Community Foundation has offered the extra wish campaign, Wallace hopes it will continue to grow for many years to come.
“For us, even if it’s just connecting people, that’s a big deal,” she said. “For instance, maybe someone can’t afford to donate any money, but they may read about one of the nonprofits and reach out to that organization and try to volunteer for them. There are other ways of giving even if you don’t have the dollars to give.”
The whole goal is to provide worthy nonprofits with a little boost at the end of the year, she said.
“Our hope is that over the years that we will really be able to build on this and in future Christmases we will see more and more people wanting to be involved,” she said. “Because with wishes ranging from as small as $10 to $2,500, there really is something in there for everybody.”
The following is a list of some of the wishes requested by the local nonprofits. For the complete list, visit cfcsra.org/Holiday-Wish-List
Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art
Founded in 1937, the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art is Augusta’s only independent nonprofit visual arts school and contemporary art gallery. Its mission is to provide opportunities for visual arts education and to develop visual arts awareness and appreciation throughout the greater Augusta community. The institute offers year-round contemporary exhibitions, professionally taught studio art classes and outreach to disadvantaged youths.
$152 – Crayola Watercolor Pencils, Class Pack of 240, Crayola Watercolor Pan Sets, Class Pack of 24 Sets
$999 – 13″ MacBook Air
$1,349 – Brent C Pottery Wheel
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area
Augusta Canal NHA Inc’s. mission is to preserve, protect and interpret the canal’s man-made and natural environments through historic preservation, interpretation, education, recreation, conservation and economic development along the canal. The Augusta Canal NHA offers students Georgia Department of Education Standards-based field trips for all grades, serving about 9,000 students annually.
$373 – Miroir – SURGE SERIES Wireless Smart DLP Projector – Black
$499 – HP – Pavilion x360 2-in-1 14″ Touch-Screen Laptop – Intel Core i3 – 8GB Memory – 500GB Hard Drive – Natural Silver, Ash Silver Vertical Brushed
$1,100 – LG – 70″ Class – LED – UK6570PUB Series – 2160p – Smart – 4K UHD TV with HDR
Communities in Schools
Communities In Schools surrounds students with a community of support to empower them to be successful in school and achieve in life. For too many children, challenges outside the classroom, like hunger, poor health or trauma at home, stand in the way of their success inside the classroom. This program combines a caring adult and the effective use of metrics and evidence-based strategies and programs to drive positive, measurable outcomes for the students.
$10 each/$100 total – Mastercards to use for Transportation, for students and parents seeking medical care
$20 each/’$500 total – Wal-Mart or Target gift cards, to use for students in need of basic items such as food, clothing, shoes, hygiene items or school supplies
$50 each/$1,500 total – Wal-Mart or Target gift cards, to use to purchase “Christmas” gifts for identified disadvantaged children (one set of clothes to include a shirt and pants, one book to read, one age/gender appropriate toy)
Storyland Theatre presents live performances by adults of locally written, original plays and musicals for CSRA children. Audiences include socio-economically disadvantaged students who wouldn’t regularly be able to attend these performances, but the theater offers student discounts and helps the local schools with bus costs.
$156 – Two lavalier microphones
$336 each/$1,008 total – Wireless Bodypack Transmitters
$636 each/$1,272 total – Two Wireless Receivers
Augusta Westobou Festival
Westobou’s mission is to build community and inspire cultural change through engaging, creative and thought-provoking artistic experiences. Westobou accomplishes its mission through its annual five-day festival in the fall, which celebrates visual arts, music, dance, film and spoken word, as well as through Westobou Gallery, a contemporary gallery open year-round.
$260 each/$520 total – iRobot Braava 380t Robot Mops for Westobou Gallery cleaning
$419 – Refrigerator/freezer for use at Westobou Gallery
$775 each/$1,550 total – Two iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuums for Westobou Gallery cleaning. The gallery contains 2,000+ square feet of wood floors that takes staff approximately two hours a week to clean.
100 Black Men
The 100 Black Men of Augusta Inc. is a nonprofit organization of volunteers who mentor primarily African-American children and youths from underserved communities. Its mission is to improve the lives within the community and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African-Americans. Mentoring is the foundation, which facilitates a one-on-one and group mentoring program that includes economic empowerment, education, health and wellness and leadership development.
$500 each/$2,500 total – Five laptop computers for graduating seniors
Dance Augusta d.b.a. Colton Ballet Company of Augusta
Colton Ballet Company is the dynamic vision of Ron and Zanne Colton, Bon Ellis and a host of devoted volunteers and parents. Annually, it produces “The Nutcracker” and a Spring Repertory, and provides educational outreach services to children throughout the CSRA. In-school demonstrations, A Nutcracker Tea Party, and “The Nutcracker” outreach program, held at the Imperial Theatre, increases awareness of the arts and dance in the community.
$50 – To help build a new angel costume
$75 – To help design and build a new snow costume
$100 – To help build a new set
Family Connection of Columbia County d.b.a. CCCC
Columbia County Community Connections is part of the statewide Family Connection network that builds partnerships, finds resources and implements programs serving children and families. Its vision is for all children to be safe, healthy, educated and part of a stable, self-sufficient family in a thriving community. CCCC is a United Way agency building bridges to a brighter future.
$25 each/$500 total – Food gift cards to give to homeless families and children in need
$25 each/$500 total – Gas cards to give to families or youths in need to be able to get to work or to apply for jobs
$50 each/$1,000 total – UBER/LYFT Cards for youths in our homeless program, to help them get to jobs or college, doctor’s appointments, counseling sessions, etc. These cards are a tremendous help to keep young people involved in the programs that are helping them toward self-sufficiency.
GA-Carolina Council Boy Scouts of America
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
$45 each/$450 total – Ten Lifetime brand six-foot folding tables
$100 each/$300 total -Three office chairs with adjustable arms for Scout Office Support Staff
$146 each/$1,460 total – Ten (four-pack) Lifetime folding chairs
Heritage Academy is a nonprofit, private Christian K-8 school in Augusta with a specific calling to downtown Augusta and the surrounding areas to break the cycle of poverty and give every student the opportunity for an excellent, innovative and affordable Christian education.
$500 – For Singapore Math Manipulatives
$1,000 – Art supplies
$1,000 – Purchase of middle school enhancement
Laces4Love provides athletic shoes and socks to elementary aged children in Aiken, Edgefield, Lexington, McCormick and Saluda counties. It also provides shoes for preschool aged children in head-start programs in the counties listed above. Laces4Love began in 2002, providing shoes to students in three elementary schools in Aiken county. In 2018, Laces4Love provided more than 1,500 pairs of shoes to needy children.
$15 each/$1,500 total – athletic shoes for children
$500 – socks for children
MACH Academy Inc.
MACH Academy Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides year-round programs, services after school, weekend programs and special spring and summer camp sessions. Programming includes: Tutoring/Academic Support, (STEM), CODING, Life Skills Development, Tennis/Fitness Instruction, Career Exploration/ College Prep. Participants are ages 3 to 18 and MACH Academy welcomes anyone regardless of age, race, gender, disability or financial income. The focus demographics are inner city, disadvantaged youth, and low- and moderate-income families.
$300 each/$2,400 total – 8 – Apple 9.7 iPads to use with the STEM and CODING Hands on Learning Sessions.
Community Medical Clinic of Aiken County
The Community Medical Clinic of Aiken County provides free health care and medications to the uninsured and low-income residents of Aiken County who have a qualifying chronic health condition. The clinic exists to serve those who are often turned away, making certain that each person who walks through our doors receives the quality care he or she deserves. The medical clinic prides itself on providing quality health care to empower its patients.
$398 – Alcohol swabs
$450 – Relion Prime Meters
$1,620 – Relion Prime Test Strips
Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue
Old Fella is an animal rescue that takes in strays, pregnant females, nursing mothers with pups and abandoned or unwanted cats as well as dogs. Commonly the rescue takes in more than 900 animals per year. Once fully vetted, socialized and in good health, these animals are transported to a “no-kill” partner rescue in Massachusetts.
$145 – 10′ x 10′ roof and shade
$172 – Extra large Igloo dog kennel
$498 – 10′ x 10′ welded wire dog pen
Angelic Community Resource Development
Angelic Community Resource Development Inc. is an organization that specializes in bringing creative ways to educate the CSRA about HIV/AIDS. ACRD, Inc. has been partnering with other local health agencies to bring awareness, education, testing, counseling and peace of mind to the CSRA for the past 15 years.
$350 – Backdrop banner
$650 – Pens and keychains
$700 – 200 T-shirts
Child Advocacy Center of Aiken
Child Advocacy Center of Aiken serves as the central point for direct services for child abuse and neglect cases. It serves children from ages of 2 to 17 years who have been reported to law enforcement or Child Protective Services as being potential victims of child abuse/neglect or witness to violence. Its services include forensic interviews, medical exams, advocacy support for the families and trauma-focused therapy. Their ultimate goal is to help children and their families find hope and healing.
$10 each/$500 total – 50 gift cards from Wal-Mart to help out the families
$500 – For the intern station and a closet
$1,500 – New waiting room flooring needed
The RECing Crew
The RECing Crew provides leisure and recreational programs for those with visual, hearing, intellectual and/or physical disabilities within the CSRA. The program currently serve more than 200 members who participate in art, ballet, baseball, basketball, bowling, chorus, dance, Jazzercise, music, social and tap.
Facebook page: The RECing Crew
$150 each/$450 total – Three free-standing Chrome Adaptive Bowling Ramps for the AlleyCats bowling program. These ramps are perfect for bowlers in wheelchairs, as well as those who have low muscle tone or limited range of motion in their arms.
Child Enrichment’s mission is to provide and coordinate comprehensive intervention, stabilization, prevention and advocacy in the best interests of abused, neglected and abandoned children. The organization provides forensic interviews, individual and group counseling to abuse victims, addresses the needs of children in foster care, and offers support, advocacy and resources to families as they continue the healing process and recover from abuse.
$160 each/$320 total – Two commercial vacuum cleaners
$500 – Refrigerator
$600 – Six waiting room chairs
Historic Augusta Inc.
Historic Augusta is dedicated to preserving historic sites and structures in Augusta-Richmond County. It is a resource for information on historic sites and various programs that are tools for assisting and encouraging property owners to maintain and preserve their historically and architecturally significant places that give Augusta its distinctive character. They also operate the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson as a house museum.
$500 – Sixty scholarships, given for tours of the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson & one additional historic site in Augusta, as well as a “primary source” exercise, all geared to current teaching standards
$1,000 – Paid internship. This would allow Historic Augusta to offer a paid internship to a college student by underwriting a stipend.
Diamonds in the Ruff dba. Kitty Connection
Diamonds in the Ruff’s mission is to rescue cats in the CSRA. It is the only cats-focused rescue in the area. They have just completed six years of operation, with more than 3,400 kitties adopted so far. For each of the past four years, the organization has adopted out more kitties than the Columbia and Richmond county shelters combined.
$25 each/$825 total – Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula dry kitten food
$25 each/$830 total – PetAg PetLac Kitten Milk Replacement
$15 each/$840 total – Fancy Feast Canned Kitten Food “Tender Turkey”
Ronald McDonald House
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families.
$80 each/$320 total – 4 – Cuisinart 17 Piece Knife Block Set
$128 each/$512 total – 4 – Cuisinart 11 piece Chef Classic Post & Pans
$214 each/$1,284 total – 6 – Bean Bag Chairs in black, navy or brown. High strength for use in the family toy room and in the movie room
Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation
Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation helps families of burn patients being treated at the JMS Burn Center Inc. at Doctors Hospital. Celebrating 30 years, The Chavis House provides lodging, daily meals and transportation — all free of charge, relieving financial hardship of being away from home. The foundation firmly believes in the healing power of family close by. They also assist patients upon their discharge with medication, anti-scarring garments and transportation for follow up visits.
$50 each/$150 total – Three Target gift cards. The Burn Foundation’s Shop with a Doc is a magical experience for its youngest burn patients. Pediatric burn survivors are whisked away from the JMS Burn Center via limousine to meet their burn care providers and enjoy a holiday shopping spree with a doctor or nurse.
$20 each/$350 total – Gift cards for gas, Wal-Mart, Target or restaurants. This helps families who are traveling for continued burn treatments.
$2,000 – Can Trailer. Can trailers allow the burn foundation to not only recycle cans but to make approximately $40,000 per year to help their patients and their families.