Quick trivia question: Name the band that came out with these hit songs in the 1990s.
- “Let Her Cry”
- “Only Wanna Be with You”
- “I Go Blind”
If you guessed Hootie and the Blowfish, then you’d be right—and possibly the winner of an ill-fitting t-shirt or bar credit at your local pub. But as much I as love to talk about '90s music, today’s story is actually about how the band is awarding grants to nonprofits in South Carolina.
The Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation crossed our radar because it recently gave a total of $90,000 to three charities in South Carolina. Despite its well-known songs, this funder has quietly been giving back to communities in this area since 2000. The band set up a fund at the Central Carolina Community Foundation (CCCF) to administer the grant process, but it has a foundation page on its website with information about its local giving.
The big area of interest for Hootie and the Blowfish is public education in South Carolina. This is the state where the band got its start, and thus far, it’s stuck with causes near and dear to the band members’ hearts. It supports community learning centers, school marching bands and educator training in public schools. Foster care youth, care for children who have been abused or neglected, and school music programs are of particular interest to this funder.
Most recently, the foundation awarded grants to the Carolina Youth Development Center’s Nu House Independent Living Transition House for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care, and Growing Home Southeast’s Community Based Prevention Supportive Services Fund. It also gave support to the Long Bay Symphonic Society for its Musicians in the Schools program. Since inception, the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation has given out over $2.5 million in grants.
The foundation raises most of the money available for grants at an event called “Hootie & the Blowfish Monday after the Golf Tournament.” The golf tournament we’re talking about, here, is none other than the Masters, and the event takes place in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The foundation also hosts an event called Hootie’s Homegrown Roundup every August, which benefits underprivileged kids in the Charleston County School District with school supplies, dental exams and even haircuts.
CCCF handles all the grant administration, evaluation, outreach and distraction for the band. But the band members still play an active role in deciding which local groups receive funding.
The band’s drummer, Jim Sonefeld, said,
Since we first began raising money in the Hootie and the Blowfish name, we’ve not only relied heavily on the kindness of others' giving, but also on a group of knowledgeable people to help us direct that money into the appropriate hands. Combine these people with a huge group of volunteers responsible for running our greatest fundraiser, the Hootie and the Blowfish Monday After the Masters, as well as our annual Back to School Round-up, and our jobs as philanthropists become quite simple. We deeply appreciate the support of all those individuals who’ve helped us continue in our vision of giving.
The best way to keep up with new Hootie and the Blowfish funding opportunities in South Carolina, regardless of your musical taste, is to sign up for the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s email newsletters. This is where you can learn about emerging opportunities for school arts education grants and nonprofit professional development grants. In the past, the foundation has released public announcements about grant opportunities in the springtime. For the best results, keep your proposals focused on leveling the educational playing field for children in South Carolina and giving underprivileged kids the support they need to succeed.