Waccamaw Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This community funder provides grants and scholarships in Horry and Georgetown counties in South Carolina. It makes competitive grants twice per year to local groups.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, community benefit, economic development

IP TAKE: New grant seekers should make sure to reach out to discuss their idea before submitting anything. The small staff is accessible and open to communications.

PROFILE: The Waccamaw Community Foundation (WCF) is located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. It is the local community foundation for the region and seeks to build “sustainable philanthropy by connecting donors with causes they care about to strengthen […] communities.” WCF is also an affiliate of the Coastal Community Foundation. The foundation dates back to 1999 when local philanthropists united to help improve the quality of life in Horry and Georgetown Counties.

This foundation has made over $17.8 million in grants since its founding in 1999. The Waccamaw Region is its sole geographic focus. In a recent year, the foundation had nearly $34 million in assets. Current financial data is here.

WCF has a competitive grant program that awards grants two times per year in Horry and Georgetown counties. It accepts applications for competitive grants during the second and fourth quarters of each year. The foundation also awards grants through donor-advised funds—in fact, this is how most WCF grants are awarded. Donor-advised grants do not have open application processes.

New grant seekers’ first step is to contact Kristen Minogue at kristen@mywcf.org to get the process started. WCF has an online application system. The first grant deadline for the year is typically in early January, and the second is in June. The application processes for these deadlines open up in November and April. Only nonprofits with programs and projects that serve Horry and/or Georgetown counties are eligible for grants; groups that have received a grant must wait one year before applying for a new one.

Grants are regularly made through the Elsie Beavers Carver and E. Lois Carver Educational Fund, which supports education for children and is part of the WCF competitive grants program. These grants range from $500 to $5,000. John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund Grants support Horry County grassroots groups and civic innovators to expand economic opportunity and attract talented people to the area. These grants range from $1,000 to $50,000. Waccamaw Community Trust grants are also part of the competitive program and serve a variety of local needs with grants between $500 and $2,500. The foundation also awards scholarships to local students.

There are three staff members at WCF. Karen Minogue is the director of development, Shawna Mosley-Foster is the donor services and office manager, and Kristen Bitzegaio is the program associate. There are also about eight board members at WCF.

Direct general questions to foundation staff at 843-357-4483 or info@mywcf.org. The address is 3655 South Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina 29576. Keep up with foundation on its news page, which is also where grant seekerscan download recent annual reports.

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