Community Foundation gives $600,000 to four nonprofits

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The Community Foundation of Greenville gave a total of $600,000 in anniversary grants on Sept. 8 to four local nonprofits in celebration of the foundation’s 60th anniversary. The organizations include the Greenville Center for Creative Arts, Camperdown Academy, the Greenville Free Medical Clinic and the S.C. Children’s Theatre.

“We decided to give $100,000 for each decade,” says Sue Priester, vice chair of the Community Foundation’s board and the chair of the 60th anniversary grant committee.

“We wanted projects that would be transformative to take the nonprofits to a new place and expand the mission,” Priester says. “We wanted to find organizations that could use this funding, ideally, by 2018 and that could leverage our grant to attract other grants.”

The Community Foundation gave $100,000 to the Greenville Center for Creative Arts, which is located in the historic Brandon Mill in the Village of West Greenville. The arts center opened in 2015 and now plans to buy the mill building to make its home permanent, Priester says.

Camperdown Academy, which works with children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, received $125,000. Camperdown Academy plans to double its space with a new building. In addition, one of the academy’s board members offered a 50 percent match to the Community Foundation, which will increase the gift by more than $60,000.

Also in celebration of its 60th year, the Community Foundation gave $125,000 to the Greenville Free Medical Clinic. Founded in 1987, the free clinic has primary care services at its downtown Greenville location, as well as satellites in Greer, Simpsonville and Berea, but it “didn’t have the ability to offer specialty care at the satellites,” Priester says. “We’re helping to fund a comprehensive array of medical services.” The funding will help cover the costs of new equipment, supplies and new technology.

The S.C. Children’s Theatre will receive $250,000. Serving 43,000 children and families in the Upstate, the Children’s Theatre plans to build a new $10 million performance, education and administrative center on Augusta Street. The Community Foundation funding will go toward construction of the 34,000-square-foot facility with a 300-seat theater. “They have an opportunity to buy property next to their existing facility, and they’re in the beginning phase of their capital campaign, so we feel this grant will be a big spur to attracting new money,” Priester says. “It’s time for the theater to have its own home.”

The Community Foundation is one of more than 700 community foundations nationwide. These philanthropic groups were designed to pool donations to improve a specific place. “One of our goals is to grow the philanthropic community of Greenville,” Priester says. “When it’s expensive and harder for government to provide services, we look to philanthropy to do so much.”

The foundation’s first grant after it was formed in the mid-1950s was to fund a survey of the county’s water, sewer and fire protection needs, laying the groundwork for residential and commercial growth in the 1970s. Later, the foundation funded the county’s first mass immunization campaign to protect children from polio, measles, tetanus and other diseases.

The foundation has two grant application deadlines this fall, including a 4 p.m., Sept. 30, 2016 deadline for the Walter D. Johnson Trust Grants and a midnight Oct. 2, 2016 deadline for the Capacity Building Grants.

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