Nikki Grumbine is passionate about protecting Greenville’s iconic centerpiece, the Reedy River. Since 2007, she has worked with the conservation group Friends of the Reedy River, including four years as president. The mission of FoRR is to protect and restore the Reedy, which is classified as an “urban stressed” river. FoRR advocates for responsible development as Greenville grows.
Grumbine also supports FoRR and other local environmental nonprofits financially. Just as with her volunteering, she wants her money to be as effective as possible to do the most good. When stock she owned reached its peak value, her investment advisor suggested donating the stock rather than pay the resulting capital gains incurred by selling the stock. Grumbine and her husband chose to donate the appreciated stock to the Community Foundation of Greenville and establish a donor-advised fund.
“When clients like Nikki and Allen use appreciated securities to establish a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation of Greenville, they are taking full advantage of the charitable income tax deduction in a manner that allows them to schedule distributions over the course of many years,” said Bob Morris, CFG president.
“When you donate stock to a donor-advised fund, the fund gets the full value of the stock, without incurring tax liabilities,” Grumbine says. “In my mind it’s truly a win-win situation. We’re thrilled, because now we have the full value of the donated stocks to support any and all charitable organizations we choose.”
After years of involvement with the local environmental community, the Grumbines are acutely aware of how difficult it is to raise funds for conservation and environmental causes, so they’ve chosen the environment as the primary target for their charitable giving from their donor-advised fund. In addition to FoRR, they have supported local and state nonprofits like Upstate Forever, Naturaland Trust, Lake Conestee Nature Park, South Carolina Environmental Law Project and Conservation Voters of SC.
“There’s no lack of the need for environmental protection, but other critical needs like social services get more attention,” Grumbine says. “Sometimes environmental issues are difficult to understand. For example, stormwater runoff — rain from rooftops and parking lots — may seem harmless, but the sudden rush of polluted stormwater into a river causes riverbank erosion and loss of wildlife habitat, and degrades water quality. One of Friends of the Reedy River’s primary missions is to educate the community on the importance of stormwater management, offering suggestions to the city and private developers on ways to slow down the flush of stormwater.”
By speaking to schools and other interested groups, FoRR educates the community on ways to maintain a healthy river ecosystem, and why it is so important. Serving as “the voice of the river,” FoRR advocates for adequate regulation to protect water quality. They sponsor several volunteer river cleanups a year to allow the community to see firsthand the degradation of the river caused by trash and pollutants entering the waterway.
Grumbine took the reins of FoRR during a difficult time for the group. “I took the challenge,” she says. “FoRR is an organization that has one focus — the Reedy River. We all know that the downtown waterfalls and development of Falls Park was the economic engine and driver of the downtown renaissance. But I can show you sections of the river that we would be embarrassed for others to see. We focus on these neglected and degraded parts and do our best to revitalize them. It’s not a mighty river, but it’s our river and it needs our help. Just like our motto says, ‘Our River, Our Responsibility’.”