March 7, 2013

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina president receives leadership award

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina President Tom Keith received the Otis A. Corbitt Leadership and Community Service Award at the 35th Annual Cross Cultural Mental Health and Human Services Conference in Myrtle Beach on March 2, 2013. The award is given for exemplary leadership in human services, community development and education.

This year’s conference focus was on the Culture of Poverty, an issue that Keith knows all too well. As president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, a position he has held since March 1996, he has overseen the awarding of more than $46 million through over 1,500 grants across South Carolina. "Mr. Keith was the unanimous choice of the committee," said Willie Bethune, Cross Cultural Council Board member. "His passion and leadership in working to alleviate poverty is a well known fact in South Carolina."

Thanking each of the conference attendees for the many ways each of them seeks to combat the stereotypes, preconceived ideas and challenges surrounding the issue of poverty, Keith acknowledged the journey taken by the many, not the few. “At the Sisters of Charity Foundation, we have traveled this journey, not as a single foundation, but as a member of a larger team of people putting their energy and passion toward helping those less fortunate.”

Humbled and grateful by this choosing, Keith said, “We who work in the area of poverty don’t see many awards. We do not do this work for recognition. The glory and the recognition we receive comes from on high or from within our hearts. The way I see it, God has given each of us two baskets; one to put things in for ourselves, for perhaps our personal gain, and a second one, to take things out of to give to others; our dollars, our compassion, our love, our dedication, our gifts and skills, and of course our service. “

As Keith thanked all again for his award, he said, “Let us not forget that second basket. Many people would be struggling much more than they are today without it, for it is the most important basket of all.” Foundation Board Chair, Dee Dee Chewning and Board Member Yvonne Tolley Orr were in attendance for the presentation. “This award makes us all proud of the foundation and proud of Tom,” said Chewning. “It makes us thankful to be able to help others and to be recognized for it.”

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is a faith-based organization, deeply rooted in the principles of the Gospel and the traditions of the Catholic Church. As a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, the foundation is committed to addressing the causes and effects of poverty in South Carolina and is dedicated to efforts which help build a sustainable, healthy economy, promote educational success, support stronger families and contribute to long-term community development.

In order to achieve these results, the foundation uses its own resources, including making grants to eligible organizations in South Carolina. The foundation also explores endeavors to mobilize the resources of others, especially through partnerships, to confront the fundamental causes of poverty and reduce its impact in our state.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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