August 31, 2017

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina celebrates 20 years fighting poverty in 2016 annual report

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is celebrating 20 years of strategically using resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership. The foundation’s recently released 2016 annual report highlights accomplishments in 2016 and over the past 20 years.

In 20 years, the foundation has made 2,210 grants in all 46 counties in South Carolina totaling $62 million in the areas of education, social services and health. In 2016, the foundation made 167 grants totaling more than $2 million.

In the annual report president’s letter, Board Chair Gerald Smalls and President Tom Keith said, “As we mark our 20th Anniversary, we reflect on the many lives that have been touched by the scope of our work. Through our grantmaking efforts, expanded advocacy and strategic initiatives, dedication to strengthening the leadership of nonprofits across the state, and support of the dedicated Women Religious serving in South Carolina, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to being not only a supportive presence but a force for change in addressing issues surrounding poverty in South Carolina.”

The annual report also showcases multiple grantee highlights—stories that demonstrate the impact the foundation is having across its focus areas. One of those stories appears below.

Vital Aging Faces Challenges with Heart

Nonprofits inevitably face challenges that are out of their hands. Whether it be an economic downturn or a lack of resources, at some point all nonprofits are forced to weather the storm and continue serving their community.

Vital Aging of Williamsburg County has done its fair share of weathering the storm—three, to be exact. Vital Aging was severely impacted by the ice storm of 2014, the historic flood in 2015 and the effects of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Throughout all of this, Vital Aging was able to continue its reach to the elderly of Williamsburg County.

Vital Aging promotes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of Williamsburg County’s senior citizens. Services are provided with a framework of love, understanding and respect to allow an opportunity for mature adults to continue their lives with meaning and purpose. The overall goal of the agency’s services are to give low income seniors the tools that they need to remain healthy and happy in their homes, and reduce the cost/need of skilled or long-term care.

As a Caritas grantee, Vital Aging uses their Foundation funding to provide nutritional and balanced meals for the homebound residents over the age of 75 of Williamsburg County.

“Our participants are living on less than $800 a month, live alone with little to no familial contact in homes of fair to poor condition, often lack transportation and experience one or more chronic conditions,” said Robert Welch, executive director.

The delivery of these meals proved to be a significant challenge during the recent natural disasters S.C. has witnessed. Currently, 250 homebound seniors receive five blast-frozen meals each week delivered by nine staff-assisted routes and one volunteer route. Not only were these routes made impossible by broken bridges, but many seniors were without power and unable to store their frozen meals for the week.

The demand for this program, especially in times of crisis, has grown in the last year with more seniors accessing the agency’s services than ever. Census data from the S.C. Budget and Control Board Statistical Abstract shows that the Williamsburg County’s overall population has decreased every year since 2010 to a 2016 estimate of 31,955. According to this same source, the county’s 60 and older population was 22.6% of the county’s population in 2012, but is now 27% of the county’s population. With an ever increasing senior population, the demands for the agency’s services continue to grow.

In addition to home delivered meals, Vital Aging offers homemaker services, which provides light housekeeping assistance such as errands and shopping, and three wellness centers for use, which provide lunch in a group setting and activities to stimulate the aging individual.

To learn more about the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, read the complete annual report here. The foundation is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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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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