From its inception in 2000 and its first grants in 2003, the Bunnelle Foundation has invested over $26 million in improving the quality of life for all Georgetown County residents to achieve the vision of a community with abundant opportunity for healthy, safe and sustainable living.
In 2020 the Bunnelle Foundation funded 82 different organizations that support Georgetown County and help the Foundation meet its mission to improve the quality of life for Georgetown County residents. In February we hosted our second P2PSC event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. This career expo is targeted to 8th grade students from 8 counties including: Georgetown, Horry, Williamsburg, Darlington, Dillon, Marlboro, Marion and Florence. 7,000 students attended the event which featured 125 employers from all across the region. And then in March the world shut down in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. The Bunnelle offices converted to working virtually and all in person activities were cancelled or transferred to Zoom. In response to the pandemic the Foundation was one of the first donors to the Coastal Community Foundation Relief and Recovery fund. We also developed COVID response grants in response to data gathered from our grantees via a survey. Although it was the Foundation’s 20th anniversary, all celebrations were canceled. Palmetto Giving Day went forward as planned on the first Tuesday in May, but without any type of in-person event. Because it was always designed to be an online effort, going ahead as planned seemed like the best choice. 52 organizations collectively raised more than $1.6M in funding over a 36 hour period. It was an enormous success and a real tribute to the 52 participating organizations, Team Bunnelle and the community of donors who stepped up to support these critically important organizations. All of our grantmaking cycles continued as scheduled but site visits were converted to virtual events. Common Issues/Common Threads continued its quarterly training sessions virtually and learned that by doing so we could reach a broader audience since travel time was no longer an issue.
In 2019 the Bunnelle Foundation supported 82 different entities that support Georgetown County in the Foundation’s five mission areas of: Meeting Basic Human Needs, Addressing the Root Causes of Poverty, Encouraging Positive Youth Development, Preserving the Environment and Promoting Economic Vitality. The nonprofit community was also supported by quarterly training lunch and learn sessions called Common Issues/Common Threads. The third Palmetto Giving Day on the first Tuesday in May was an unquestioned success with 48 organizations joining to raise a total of $1.2M in a single day through online donations. The inaugural Pathways to Possibilities career expo was hosted at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in February due to a weather delay imposed by Hurricane Florence the previous Fall. Dubbed P2PSC, the target audience for this ambitious event was 8th graders from seven counties: Georgetown, Williamsburg, Horry, Dillon, Marlboro, Marion and Florence. In all, over 5,600 8th graders connected with over 100 employers who told the story of how an education now can build a pathway to a paycheck later on. Also, the first Youth Board grants were made in 2019.
In 2018, the Bunnelle Foundation awarded over $1.4 million in grants to 80 different organizations that support Georgetown County in the areas that meet the Bunnelle mission. Palmetto Giving Day continued to be a huge success, and benefited organizations that work in Georgetown County to the tune of over $1.1 million! The Foundation launched a partnership with Coastal Carolina University to support interns for the Georgetown RISE program. The pilot program for this three-year grant was funded by a Bunnelle Mini-Grant the previous year. In 2018 there were 8 Spring Interns and 9 Summer Interns who worked in Georgetown County businesses. The first Bunnelle Youth Board was established this year with 15 Juniors and Seniors from Georgetown County High Schools serving two year terms. Youth Board members learn leadership through philanthropy and will award grants in 2019.
In 2017, the Bunnelle Foundation awarded over $1.6 million in grants to 81 different organizations that support Georgetown County in the areas that meet the Bunnelle mission. The Foundation was proud to support the first Palmetto Giving Day with matching funds and administrative support. Over $676,000 was raised in one day through online giving to support 33 different organizations that work in Georgetown County. The Foundation established Sustaining Grants that support 24 different nonprofit organizations with three-year non-competitive grants for general operating support. As we move forward with our Education to Career initiative, we will be focusing more of the Foundation’s efforts and resources into those projects that fall in the intersection between positive youth development and promoting economic vitality as we work to form partnerships that will help create opportunity in Georgetown County. Also in 2017, the Foundation purchased a large building in the Pawleys Business Center and relocated its offices there. There is now expanded meeting space available to nonprofits serving Georgetown County.
In 2016, the Bunnelle Foundation awarded over 1.7 million dollars in grants to 73 organizations serving Georgetown County residents. The 2016 Lowcountry Giving Day provided over $150,000 in matching funds to participating organizations as they continue to excel in soliciting online donations. Changes were made to the Common Good grant program that would align our giving more closely with the overall strategy of making an impact at the intersection of positive youth development and promoting economic vitality.
In 2015, the Bunnelle Foundation awarded over 1.8 million dollars in grants. Bunnelle provided an incentive match to Georgetown County nonprofits participating in the 2015 Lowcountry Giving Day. Through this matching opportunity, over $140,000 was awarded to organizations in an effort to build their online presence in a fundraising capacity. The Mini Grants program was further expanded in 2015, offering greater funding to a larger number of organizations.