By Ali Buendo for The Island Connection
In 2017, Kiawah Partners supported more than 70 nonprofit organizations, schools, businesses and community associations with in-kind and monetary donations totaling $431,405. The majority of the charitable gifts were related to improving health and education within the Charleston region.
Some of the larger partnerships in 2017 included providing opportunities for Special Olympics, Medical University of South Carolina, Chase After a Cure, The First Tee, American Heart Association and College of Charleston, among many others.
“It has always been Kiawah Partners’ mission to give back to the community that we are lucky enough to live in,” said Chris Randolph, Partner of Kiawah Partners. “We are proud to not only support these causes with our monetary donations but also with our time. Our executives and employees serve on many non-profit boards throughout the Lowcountry and donate hundreds if not thousands of hours of service to the community.”
In addition to in-kind and monetary donations, one of the other ways that Kiawah Partners shows its support is through hosting charity golf tournaments at the Kiawah Island Club at no cost to the charity.
The John Kresse Invitational is one of the five charity golf tournaments that Kiawah Partners hosts every year. The fundraising event is held on Kiawah Island in October and founded by legendary College of Charleston former basketball coach, John Kresse.
“The College of Charleston is thankful for the extraordinary partnership with Kiawah over the last 13 years,” said John Kresse, former College of Charleston basketball coach and founder of the John Kresse Invitational Golf Tournament. “Without their generous donation of the golf course for our tournament, we would not be able to provide scholarships to hundreds of studentathletes.”
Other organizations that held charity golf tournaments on The River Course in 2017 include:
- Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic
- Boy Scouts of America – Coastal Carolina Council
- Ronald McDonald House
- National Kidney Foundation
The residents on Kiawah Island are also very involved in philanthropy.
One example is Kiawah Island resident, Terry Weaver, co-founder of the Kiawah Women’s Foundation. The foundation is a result of neighbors joining together to support causes across the Lowcountry.
Weaver’s foundation started the Backpack Buddies Program on John’s Island, another cause Kiawah Partners has supported over the years. The program provides healthy, shelf-stable meals for more than 290 children to take home over the weekend in an effort to combat hunger.
“It is refreshing to have neighbors who are also committed to philanthropy,” said Weaver. “We’ve formed special bonds through our volunteerism. It’s one of the many things that brought me to Kiawah, and makes this a more fulfilling place to live.”
Along with the in-kind donations, Kiawah Partners also granted land easements to various community groups and environmental organizations in 2017. Rather than further develop property owned by Kiawah Partners, they agreed to transfer 728 acres to Kiawah Island Community Association (KICA) and the Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy, totaling $5,377,000 in value.
These easements were done with preservation and protection of the natural habitat in mind.
As Kiawah Partners reflect on the positive impact made by their philanthropic partnerships last year, they are motivated get even more involved in the Charleston community this year.
“As we considered our annual budget for 2018, we decided to increase our nonprofit contributions,” said Randolph. “The Lowcountry is important to us, and we always want to play a role in making it better.”