Georgetown leaders “sweep” nonprofit summit awards

  • Friday, February 28, 2014

  • Updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 3:05 pm

Pictured left to right: Madeleine McGee, SCANPO President; Senator Ray Cleary, Sharon Thomas, Helping Hands Executive Director; Dick Schwab, Helping Hands Board President; Kathy Brown, Helping Hands Fundraising Committee Chair; Fred Sheheen, Francis Marion University Nonprofit Leadership Institute.


CHARLESTON – Sen. Ray Cleary, Pawleys Island resident Carl Falk and Helping Hands executive director Sharon Thomas made Georgetown proud last week. All three were honored at SC’s annual Nonprofit Summit when more than 500 nonprofit leaders and volunteers gathered in Charleston, despite the weather, to share best practices, learn new techniques and recognize leaders.

The South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations (SCANPO), SC’s “chamber of commerce” for nonprofit organizations honored Senator Ray Cleary of Georgetown with the inaugural South Carolina Nonprofits Together. For Good. Advocacy Award.

SCANPO president Madeleine McGee said, “We are blessed to live in a democracy where we can elect representatives whose intent, like that of our nonprofit members, is to “do good,” protect our rights, provide for our collective needs, and advance society. And, as all good politicians know, the only way that ultimately happens is by working together.”

Such was the case last year during the 2013 South Carolina legislative session. With help from elected officials, SCANPO and its partners saw passage of two bills that pave the way for legalizing nonprofit raffles for charitable purposes. Churches and charities throughout the state have tried, unsuccessfully, several times before to make it legal to raise charitable funds through raffles.

This time, thanks to the leadership of Senator Cleary, who authored the necessary bills and saw them through the Senate, and Representative Jim Merrill, who was also honored, SCANPO and its partners prevailed. Collaboration on many fronts brought about this result.

When South Carolina nonprofits next come together in February 2015, it is anticipated that the necessary constitutional amendment on November’s ballot will have passed and the Secretary of State’s office will have registration requirements in place. SCANPO’s 2015 Nonprofit Summit will surely include a session on innovative ways to raise funds with this tool that nonprofits in 46 other states already utilize.

In addition to Cleary, ETV Endowment of South Carolina was honored for its long-term governance and management excellence. Carl Falk, board president, was on hand to accept the Erin Hardwick Award for Nonprofit Excellence, along with Coby Hennecy the Endowment’s executive director.

The award, in its 11th year, was named for SCANPO’s founding executive director, Erin Hardwick, now Erin Pate, upon her retirement. Pate now also resides in Pawleys Island.

“The ETV Endowment truly embodies the spirit of this award,” said McGee. “Their leadership and commitment to this state have set a very high bar for performance. The Endowment demonstrates year after year that it is possible to serve one’s mission with both open hearts and clear heads. Their adherence to exceptional and ethical business practices certainly merits this recognition. They are an outstanding example of a successful public-private partnership that works.”

“We are incredibly proud of our donors, trustees and staff who are committed to fulfilling the Endowment’s mission of supporting ETV and ETV Radio’s exceptional programming,” said Carl Falk, chair of the Endowment’s board of directors. “Since ETV Endowment’s founding in 1977, we have been focused on our mission and have worked diligently to be good stewards of our donors’ contributions. Today’s award honors the hard work of aligning our governance and management practices with the principles we passionately support, and it is truly gratifying.”

Finally, Sharon Clemmons Thomas, executive director and CEO of Helping Hands of Georgetown, Inc., received the Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership given by Francis Marion University’s Nonprofit Leadership Institute and SCANPO. This award recognizes individual excellence in nonprofit management.

“Her passion and dedication to the mission and the unprecedented growth and recognition of the organization during her tenure more than qualifies Thomas for the award”, said the chairman of the Helping Hands board of directors Richard A. Schwab, who nominated her for the recognition.

— Submitted by SCANPO


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