We South Carolinians pride ourselves on our regional differences. The history of our state is full of tales of competition between the Upstate, Midlands and Lowcountry.

We even go so far as to celebrate the variations in barbecue sauce that largely adhere to these regional lines.

Beloved sauces aside, our regional differences recede as the rising spirit of philanthropy unites us.

This month, across the state, nonprofit leaders — professionals and volunteers — are coming to together to celebrate the impact of philanthropic leadership.

On Nov. 13, over 450 such leaders gathered in Charleston. Similar events were scheduled in Columbia and Greenville.

The three chapters of the Association of Fundraising Professionals SC (AFP SC) ­— Lowcountry, Central Carolina and Piedmont — are the organizing force behind these inspiring gatherings.

Part of National Philanthropy Day, these lunchtime gatherings allow participating nonprofits to show appreciation for all that has been accomplished in the name of giving.

In Charleston, a relative newcomer to our region, the Boeing Company, was recognized for making nearly $15 million in philanthropic investments in four short years.

Such largess could never have been imagined in 1996 when Jim Fisher of MUSC organized our AFP chapter, and the first Lowcountry Philanthropy Day was held at the Cavallero Restaurant (now an automotive showroom). We thought it glorious that nearly 50 people attended.

There was no doubt whom to honor: Piggly Wiggly, local since forever, and forever to be remembered for its philanthropic leadership and generosity.

Since then, AFP’s annual efforts to recognize and celebrate our philanthropic heroes and their impact have greatly increased our appreciation for the value of giving.

At the heart of every Habitat, Red Cross, Food Bank, Land Trust, United Way, Community Foundation and the myriad of charities that serve our communities, can be found dedicated staff, who, as professional fundraisers, work tirelessly to connect generous donors with vital community needs.

As the “chamber of commerce” for our state’s thousands of nonprofit organizations, the S.C. Association of Nonprofit Organizations (SCANPO) thanks the many AFP leaders across South Carolina for their hard work and vision in creating such events and reminding our communities, our society and our state that the spirit of giving unites us all.

AFP SC leaders are also deeply involved in helping plan the Together For Good, Nonprofit Summit Feb. 10-12, 2014, at the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston.

In its third year, this SCANPO/AFP SC partnership brings the best and the brightest development professionals in South Carolina together to share best practices with leaders from nonprofit organizations large and small, working in big cities and small towns across the state.

While the AFP workshop is just one of many sessions and collaborations that make SCANPO’s summit the leading gathering of nonprofit leaders in South Carolina, we are especially grateful to these development professionals and their willingness to share and collaborate.

These leaders set an example for the entire nonprofit sector and for our state.



S.C. Association of

Nonprofit Organizations

I’on Avenue

Sullivan’s Island