Volvo, Benefitfocus, Google deliver major contributions

Corporate donations and fundraising efforts continue in large and small ways after the June 17 shooting at Emanuel AME Church that took nine lives.

Volvo Cars of North America and Benefitfocus each contributed $100,000 to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.

Google, which has a data center in Berkeley County, is donating $375,000 to three different funds or groups.

Volvo Cars plans to build a $500 million auto manufacturing plant in Berkeley County near Charleston. Benefitfocus is based on Daniel Island.

Benefitfocus is matching $2 for every $1 its associates donate.

“The families of the victims, the Mother Emanuel AME Church and our entire community suffered an immeasurable loss, and the associates of Benefitfocus extend our deepest condolences to all those affected. You remain in our thoughts and our prayers, and we hope our support will help the families on their path to healing,” Benefitfocus CEO Shawn Jenkins said. “We are thankful to be a part of an amazing community and are inspired by the compassion and generosity that everyone has shown to lift up our neighbors in such a time of need.”

In addition to $75,000 Google previously donated to the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina’s Lowcountry Unity Fund, the company will give $125,000 to the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture to establish an education initiative on race and social justice.

Google is also granting $175,000 toward the construction of the International African-American Museum set to break ground in downtown Charleston in 2017.

Also, Charleston’s hospitality community will come together 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. July 9 at Belmond Charleston Place for a fundraiser called “A Community United” to benefit the families of the church shooting.

More than 50 restaurateurs and beverage purveyors will honor the victims, families and congregation of Emanuel AME Church in the $200-per-ticket gathering in the Grand Ballroom.

The event will include a silent auction, music by The Mark Sterbank Group and the Lowcountry Voices gospel choir, along with a program featuring Charleston and AME church leaders.

The silent auction will include items such as an eight-night Cape Town and safari package worth $30,000, an $8,000 Tuscan holiday in Italy, a $6,500 New York wine-tasting trip, two tickets to the Aspen Food and Wine Festival, dining for two for a year at 52 restaurants in Charleston, and a Southern barbecue for 50 with Chef Sean Brock and hog farmer Tank Jackson on a Wadmalaw plantation.

All proceeds will go directly to the victims’ families, and a financial advisor will be provided. For tickets, go to

Additionally, Atlantic Pest and Termite Management of Charleston will match an employee donation of $1,000 to the church fund and give an additional $1,000. On Friday, its employees wore blue and white, the colors of the South Carolina flag, as a show of solidarity.

In addition, The Post and Courier Foundation will contribute $5,000 to the church in memory of those departed and will match employee contributions from all Evening Post Industries affiliates.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or