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SC tech pioneer, family to match up to $500K in gifts to coronavirus fund

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Blackbaud (copy) (copy)

Tony Bakker founded Charleston-based software developer Blackbaud Inc. in the 1980s. File/Provided

The founder of one of the Charleston region's largest  technology companies will match up to $500,000 in donations to a coronavirus relief fund that provides grants to coastal nonprofit groups.

The pledge was announced Tuesday by former Blackbaud Inc. CEO Tony Bakker and wife Linda and their children, James Bakker and Katy Bakker McKee.

The matching funds from the family will be available though April 20 to the Coastal Community Foundation's COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund, which was created recently to help nonprofits that provide medical care, food access, financial support and other critical services. 

If the $500,000 pledge is matched, the fund will have raised about $1.5 million.

"This matching grant from the Bakker family not only signals their commitment to coastal South Carolina during this crisis, but encourages others in the community to follow their lead," said Darrin Goss, CEO of Coastal Community Foundation. "We have already begun deploying resources from this fund to support essential nonprofit services, and we will be able to scale up these efforts quickly if we reach this $1 million goal."

Tony Bakker started DanielIsland-based Blackbaud in New York to develop computerized billing systems for schools in the early 1980s. He moved the business to the Charleston region in 1988 and took it public in 2004. Its leading financial software product, Raiser’s Edge, was predominately purchased by fundraising groups and became the industry standard. 

Bakker said in a statement Tuesday that many "outstanding nonprofit organizations in our area that support the most vulnerable amongst us will be overwhelmed and will need all the financial support they can get. Coastal Community Foundation has managed the Bakker Family Fund for 20 years, and we believe that no organization is better placed to collect donations and distribute them to those nonprofits most in need." 

The new relief fund already has awarded grants totaling $90,000 to groups such as the Lowcountry Food Bank. Another round of about $100,000 will be finalized in the next few days, the North Charleston-based foundation said.

Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott

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