COLUMBIA -- S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond urged South Carolinians Wednesday to be knowledgeable about the charities they will donate to this holiday season, as he highlighted this year's "scrooges and angels."

Hammond offered the support of his staff to help residents research charities before they open up their checkbooks.

Giving smart is especially important now, he said.

"We need to make sure every dollar reaches its fullest potential," Hammond said at a ceremony at the Statehouse to recognize 10 angel charities and alert the public to 10 scrooges.

Among this year's angels are Dress for Success Worldwide Inc., which has a chapter in North Charleston, and Metanoia, a community development corporation that serves the Chicora-Cherokee community.

The angels were selected based on a review of financial records.

The charities must give 80 percent or more of their revenue toward their core mission, exist for more than three years, make good use of volunteer labor and receive minimal grant funding, among other standards.

More than 8,000 charities are registered in South Carolina, including many headquartered out-of-state, Hammond said.

Most of the scrooges are located elsewhere in the country, but solicit donations from South Carolinians.

The scrooges were selected based on the low percentage of donations that make it to the people or causes served, and that they tend to use professionally paid fundraisers.

Hammond said the angels represent "shining examples" and noted that charities are recognized only one time on the list, an annual offering for the last 14 years.

Honor Flight South Carolina, based in Columbia, was recognized as an "Honorary Angel" for its work taking World War II veterans on free trips to Washington, D.C.

Dress for Success, based in New York, gives 92.7 percent of its cash to its programs, not overhead.

The organization coaches low-income women on interview skills, resume-writing and networking and gives them an outfit for job-hunting.

Metanoia, which is a biblical word that means repent or turnaround, devotes 88.5 percent of its funds to its mission. One of its flagship programs is Young Leaders, which offers community children help with homework and provides mentoring and companionship.

The faith-based organization also has been involved in recent years with a march to keep the streets safe and a drive to keep a local elementary school open.

It was established in 2001 with the support and guidance of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina.

Marion Aldridge, coordinator for Baptist Fellowship, along with some members of Metanoia's small staff came to the Statehouse for the special ceremony.

"Most people don't know how to pronounce Metanoia, much less know what it is," Aldridge said. "This gives us an opportunity to be seen by the entire state."

This year's scrooges and angels

S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond released the list of the top 10 "angels" and top 10 "scrooges" Wednesday to help residents make smart decisions about what charities to donate to this year.

Hammond's office reviewed financial reports for charities and picked a diverse listing of those that use among the highest and lowest percentages of funds for their causes, as opposed to fundraising efforts and overhead.

Hammond urged residents to research a charity before donating to it by checking out his Web site at or calling 1-888-242-7484.

Here is a listing of this year's angels, their location and the percentage of funds that go toward programs:

Pendleton Place Inc., Greenville 95.0

Trinity Housing Corp., Columbia 93.1

Dress for Success Worldwide, New York 92.7

Palmetto Conservation Foundation, Columbia 90.1

HopeHealth Inc., Florence 89.8

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Dublin, Ohio 89.2

Metanoia, North Charleston 88.5

A Father's Place, Conway 88.1

A Place for Hope Inc., Rock Hill 83.1

Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, Hilton Head Island 82.8

The scrooges, their location and the percentage of funds that go toward programs are:

Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, Arlington, Va. 14.3

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., Southern Conference, Oklahoma City 18.2

International Assoc. of Firefighters, Local 793, Columbia 22.4

Reach Our Children Inc., St. Louis, Mo. 23.5

Cancer Support Services, Dearborn, Mich. 23.6

Police Protective Fund Inc., Los Angeles 23.9

Heart Support of America, Corryton, Tenn. 28.9

Survivors and Victims Empowered, Manheim, Pa., 31.1

United States Public Policy Council, Fairfax, Va. 31.7

National Wheelchair Basketball Assn., Colorado Spr., Colo. 39.5