Together SC, the state’s network of nonprofit organizations has announced four new board members elected by its nonprofit member organizations from across South Carolina.
They include Nicole Echols, executive director of the Pee Dee Branch of Harvest Hope Food Bank in Florence; John Hart III, executive director of Good Samaritan Medical Clinic, in Chester; Amanda Lawrence, vice president for Community Impact at Trident United Way serving Charleston, Dorchester and Berkley counties; and Ann Warner, CEO of Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network (WREN) headquartered in Columbia.
Together SC’s 15-person statewide board of directors elected Monroe Free, president of Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County, board chair. Joining Free in leading the organization is Sherrie Snipes-Williams, who leads Charleston Promise Neighborhood and was elected vice-chair; Nate Barber, Sr. Vice President of Community Development for South State Bank, who was elected as treasurer; and Melanie Huggins, Executive Director of Richland Library, who is an immediate past chair.
Free’s longtime service to Together SC and the nonprofit sector includes 11 years of leading Habitat Greenville and his prior work as 2019 Nonprofit Summit chair. Free also helped develop Together SC’s 2020 strategic plan that aims to further nonprofit and philanthropic organizations as integral players in successfully building vibrant, equitable communities. Since March, the organization has worked tirelessly on guiding its members through COVID-19 response and recovery.
“So many nonprofits work on the front lines addressing the impacts of the pandemic and the existing underlying inequities in health, education, housing and financial opportunity that hold back so many South Carolinians,” Free says. “As nonprofits advocate for those they serve, so must Together SC advocate for the needs of nonprofits themselves.”
In response to the racial unrest of this summer and the pandemic, the organization is building upon its 2019 Summit focus on “Facing Race Together” and pledges to help the nonprofit community advance racial equity. New programming includes Removing Our Blinders, monthly conversations to help understand racial inequities, and its much needed Black Nonprofits Leaders Group. The organization’s commitment to helping members tackle issues of racial inequities is one reason leaders are stepping up for board service.
“As a native South Carolinian and a nonprofit leader of color who’s been working to build a community for over 20 years, I am excited about Together SC’s commitment and intentionality in supporting leaders of color,” said Sherrie Snipes-Williams. “Far more focus is placed on minorities as receivers of services and their deficits, rather than as innovative, impactful leaders in developing community solutions. It’s time we changed that. That’s why I said yes to helping lead Together SC.”
Recently, Together SC, in collaboration with the College of Charleston’s Riley Center for Livable Communities, released the results of a statewide survey revealing the pandemic’s impact on nonprofit organizations. It illustrates the need for governmental funding as 63 percent of the survey’s 566 respondents can only survive six months or less without additional funding.
Together SC has also been working on legislation to reauthorize charitable raffles that provide a critical fundraising tool for groups large and small. Again, that decision should be made this week. Stay up to date on these and other critical issues impacting community organizations at www.togethersc.org/blog.
Learn more about Together SC at www.togethersc.org.