COLUMBIA, SC — Several community members and volunteer groups will be recognized for their service to others during the 2012 Best of Philanthropy Awards.
Central Carolina Community Foundation and Columbia Metropolitan Magazine will hold the annual awards gala tonight at 701 Whaley.
“The Best of Philanthropy Awards give us an opportunity to recognize the everyday philanthropists in our community,” said JoAnn Turnquist, president and chief executive officer of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “This year’s winners remind us that you don’t have to be wealthy to be a philanthropist. You just have to have a giving spirit and the motivation to make a difference in the lives of people around you.”
Kenneth Long is this year’s local business winner.
Long is the owner of Long’s Drugs, and his community outreach includes statewide sponsorships of Special Olympics and organizations that serve the mentally ill including Mental Illness Recovery Center (MIRCI). The store sponsored the largest group of walkers at the annual National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) walk.
Long is a regular contributor to Palmetto Health Foundation’s annual breast cancer walk, and he has provided financial assistance and volunteers to the Babcock Center Foundation.
Dr. Bert and Jeanne Gué, MSC, are this year’s family winner.
After many years in the medical field in Orangeburg, the Gués – with help from a regional medical center – led efforts to create a medical clinic for the medically underserved population in Orangeburg and Calhoun counties.
The clinic, which serves uninsured people and those whose household incomes are significantly below the federal poverty level, is the medical home to more than 600 patients.
Cynthia Byrd is this year’s individual winner.
After the Richland County resident’s youngest son, Brandon, died in an automobile accident, she channeled her grief into efforts to assist other children.
A single mother working two jobs, Byrd held a school supply drive at Seven Oaks Elementary School that gathered more than 3,000 items and raised $1,000 for new books. She later solicited more than 500 small gifts for Richland County Public Library.
Byrd puts on an annual fashion and talent show to engage African-American youth by focusing on their strengths, and she has established a college scholarship fund in her son’s memory to provide scholarships to 10 college freshmen since 2011.
Airport High School Student Government is this year’s group winner.
Since 2004, Airport has organized an annual 10-day charity drive week of more than 50 events to benefit Camp Kemo programs of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. In the past eight years, the students have raised more than $167,000 for Camp Kemo.
The CASA Quarterbacks is this year’s group winner.
Court Appointed Special Advocates Quarterbacks are trained volunteer guardians ad litem for children in Richland County. The group has trained more than 3,000 people nationwide on how to recruit male guardians.
“We applaud each of our winners for identifying a need in the community; gathering the talent and resources to meet that need; and then delivering on their promise to make a difference,” Turnquist said.