EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Nikki Haley’s foundation raised $411,000 last year

ashain@thestate.comNovember 24, 2013 

  • Top donors The top 10 contributors to Gov. Nikki Haley’s The Original Six Foundation, which collected $411,333 in 2012-13.

    1. Haley’s 2011 S.C. Inaugural Committee – $205,595

    2. Wal-Mart – $25,100

    3. Fluor Corp. – $25,000

    4. Cox Industries – $24,800

    5. Nikki Haley – $20,000

    6. Anita Zucker – $15,000

    7. Verizon – $15,162

    8. McKissick Family Foundation – $15,000

    9. Dupre’s Catering – $7,500

    10. Ben Arnold-Sunbelt Beverage Co. – $5,313

    SOURCE: The Original Six Foundation

— Gov. Nikki Haley gave her charitable foundation $225,000 – a little more than half of the total it raised in its most recent fiscal year, according to a new nonprofit filing.

Haley contributed $205,595 left over from her 2011 inaugural events to The Original Six Foundation, according to the nonprofit’s Internal Revenue Service filing. Haley promised to give the leftover money to the community-building foundation when she started it that same year.

The governor also donated $20,000 personally to the foundation, according to The Original Six’s latest IRS filing, which covers July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. Haley previously had contributed $100,000 to the foundation, money that came from the first advance payment for her autobiography, “Can’t Is Not an Option.”

Haley has promised to give the foundation her $550,000 advance from the autobiography, after deducting taxes and expenses.

Based on her 2011 and 2012 personal income tax returns, Haley netted at least $209,481 from the book – nearly $90,000 more than what she has contributed to the foundation so far.

The governor plans to donate that money in the near future, her spokesman said. She also is due to receive another book advance payment that will go to the foundation..

The Original Six Foundation, which has sponsored job, education and health fairs in seven counties with the state’s highest unemployment rates, had $307,285 on hand as of June 30 – up by more than $250,000 from the year before. Haley, the foundation’s chairwoman, attends the fairs and mingles with parents, retirees and children.

The group raised $411,333 during its fiscal year. Nearly 8 percent of total came from “in-kind” donations – when goods or services, instead of cash, were contributed, according to the nonprofit’s filing.

The biggest contributors after Haley’s inaugural committee were giant retailer Wal-Mart, construction heavyweight Fluor Corp. and Cox Industries, which is operated by Haley’s former high school classmate, the foundation reported.

Other significant contributors included: Anita Zucker, the wealthiest person in the state, according to Forbes magazine; wireless carrier Verizon; the McKissick Family Foundation, run by textile operator Smyth McKissick; and Ben Arnold-Sunbelt Beverage Co.

Many of the bigger Original Six contributors last year also have given to Haley’s campaigns.

The foundation’s 20 largest donors combined to contribute $67,500 to Haley’s 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial campaigns, state records show.

McKissick, Zucker, Ben Arnold chief financial officer Mike Sisk and Cox Industries chief executive Mikee Johnson – all of whom gave to Haley’s campaigns, personally or through their companies – sit on the foundation’s board.

The foundation’s expenses were $146,592 last year – including its director’s salary, management fees and costs for supplies at its county events, director Casey Pash said. Four events were held last year in Marlboro, Bamberg, Barnwell, and Clarendon counties. The group also spent $20,000 on a digital sign in Allendale County that promotes community events.

The Original Six wants to be a “catalyst for change by uniting public, private and civic leaders and resources to identify and address the challenging issues facing South Carolina’s communities,” the foundation’s mission statement reads.

More than 5,500 people have attended The Original Six Foundation’s job fairs, education sessions and health screenings, which included vaccinations and dental checkups, Pash said. The group also raffles bikes, serves free lunches and holds free baby showers at the one-day county events.

The foundation gets its name from a nickname for Haley’s six-member family – her parents, who immigrated from India, and their four children.

Johnson, the foundation’s vice chairman, said The Original Six showed residents in the state’s hardest-hit areas that “someone cared about the situation they were in.”

After an event in Dillon County, the foundation plans to move into more targeted projects, such as activities for latchkey kids in Marion County and substance abuse assistance in Allendale County, Johnson said.

“We want to get some vibrancy and energy to these counties that would encourage development and positive traction,” he said.

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