Bertram Rantin

Selfless giving fuels banner fundraising effort

Kate Ferlauto and her son, Lucas make a donation to Innersole Tuesday.
Kate Ferlauto and her son, Lucas make a donation to Innersole Tuesday. BRANTIN@THESTATE.COM

Kate Ferlauto wants her son to know the value of giving. So it was no surprise to find the Columbia resident and her son, Lucas, carefully exploring the various charities assembled at Boyd Plaza in downtown Columbia Tuesday.

The groups were making a collective call for community support during the second Midlands Gives fundraising effort to support local causes, and the two were responding to that call.

“He picked one (charity) and I picked one and we chose one as a family,” Ferlauto said as she made a contribution to Innersole ( The agency aims to reduce the impact of poverty on children through donated shoes). “We wanted to go with the underdog a little bit.”

Few of the 252 participating charities are feeling like underdogs after the 24-hour online campaign raised $1,543,023. The total more than doubled the $704,932 raised during last year’s inaugural effort spearheaded by Central Carolina Community Foundation.

“I’m Speechless,” said Central Carolina president and CEO JoAnn Turnquist. “Collectively, residents in the Midlands know that being a philanthropist can be thrilling – and a great deal of fun.”

Tuesday’s results came on the heels of a spirited social media campaign that saw more than 11,300 donations as many participating groups made individual online pleas to the community for donations.

“It’s a competition, but it's a healthy competition,” said Sharon Earle, a Central Carolina board member and owner of Primerica financial services company. “There also was a great deal of conversation about how the organizations can help each other, in terms of services.”

Dori Tempio of Able South Carolina, which provides independent living services for individuals with disabilities, lauded Midlands Gives for its “inclusive” nature.

“We've gotten to network with some other organizations and see how they work in the community and serve individuals as well,” Tempio said.

Midlands Gives grew out of the national Give Local America initiative that encourages people to make gifts that support vital causes in their local communities.

“We are passionate about connecting donors with opportunities to give, and the more red tape we can remove, the more impact our local nonprofits are able to make here in the Midlands,” Turnquist said.

Next year’s Midlands Gives again will be held early May but a date is not expected to be announced for several weeks.