“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
1 peter 4:10
It is a verse that closely mirrors the Community Foundation’s definition of philanthropy: sharing one’s gifts of time, talent and treasure to benefit others. It also perfectly describes Ashley and Brian Huff.
“We don’t like to be minimalists,” Brian Huff, describing his and his wife’s giving philosophy, says. “Scripture encourages us to give generously. We strive to follow this example because we enjoy doing so.”
Brian and Ashley support organizations and ministries, like Oliver Gospel Mission, The Free Medical Clinic and Samaritan’s Purse, that meet both local and international needs.
“We are simply stewards of what God has entrusted to us,” says Brian, “and if you are faithful with what God has entrusted to you, He will trust you with more.” Brian and Ashley had found this to be true in their lives.
Brian’s enthusiasm for helping others rings in his voice as he describes the causes that he and Ashley care about most.
“We are particularly passionate about organizations that reach out to youth and young adults such as Adrian Despres of Kingdom Building Ministries,” he says.
Adrian’s ministry reaches thousands of students and young adults each year. Brian also serves as chaplain for the University of South Carolina's football team.
While philanthropy has long been a part of their lives, Brian and Ashley were only recently introduced to the Community Foundation. Maintaining all the records and receipts for their charitable giving had become a challenge.
Brian asked their accountant, Jack Williamson of Williamson & Associates, about creating a foundation through which they could direct their philanthropic gifts. Jack referred him instead to the Community Foundation.
“For us, the Foundation was by far the best alternative to creating a private foundation,” Brian recalls.
“Our donor-advised fund provides us the simplicity of making one large gift for the year and gives us the flexibility to support causes we care about most. There are no more receipts to track down. It really simplifies our life.”
At the Foundation, we proudly help others support their favorite charities, but as our definition of philanthropy shows, giving isn’t just about money. It’s also about sharing one’s time and talents to help others.
Brian, an ophthalmologist, has used his surgical skills on medical missions to Haiti, Nicaragua and El Salvador. He will soon travel to Ecuador. On these missions, a team of ophthalmologists and eye care support staff typically perform 25 to 100 cataract surgeries.
“You can accomplish great things on mission trips,” Brian remarks, “but there is no greater joy than operating on someone who is blind. Within 24 hours of surgery, he or she is able to see, and you are instantly aware of the difference you made in someone’s life.”
These trips also help Brian put his own problems in perspective.
“Visiting these countries and seeing the hardships that others endure is the best recipe for appreciation and contentment I know,” Brian reflects. He encourages others to take a mission trip to a third-world country. “I’ve found it reaffirms my appreciation for the incredible blessings we take for granted every day in America.”
Stories of giving and sharing from families like the Huffs create a philanthropic platform upon which our community will build for generations to come.
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