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Helping Young People Get Ahead

In 2006, Colonel Lew Ballington, together with the South Carolina Arms Collectors Association, created a scholarship fund for dependents of current or deceased members of the Association. Their goal was simple: to help young people get ahead in life.

The South Carolina Arms Collectors Association is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote the lawful collection, possession, study and enjoyment of firearms, other weapons and related items, both antique and modern. The Association works to promote safe and lawful use of firearms through public exhibitions. Their scholarship provides academic scholarships to members, or dependents of members, of the Association

In 2013, the Association created an endowed scholarship fund at the Community Foundation, as Colonel Ballington says, “to make sure we were doing business the way it should be done.” Since then, the Foundation has provided guidance and support to the Association, helping to manage the scholarship process.

With its scholarship fund, SC Arms Collectors Association seeks to reward students who make academic progress and display civic responsibility through involvement in their community. It also takes financial hardship into account when making selections. The SC Arms Collectors Association’s scholarships has touched many lives, awarding 21 scholarships totaling $19,250 since the fund’s inception. Colonel Ballington recalls one scholarship recipient in particular, a bright young woman whose father had passed away and whose mother was very sick, and how the scholarship helped made college possible for her.

Yet it is clear that the scholarship has impacted not only the lives of those that receive from it, but those who created it. When asked about his experience with giving, Colonel Ballington says that he doesn’t expect anything in return, but that he has developed a true appreciation of what young people can do. Now, thanks to his generosity, and the generosity of the SC Arms Collectors Association, more students in our community will have the resources to reach their great potential.

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