2014 Best of Philanthropy Award Recipients Announced

October 1, 2014

Central Carolina Community Foundation and Columbia Metropolitan Magazine will recognize the recipients of the 2014 Best of Philanthropy Awards on Thursday, November 13 at 701 Whaley at 6:00 p.m. The community is invited to join in the celebration of these individuals, businesses and groups who have made significant contributions to our community, demonstrating the true meaning and value helping others.

Each year, nominations are accepted from the community, and winners are chosen in four categories: individual/ family, group, student/student group and local business. The Community Foundation presents the winners at its Annual Celebration and awards a $1,000 grant to each winner’s charity of choice.

Tickets to the Best of Philanthropy Awards are $50 each and include cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres at 6:00 p.m. followed by the awards presentation at 7:00 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit our Eventbrite page. 

This year’s winners are:

Individual/Family Champion:  Michelle James

For over four year now, Michelle James has been changing the lives of children through Prosperity Project, a nonprofit focused on aiding the spiritual and educational development of children living in the Lyon Street Community. Through Prosperity Project’s education programs, student grades have improved by 40% and 50 children are kept off the street each week.  Michelle James’s work has touched and changed the lives of many children, giving them hope within their uncertain futures.

Local Business Champion:  Kenneth Shuler- Kenneth Shuler Schools of Cosmetology

Each year, hundreds of individuals are trained at Kenneth Shuler’s seven cosmetology schools across the state of South Carolina, many of whom are recipients of scholarships created by Kenneth to help lighten the load of tuition. In addition to empowering individuals to achieve their dream of being a cosmetologist, Kenneth Shuler impacts the community through engaging his employees and students to give back as well. Each year, all seven schools fundraise for local charities by holding back- to- school supply drives, adopting local families during the holidays, donating wigs to local hospitals, and hosting free haircut days for the homeless, expanding their philanthropic reach even further.

Group Champion:  Heart ‘n Soul Band

Six year ago, a group of local musicians who had each performed in various bands throughout the 50’s and 60’s, came together and formed Heart ‘n Soul Band. Band members themselves receive no remunerations for their time and talent and donate all of their net proceeds, after minimal expenses, to charities the band chooses to honor. The band’s motto of “having fun while giving back,” exemplifies their commitment to using one’s time and talents to enhance the lives of the Midlands community members. Over the last six years, the band has donated over $122,000 directly to charities in the Midlands. In addition, the band frequently plays at events for charities and has helped raise funds exceeding $2,000,000.00 for their various causes.

Student Group Champions:  Richland Northeast High School HOPE 365

H.O.P.E 365 (Helping Other People Everywhere 365) is a service organization at Richland Northeast High School that works to meet the needs of the Midlands community. Comprised of over 200 students from various backgrounds, the students focus on showing people that giving of their time is just as important as giving of money or goods. Over the course of this past year, the students worked together to contribute over 1,000 coats to the homeless, 600 toys to Palmetto Children’s Hospital, 200 pints of blood to the American Red Cross and numerous other drives to local charities. In addition to helping local charities, the students work tirelessly year-round to manage the school’s clothing closet and food pantry.

Share with your followers!

Stories of Philanthropy