Friday Resource: SC Center for Fathers and Families

Recently I’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries from fathers who want assistance with child support or child custody issues. And I have the perfect resource for them, the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families.

Friday Resource-SC Fathers and Families

The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, a statewide nonprofit organization, was founded in 2002 by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. If you are not already familiar with the center, please explore their website.

And, for additional information about the impact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration of Children and Families Office of Family Assistance featured the SC Center for Fathers and Families in a report released in May 2009.

-RFW

Legal Services: 5 Tips to Tap into Grants

Historically, legal service organizations have not been a large beneficiary of grants from community foundations.  At the last South Carolina Access to Justice Commission meeting, Tom Keith from Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina (Sisters of Charity) and Mac Bennett from United Way of the Midlands  (UWay) provided insight into this practice as well as information to change it.

One obstacle for many legal service providers is geography.  Sisters of Charity is the only statewide community foundation in South Carolina.  Most community foundations in South Carolina limit the grant award to specific geographic regions.  This presents a problem for entities that provide statewide legal services.

Another reason for the lack of funding from community foundations is the failure to ask.  According to Tom Keith, in the last 10 years, Sisters of Charity has received only 10 requests from legal service organizations. 

Despite the prohibitions for statewide legal service providers, the need for legal services is currently on the rise. 

Mac Bennett reported that United Way of the Midlands recently interviewed approximately 1500 people in a local Bi-Lo parking lot to learn how the economy was affecting them and what they were struggling with the most.  The 3rd highest indicator of need with people earning less than $25,000 a year was the need for legal services.  This survey reflects a need for legal service organizations to more effectively communicate to community foundations when seeking grants. 

Here are the FIVE TIPS from Tom and Mac:

  1. Educate the foundation throughout the year.  Do not wait until it is time to ask for funding to notify the foundation about who you are.  Send the foundation newsletters, brochures, links to websites—anything that will introduce your organization to the foundation before the funding request is due.  Foster a relationship with the foundation PRIOR to your request.
  2. State measurable outcomes in your request.  Community foundations want to know that their money will make a tangible difference in the life of your organization and those you serve.  The more numbers you can track and report,  the better.
  3. Clearly state the need.  Be specific about the need(s) the grant will address.  Clearly state who you are going to serve and the impact their dollars will make. 
  4. Make requests geared towards a specific program or project.  Community foundations are often hesitant to fund salaries and/or operational costs because they do not want an organization to become dependent on their funding from year to year just to keep their doors open.  They prefer to fund projects and programs that will have a specific impact on the community.
  5. Make sure your mission matches the mission of the foundation.  Community foundations are mission driven.  Be clear about how the mission of your organization is in line with the mission of the foundation.  Pay attention to the funding priorities of the organization so you don’t waste your time or theirs. 

-Allie

Father’s Day Focus: South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families

For the last few weeks, in my daily newspaper, I’ve seen ads reminding me that Father’s Day is coming and I should purchase that special gift for my father.

Happy Fathers Day: Here's a nice tie!
Happy Fathers Day: Here's a nice tie!

Well, my dad isn’t much for material gifts – goods or services. His repeated message to me is to be a happy, healthy, responsible and well-adjusted adult. And he’s offered me the gift of a stable role model, a provider for my family and someone who is available to talk to when things aren’t going so well or when something brings me joy. I’m lucky to have him in my life.

And that got me thinking, thinking about families where fathers aren’t always around.

Last spring the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission held public hearings around the state. And several fathers, participants in programs with the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, spoke up about the legal gaps they encounter.

  • Father #1 currently has a wife and four children at home, but also two children from a previous relationship. He pays his monthly child support. He does not have any visitation rights. He asked for help to be able to see his children.
  • Father #2 was incarcerated for being in arrears for his child support payments. As a result he was placed into the program and has been diligently working with the program.
  • Father #3 meets the federal poverty guidelines even though he is working. He has been diligently paying his child support for 3 years and still does not have any visitation.
  • Father #4 paid child support for years without any visitation. He came to the program for assistance with visitation. Communication with his child’s mother was at a stand-still. He was unable to make any headway until he came to the Fatherhood program and learned skills to communicate with his child’s mother. As a result of his new skills, he was finally able to obtain visitation.

Another father participated in the SCETV special program on The Big Picture which focused on the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission and Self-Represented Litigants.

The Center performs a needed service – uniting children with their fathers.  And that’s something good to remember this Father’s Day.

-RFW

For more information about the Center for Fathers and Families, you may want to review the history of the center. The Center was developed from “Reducing Poverty through Father Engagement,” which was launched in 1997.

Photos from 6.17.09 Commission Meeting

Yesterday the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission held its meeting from 10:30 a.m. until a few minutes after 2:00 p.m. We were fortunate to start the morning with presentations from two Commissioners who work with Philanthropic Organizations – Tom Keith of Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and Mac Bennett of United Way of the Midlands.
Commissioner Tom Keith Presents
Commissioner Tom Keith Presents
Commissioner Mac Bennett presents
Commissioner Mac Bennett presents

Several guests were in attendance as we discussed issues related to Staffed Programs such as South Carolina Legal Services and initiatives relating to Self-Represented Litigants.

Commissioners and guests at the 6.17.09 meeting
Commissioners and guests at the 6.17.09 meeting
The Hon. Michelle Childs, Chief Admin Judge of the SC 5th Circuit, and Tanya Gee of the SC Court of Appeals discuss SRLs
The Hon. Michelle Childs, Chief Admin Judge of the SC 5th Circuit, and Tanya Gee of the SC Court of Appeals discuss SRLs
The Commission then discussed progress on Rule 608 with members of the work group in attendance.
Louise Cooper of the SC GAL program and Hugh Ryan of SC Commission on Indigent Defense
Louise Cooper of the SC GAL program and Hugh Ryan of SC Commission on Indigent Defense
Commissioners and Guests
Commissioners and Guests
Allie Bullard, our Pro Bono law clerk, working hard at the meeting
Allie Bullard, our Pro Bono law clerk, working hard at the meeting

 Special thanks to Cindy Sullivan, Willson Powell, and Jada Bannen of Nelson Mullins for their assistance!

Photographs by Stephanie A. Nye.

-RFW

Must Read: THE STATE Editorial

Again, we are pleased to recognize a Commission partner, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. Tom Keith, Executive Director of the Foundation, is a current member of the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission.

This has been a great week for the Sisters of Charity’s Fatherhood Initiative. On Monday, they hosted a 10 YEAR Anniversary Luncheon. Yesterday, they participated in the SC Bar Foundation’s Bankers’ Recognition (more on that later). And this morning The State newspaper printed an Editorial piece on the Fatherhood Initiative and the impact that fathers have on their children.

Statistics suggest children who grow up without their biological fathers are more likely to live in poverty, have behavioral or emotional problems, engage in crime, drop out of school or have children out of wedlock.

Please take a moment to read through the article and the positive impact of the Sisters of Charity Foundation in South Carolina via the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families.

The Commission is pleased with the recognition of our partner and looks forward to continued collaboration and success. Congratulations Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina!

-RFW

Commissioner asks for support for NON-PROFITS

On Sunday, Commissioner Thomas C. Keith of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina wrote a letter to the Editor at The State newspaper. In the letter, he notes that in this demoralizing financial climate. it’s easy to forget the troubles other suffer and focus on our own financial situation. Instead, please consider donating what you can to assist organizations who assist vulnerable people and those already living in poverty.

Great message Tom!

-RFW