What will be a year of donations by an organization dedicated to promoting community philanthropy began Thursday afternoon with two donations totaling $2,000.
In a ceremony held at the Union County Development Board office, the Union Community Foundation donated $1,000 each to the Miracle League of Union County and the Union County Arts Council.
“This is the second in a series of awards that the foundation has been able to make over the past couple of years,” Foundation Chairman Robbie Littlejohn said. “We’re pleased to contribute to these worthwhile organizations.”
The Union Community Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging development of a community tradition of philanthropy.The foundation was endowed by Union City Council with $1 million from an insurance settlement the City of Union received after the old Union High School on Main Street was destroyed by fire.
The foundation is similar to the Spartanburg County Foundation which was founded in the 1940s with an endowment of $10,000 which has since grown to more than $100 million enabling the organization to award grants on a regular basis. The goal of the Union Community Foundation is to grow its endowment to $5 million which will enable it to begin awarding grants on a regular basis.
Even though it has not reached its $5 million goal, the foundation has previously made donations of $500 each to the Union County YMCA, Union County Carnegie Library, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross.
In making the presentations to the Arts Council and the Miracle League, Littlejohn said that the foundation will be making more donations later this year. He declined to name the organizations that will receive the funds, but said that the foundation will make at least four more donations before the year is out. Littlejohn said Friday that the next two donations will be made Aug. 16.
Littlejohn also announced that the foundation will hold a “stakeholders meeting” later this year at which John Dargan, president and CEO of the Spartanburg County Foundation, will speak on the benefits of a community foundation and how individuals, families, and other organizations can support it.
For more information about the Union Community Foundation call 864-391-1098.
The $1,000 donated by the foundation to the Miracle League will be used by the organization to adapt Field No. 1 at the Timken Sports Complex for the league’s special needs athletes who will be playing there.
Union County Council voted earlier this year to allow the Miracle League to use the field for its games. Council’s decision enabled the league to apply to the county for State Parks And Recreation Department (PARD) funds to help cover the cost of adapting the field. The balance of the cost of adapting the field is to be covered by funds raised by the league.
Miracle League Coordinator Amy Austin said the $1,000 donated by the foundation will go toward covering the balance of the cost of adapting the field not covered by the PARD funds.
“We’re just really excited to have even more community support,” Austin said. “Our children and adults are anxiously awaiting to play ball. This just brings us one step closer to our goal.”
The league will use the foundation’s donation plus any PARD and other funds it receives to cover the field with a low-impact surface that will make it easier for its special needs players, many of whom use walkers and wheelchairs, to play and reduce the chances of them being hurt if they fall. The cost of installing the low-impact surface — which will be a poured, rubberized pad — is estimated at $150,000. Austin said that once the other construction costs are factored in, the total cost of adapting the field is projected to be $250,000.
In requesting the field, Austin told council that once the low-impact surface is in place, the field could also be used for other athletic events requiring such a surface including Special Olympics and a seniors league.
For more information about the Miracle League of Union County contact Lauri English at 427-7700, ext. 103 or Amy Austin at 466-7879.
The Arts Council will use the $1,000 donated by the foundation to help support several upcoming events and activities.
“We’re very grateful to have this donation,” UCAC President Bennie Giles said. “We feel honored to be among the recipients.”
Giles said the funds donated by the foundation will be used by the council to meet its operating expenses including that of its gallery at 116 E. Main St., Union. The money will also be used for the council’s Youth Summer Arts Camp camp which is being held daily through July 23-27 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The camp is being led by Angie Craft who is introducing the campers to the art of gourding (making objects of art from the common gourd).
The funds will also be used to support the council’s annual Juried Art Show which will be held in September. The show features the works of artists from throughout the southeast which are judged by a professional artist who will also teach a workshop. The show will open with a reception at USC Union on Thursday, Sept. 20.
The mission of the Union County Arts Council is to provide a wide range of services and programs of interest to children, teens and older adults who enjoy many different art forms. Its gallery on Main Street in Union provides space for local, and visiting artists to show their work. The goal of the Arts Council is to make every citizen aware of the importance of the work it does and to promote a countywide interest and appreciation of the arts.
For information about the Union County Arts Council and its programs, call 864-429-2817 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.