By Scott Wierman
The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry prides itself on being agile, ready to pivot at a moment’s notice to respond to current events and opportunities as they arise. That is exactly what our team did when the leaders of the Ukraine Relief Fund met with the Community Foundation in early April and let us know that they were planning a May event to benefit Ukrainian residents and refugees.
In response to the horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine, local leaders and volunteers from the business community, nonprofits, arts/music organizations, local government and interfaith communities successfully pulled off what seemed to be impossible in just seven weeks – the Hilton Head for Ukraine Benefit (also known as HH4 Ukraine). The event took place on May 22 at Celebration Park.
Almost from the day the benefit was announced to the public, donations from all sectors of the local community poured in to the Community Foundation.
When discussing the origins of the Hilton Head for Ukraine Benefit, the first name mentioned has to be Rabbi Brad Bloom, of Hilton Head’s Congregation Beth Yam. Rabbi Bloom took his anger over the atrocities happening in Ukraine and planted the seed of the event.
“This entire venture started in the nonprofit community and grew from there,” said Rabbi Bloom. “This is what our community can do when we have a dream and pull together. I believe it was a real mitzvah.”
Despite threatening skies during the day and a brief rainstorm, the benefit went off without a hitch. Over 1,000 people attended and experienced memorable guest speakers, including Ukrainian natives now residing in Hilton Head, a variety of musical performances, and plenty of food trucks. As of the writing of this column, the benefit has netted over $154,000!
Proceeds are being distributed to Doctors Without Borders and World Central Kitchen, two organizations on the frontlines of the humanitarian crisis happening in Ukraine and border countries that are taking in millions of Ukrainian refugees.
Unfortunately, the needs of the Ukrainian people have only intensified as the Russian invasion has spread across the country. If you would like to make a donation, please visit the Ukraine Relief Fund at HH4Ukraine.com.
The Hilton Head for Ukraine Benefit is a great example of a venture that was fully realized in a very short time. However, in order for an event like this to be successful, you need guidance, support and experience. The dedicated staff at the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has the expertise to help you realize your philanthropic dream. Please call 843-681-9100 or visit the Community Foundation’s Hilton Head Island office and we will provide you with all of the information you need to create a donor advised fund, set up a scholarship, build an endowment, or develop a field of interest fund. To learn more about the Community Foundation, please visit cf-lowcountry.org.
Scott Wierman is President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. www.cf-lowcountry.org