Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, Inc.
Post Office Box 23019
Hilton Head Island SC 29925-3019
Contact Information
Organization DBA (Doing Business As)
Organization DBA
Address Post Office Box 23019
Hilton Head Island, SC 299253019
Telephone (843) 681-9100
Fax (843) 681-9101
Projected Annual Revenue $4,600,000.00 (2017)
Mission Statement

Strengthening community by connecting people, resources and needs.

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Denise K. Spencer
Board Chair Mr. John Weymouth
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired, Dow Chemicals
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1994
Former Names
Hilton Head Island Foundation, Inc.2007
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Revenue vs Expenses Area Graph - All Years

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Strengthening community by connecting people, resources and needs.

Background In the years since our 1994 inception, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has grown through additional gifts and investments and, in partnership with our supporting organization, the Jim and Margaret Krum Foundation, Inc., provided more than $54 million in grants and scholarships.  In addition to grantmaking, the Community Foundation focuses on assisting donors to meet their philanthropic goals and acts as a convener of resources to address community concerns. In July 2001, the Community Foundation expanded its reach, beyond Southern Beaufort County, to serve residents in all of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties.

Three current strategic key elements include:

1) We aspire to identify, inform and guide donors and potential donors, with the goal of increasing impact on community needs.

2) We aspire to be the premiere marketplace for the exchange of valuable knowledge regarding Lowcountry nonprofit organizations and community needs.

3) We prepare nonprofit organizations to better meet community needs.

A number of strategic initiatives have been developed to address these key elements, and you will find some of them listed below.


Needs The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry is “the community’s foundation.” As a result, we serve many needs. What do we need? 1) We need individuals with passion for a cause and a desire to offer funding, so we can provide the vehicle to support their philanthropy. 2) We need good projects to fund, and strong nonprofits to make them happen. 3) Our own efforts could be enhanced through annual financial contributions in support of our Strengthening Nonprofits Initiative (board training for nonprofits), Public Art, Lowcountry Volunteer Connections (helping match volunteers with nonprofit needs) and The Giving Marketplace (a directory of local nonprofits which provides significant information about their mission, work, impact, and needs). 4) We need gifts to our Touch Tomorrow for the Lowcountry Fund, which provides for grantmaking in support of many growing and changing needs in our four-county service area, and to the Project SAFE fund, a current initiative providing sanitary sewer access for all low-income Hilton Head Island residents. 5) We need to expand our reach into the community to achieve our mission.
CEO/Executive Director Statement Philanthropy is personal. Every donor is extraordinary. Each story is unique. Yet, through these stories we find one familiar theme—the desire to spark change. Whether through current Community Foundation donors, or donors who have established a legacy, these values are alive and well—and reflected in the supported nonprofit organizations which offer innovative programs and services that strengthen our community. - Denise K. Spencer, President and CEO
Board Chair Statement

Community Foundation of the Lowcountry is a local nonprofit organization where donors…. generous individuals and families, community groups and other nonprofits…. create charitable funds in support of their cherished causes. Funds that provide scholarships to students and financial aid to many area nonprofits.

Our Board of Directors represents a four-county service area, and as people who live and work here, care deeply about improving the quality of life for our neighbors and communities.

We believe strongly in the core values of integrity, respect, fairness, caring stewardship and inclusiveness, and expect these values to be reflected in all we do.

The Community Foundation is a philanthropic knowledge center that strives to educate donors, community members and nonprofits through leadership and tools such as The Giving Marketplace.

I first learned of the Community Foundation as a donor and creator of a fund, and through personal involvement with local nonprofits. I was impressed with how the Community Foundation provided and directed resources and know how to grow emerging nonprofits and advance more mature organizations to have a bigger impact on meeting community needs.

It is rewarding to work with dedicated and committed colleagues who strive tirelessly to make a big difference in our community.

John Weymouth, Chairman of the Board

Areas of Service
Beaufort County
Colleton County
Hampton County
Jasper County
Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper and Hampton Counties, SC
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. John Weymouth
Company Affiliation Retired, Dow Chemicals
Term July 2016 to June 2019
Board of Directors
Mr. James Allhusen Retired, President, Visa Canada Corp.
Ms. Donna Bafundo Retired, George Mason University
Ms. Sandra Benson Custom Audio Video, Owner
Rabbi Brad Bloom Rabbi, Congregation Beth Yam
Mr. Denis Bonnett Insurance Agent, JCM, Inc.
Ms. Cheryl Comes Retired, Phillip Morris USA, Altria Client Services
Ms. Jerilyn Farren Retired, Principal, Quaker Ridge Elementary School
Ms. Kim Kord Coastal States Bank, Executive Vice President
Mr. Michael Marks Retired, President and CEO, Coastal Discovery Museum
Ms. Shirley Peterson Retired, Webster University, Maryville University
Mr. David Rosenblum Vice President, Kennickell Group
Dr. Jackie Rosswurm Retired, Beaufort County School Superintendent
Dr. James Wagner Retired, Emory University, President
Mr. Allen Ward Ward Edwards Engineering, President
Mr. David Wetmore Grange Mutual Insurance Companies and The Nationwide Mutual Funds Group, Board Chairman
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 9
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 81%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Distributions / Grant Making
Human Resources / Personnel
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director/CEO Ms. Denise K. Spencer

Denise K. Spencer is the former CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation in Midland, MI. She joined the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry in July 2006.  Before that she spent 20 years with her alma mater, Central Michigan University, as a middle-manager and academic advisor.

Former Executive Director/CEOs
Dianne K Garnett Sept 1994 - Jan 2006
Senior Staff
Ms. Nicki Charles VP for Finance and Administration
Ms. Jean Heyduck VP for Marketing and Communications
Ms. Emmy Rooney VP for Development and Donor Services
Mr. Kevin Smith VP for Grantmaking and Community Leadership
Full Time Staff 12
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 87
Contractors 1
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Date Strategic Plan Adopted July 2014
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Management Succession Plan? Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Diversity Policy Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
External Assessments and Accreditations
Council on Foundations National Standards2014
Community Service AwardNational Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)1999
Wilmer Shields Rich Awards for Excellence in Communications - Bronze Award for Magazines/PeriodicalsCouncil on Foundations2000
Outstanding Organization of the YearHilton Head Island - Bluffton Chamber of Commerce2002
Wilmer Shields Rich Awards for Excellence in Communications - Bronze Award for Annual ReportCouncil on Foundations2006
Wilmer Shields Rich Awards for Excellence in Communications - Gold Award for Annual ReportCouncil on Foundations2009
Wilmer Shields Rich Awards for Excellence in Communications - Bronze Award for WebsiteCouncil on Foundations2010
Hope and Opportunity Award of Excellence (to Denise Spencer)Boys and Girls Club of Bluffton2014
Community Service AwardDelta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Alumnae Chapter2014
Pulling for Kids AwardBoys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry2015
HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic PartnershipsU.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development2017

Hundreds of households on Hilton Head Island are not connected to the public sewer system.  These homes still rely on septic systems that frequently fail. A failing septic system creates a hazard:

  • To our public health - When the water table rises, so does the level of unsafe, untreated waste water. Backyards fill with bacteria, which can lead to a variety of illnesses.
  •  To our waterways and our environment - Contaminated waste water, carrying detergents, soaps, bleach and other unsafe chemicals runs off into Port Royal Sound, local rivers and the Atlantic Ocean, threatening the ecological health of our waterways, shellfish beds and marine life.
  • To our economy – Waste water contamination endangers our world class Hilton Head Island resort brand, our beautiful natural environment and the livelihoods of the people who make their living serving the 2.1 million annual visitors.

Project SAFE (Sewer Access For Everyone), a collaborative initiative between the Town of Hilton Head Island, Hilton Head Public Service District and Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, aims to eliminate septic system usage on the Island by helping low-income households connect to the pubic sewer system.

Short Term Success

Community Foundation of the Lowcountry recently received the 2017 HUD Secretary's Award for our public-philanthropic partnership for Project SAFE. Only 10 foundations across the country are honored with this award.

Long Term Success

Through Project SAFE, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry will raise $3 million in funds needed to connect remaining low income homes to the public sewer system, eliminating the septic systems that are failing us all.

Strategy Yes

The Public Art Fund was established by Community Foundation of the Lowcountry in 2006 with the purpose of procuring and placing world class art in the public realm across Hilton Head Island.

Every two years the Public Art Fund Committee invites sculptors from around the world to submit entries of large-scale sculptures to be part of this exciting outdoor art exhibition. For each exhibition hundreds of entries are received. A jury, comprised of community members and Public Art Fund committee and curatorial consultants from Savannah College of Art and Design, select 20 pieces for the exhibition. These pieces are then temporarily installed at Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, allowing visitors to stroll the grounds at their leisure.

Additionally, there is an important educational component to the exhibition. Funds are raised to cover the cost of field trips so children can visit the grounds and gain exposure to art, as well as arrange for participating sculptors to visit the schools.

Short Term Success During the 2013 and 2015 exhibitions, local high school students had the opportunity to help the sculptors build and install their pieces, in addition to the thousands of people who visited the exhibit and voted on their favorite piece.


Long Term Success Our goal is to procure and place world class art in the public realm across Hilton Head Island. To date, nine sculptures have been acquired.
Program Success Monitored BY


Lowcountry Volunteer Connections, a Points of Light affiliate and member of the HandsOn Network, is an initiative of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.

Partnering with local nonprofit organizations, Lowcountry Volunteer Connections provides opportunities for those who  are working, parenting, in school or retired to give their time as they serve others.

Through Lowcountry Volunteer Connections, our volunteers join with others from all backgrounds and experiences to meet the needs of local nonprofit organizations. While giving their time and talents, the volunteer is given a chance to explore issues that shape our community while developing their leadership and job skills.

Short Term Success

We have upgraded our technology to create a more user friendly interface between the nonprofit and the volunteer. We have increased training for volunteers and networking opportunities for nonprofit volunteer coordinators as we work towards bringing the community together.

Long Term Success

Our goal is to expand outreach to include all organizations who depend on volunteers to accomplish their mission. Matching volunteers with specific skills to the organizations who have the greatest need for those skills.

Program Success Monitored BY

Number of nonprofits listing opportunities on the site, and number of volunteer connections made in response to the opportunities.


With more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations serving Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties, it can be overwhelming to know about all the fulfilling work being done to strengthen the Lowcountry. Until now, donors who wanted to ensure their act of giving made the biggest impact didn’t have an easy way to match their philanthropic passion to those organizations most closely aligned with their interests.

But all that has changed. The Giving Marketplace is a free, online, searchable database of in-depth information about local nonprofits. Each participating nonprofit has a unique profile that includes comprehensive information about programs (including impact and measures), finances, governance, operations and management. Nonprofits are searchable by name or by nonprofit category, making it easy to identify organizations that ignite donors' interests.

Short Term Success Many local funders have incorporated The Giving Marketplace into their grants program. The number of nonprofit profiles has grown 23% between year one and year two of the program. We have an increased number of donors who are using the portal to make their gifts to nonprofit organizations.
Long Term Success Our goal is to increase awareness of local nonprofits in the Lowcountry. Many people who relocate to our area are looking for organizations that they can support locally, either with their time or talent. We strive to increase nonprofit profiles by 20% annually as we increase donor and funder awareness. 
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year 2017
Projected Revenue $4,600,000.00
Projected Expenses $6,500,000.00
Endowment Value $48,395,022.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage (if selected) 4.5
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,067,034$9,198,852$6,788,590
Membership Dues$0$0--
Special Events$0$0--
Revenue In-Kind$531,381----
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$5,779,411$6,573,275$8,505,447
Administration Expense$254,884$241,468$114,270
Fundraising Expense$147,998$218,890$81,618
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.581.771.49
Program Expense/Total Expenses93%93%98%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue5%8%1%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$66,994,715$70,183,760$63,994,647
Current Assets$1,871,501$1,627,788$2,537,034
Long-Term Liabilities$5,673,564$5,917,362$5,654,828
Current Liabilities$2,379,242$2,710,169$2,221,544
Total Net Assets$58,941,909$61,556,229$56,118,275
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities0.790.601.14
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets8%8%9%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Registration Yes May 2018
Organization Comments The financial information included in this profile reflects the combined assets of The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and our supporting organization; The Jim and Margaret Krum Foundation. 
Nonprofit Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, Inc.
Address Post Office Box 23019
Hilton Head Island, SC 299253019
Primary Phone (843) 681-9100
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Denise K. Spencer
Board Chair Mr. John Weymouth
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired, Dow Chemicals
Year of Incorporation 1994
Former Names
Hilton Head Island Foundation, Inc.