Hilton Head Island Deep Well Project
Post Office Box 5543
Contact Information
Organization DBA (Doing Business As)
Organization DBA
Deep Well Project
Deep Well
Address Post Office Box 5543
Telephone (843) 785-2849
Fax (843) 785-4214
E-mail dwproject@hargray.com
Projected Annual Revenue $920,000.00 (2018)
Mission Statement

"The mission of the Hilton Head Island Deep Well Project is to help neighbors in need by providing basic assistance in emergency situations.  This assistance is immediate and non-bureaucratic, and is intended to provide clients with 'a hand up, and not a hand out'."


CEO/Executive Director Ms Betsy Ellsworth Doughtie
Board Chair Mr. Tom Vater
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1973
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.

"The mission of the Hilton Head Island Deep Well Project is to help neighbors in need by providing basic assistance in emergency situations.  This assistance is immediate and non-bureaucratic, and is intended to provide clients with 'a hand up, and not a hand out'."


Background The Deep Well Project is a locally based non-profit agency founded in 1973 by the late Charlotte Heinrichs. Deep Well offers aid on an emergency basis to individuals and families for whom neither the county nor the state provide. Deep Well is able to provide services quickly to assist families to get back on track in emergency situations. It is able to provide food, clothing, shelter and other social services to those in need and to respond in a timely manner. 


Deep Well’s mission has evolved tremendously since its inception. Charlotte Heinrichs, more commonly known as “Miss Charlotte,” retired to Hilton Head from her New York career as a public health nurse. Shortly following her arrival to our community she found that a large number of the Island’s native children suffered parasitic infections arising from shallow water wells and resulting poor sanitation facilities. Miss Charlotte was dedicated and determined to help these children by providing deep water wells. Thus became The Deep Well Project. Through Miss Charlotte’s hard work, The Deep Well Project has garnered local, state and national attention. It has also been recognized by former President Ronald Reagan and several South Carolina governors, and, in 2012, was designated an Angel Charity by the state of South Carolina.


As the community has grown, so has Deep Well’s mission. Today, Deep Well provides food and shelter to the working poor of every race and creed. It brings immediate assistance to individuals and families in need. The most common needs serviced are food, medical, shelter and utility assistance. In addition, Deep Well continues to provide housing repairs and renovations for families and individuals on Hilton Head Island as well as the off-island community. In some instances, housing is provided as well.

In short, Deep Well operates by its motto “A hand up, not a handout.”

From January 1, 2016 through October 5th, 2016, The Deep Well Project was busy helping our neighbors in need with rent payments, utilities, food, medicine, furniture and home repair when they experienced an emergency situation. Keeping up with the Livable Housing needs was a challenge and accomplishment when many clients needed new HVAC systems and roof repairs.  Our expenditure for Livable Housing was double that of our Livable Housing budget. But our Island, along with Deep Well, was turned upside down with the unwelcome arrival of hurricane Matthew. Our Island shut down for over a week, and most of those we serve were not paid for the time missed from work. In addition their funds went for gas to get out of town and also for motels. Upon returning to their Island homes they had no money for rents, utilities and food. From October 15th through the end of 2016, Deep Well spent $78,000 ONLY on hurricane related bills for our clients. We were very proud of the fact that we could act so quickly and efficiently to attend to the needs of our clients with no prior warning or planning for such an onslaught of requests. As we do with all requests, we validated every need. Hurricane relief immediately morphed into holiday needs, and we handled Thanksgiving and Christmas with speed and efficiency, providing Thanksgiving groceries to 359 families and Christmas groceries to 344. Our Santa Shop helped 769 Island children with surprises under the tree on Christmas morning. January of the New Year found Deep Well attending to the permanent repairs on hurricane damaged homes. Our Livable Housing volunteers could perform some of the work, but the most needed repair was for total roof replacements, for which we needed to hire a roofing company. From January 1 through mid July, 2017, Deep Well has spent $55,400 on hurricane related repairs. These roof repairs will continue for all of 2017.

Our goals for 2017 are (1) to be able to help every deserving client through an emergency situation. (2) Deep Well will continue to help bring homes back to pre-hurricane conditions. (3) Deep Well will continue to fine tune programs that will encourage clients to better their situations themselves. We will be continuing our Family Literacy program in October, where parents and children are taught English by the Literacy Center. Deep Well has been working with Volunteers in Medicine to implement a program to help joint clients who have particular food needs due to medical conditions.  Planning for budgeting with our clients was delayed due to the hurricane but is still a goal.
Deep Well has been exploring ways in which we can better serve the residents of Jasper County where the needs are great and help is slim. We must form procedures that allow us to validate needs of these residents that we don't know as well as our Hilton Head clients. Deep Well is building relationships with organizations in Jasper County that can refer their clients to us.
Keeping up with technology without increasing our overhead is a  problem and an ongoing need.
The need for housing for the "working poor" is a Deep Well need along with a huge need for our whole community. Deep Well has been working with other community groups to start to solve this problem.
Planning for succession of our staff is an important need.  
CEO/Executive Director Statement Deep Well is a private social service agency made possible by our whole caring community. Individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations provide generous funding, volunteers, and in kind donations of furniture and food. Our local newspaper, The Island Packet, writes stories of those we have helped on the front page of the paper from Thanksgiving through the New Year and solicits funds from the general public. The campaign provides nearly half our operating budget. This allows the executive director to spend her time tending to those who need assistance instead of the time consuming task of raising money and planning events.

Deep Well takes pride in assisting our clients quickly and with little bureaucracy.  We do have rules, requirements and regulations but still have the ability to take each case on its own merit and also to be sensible and flexible. 

Donors can be assured that their valued contributions will be put to the best possible use in the most responsible manner. Before any request is approved, the reason for needing assistance is always validated. Deep Well keeps very good records on all the people we serve, and there is a time limit on how often clients can receive assistance. Our goal is to help during an emergency situation, not to enable clients to be dependent on us.

Deep Well takes our financial governance very seriously.  We have an audit performed every year, and we are careful to prescribe to all general accounting principles in our bookkeeping process. Deep Well is prepared for the future with a reserve fund and an endowment fund.

Volunteers are the backbone of Deep Well .  During the course of the year we have over 100 people manning our phones, shelving food in our pantry, repairing homes, and helping clients with home furnishings. In addition, Deep Well has a working Board of Directors who tends to the many tasks needed to make Deep Well successful. The hours put in by our volunteers led to Deep Well being designated as an Angel Charity in 2012, showing that 92% of donations went to direct client services.

Deep Well continues to grow and change with our changing island. As community needs arise, Deep Well assesses the needs and takes on new programs if it meets our mission. 15 years ago Deep Well started a Livable Housing Program to attend to the needed repairs and renovations of homes that were often in deplorable conditions. When the public schools mandated uniforms for every student, Deep Well provided vouchers for parents to choose school clothes for their children. As auto gas hit nearly $4 per gallon a few years ago, Deep Well provided gas cards to allow clients to get to medical appointments and to work.

Thanks to our caring community of donors as well as the governance of the Board, the future looks bright and stable for the Deep Well Project.
Board Chair Statement


The Deep Well Project is extremely fortunate in that it has a strong base of volunteers and donors. These two strengths allow the organization to operate with a long term vision consistent with our mission to “Help neighbors in need by providing basic assistance in emergency situations”. This assistance is immediate and non-bureaucratic, intended to provide our clients with a “hand up, not a hand out”.

Our volunteer base enables Deep Well to operate with a minimal paid office staff thereby ensuring that we maintain our status as an Angel Charity in South Carolina with in excess of 90% of our donations assisting our client’s needs. Our volunteer’s activities range from delivering food to those unable to get out of their home to making essential repairs on an unsafe home. We are very fortunate to have a team of 100 + volunteers who enjoy meaningful work helping our neighbors in need. 

Members of our Board of Directors are tasked with leading many of the functions that enable Deep Well to operate professionally and efficiently. Our 21 Board members lead committees that focus on finance, human resources, children’s programs, communications & marketing, technology, strategic planning, etc. 

Our base of donors is equally strong and provides the resources both financially and in the form of food and furniture to enable Deep Well to serve our clients. The majority of our operating budget is funded by small donations. We also depend on numerous community based fund raising efforts to stock our food pantry, provide furniture, and toys for our children’s holiday programs. We receive the community support because the public understands our mission and knows that we will use their donation wisely, consistent with our mission. Our donors see our work in the community and know that we are making a difference.

The Deep Well Project has also benefitted from consistent leadership from its founding in 1973 by Charlotte Heinrichs to Betsy Doughtie, our Executive Director for the last 21 years. There have been many challenges over the years but none greater than the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The community suffered significant damage due to the storm and many of our clients’ homes were severely damaged. Under Betsy’s leadership and support from the Board of Directors we have stepped up to the challenge to make sure that our clients’ homes are livable and free of storm related damage. 

We truly believe the community has entrusted us with the infrastructure and resources to give a hand up” to those among us in need. All of our decision making resolves around this belief and commitment. 


Tom Vater

Chair, Board of Directors

Deep Well Project

Areas of Service
Beaufort County
Deep Well primarily assists residents of Hilton Head Island. We help those in Bluffton with furniture and home repair and with basic needs in conjunction with Bluffton Self Help. Deep Well increasingly helps in Jasper County and Northern Beaufort County but only with a referral from another agency and usually only under extreme circumstances, and most often to assist with livable housing.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Tom Vater
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Term Jan 2017 to Dec 2019
Email tvater@hargray.com
Board of Directors
Ms Marilyn Allpress Community Volunteer
Mr. Denny Bozic Community Volunteer
Mr. Morris C Campbell Community Volunteer
Mr. Steve Clark Community Volunteer
Mr. Ted David Community Volunteer
Ms Pamela Denlinger Community volunteer
Mr. Tim Drake Community Volunteer
Mr. David Gaal Community Volunteer
Mrs. Sandy Gillis Island Packet Newspaper
Mrs. Helen Hinds Community Volunteer
Mrs. Linda Hyslop Community Volunteer
Ms. Patricia Kenworthy Community Volunteer
Mr. Boyd McLeary Community Volunteer
Mr. Galen Miller Community Volunteer
Mrs. Barbara Pawlishyn Community Volunteer
Mrs. Nancy Simonetti Community Volunteer
Mr. Ted Snydal Community Volunteer
Ms. Blanca Traywick Community Volunteer
Mr. Tom Vater Community Volunteer
Mr. Michael Werner Community Volunteer
Mr. John Wilkins Community Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 18
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 9
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 78%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Standing Committees
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Housing and Community Development
Human Resources / Personnel
Additional Board Members
Mrs. Ruth Germany Community Volunteer
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Our challenge is to recruit more minorities to the Deep Well Board. The majority of clients we serve are African American or Hispanic, and we constantly strive to have these ethnicities represented on our Board.
Executive Director
Executive Director/CEO Ms Betsy Ellsworth Doughtie
Experience Betsy Doughtie was chosen as executive director of Deep Well in 1996 because of her connection and knowledge of the community as well as her business and financial experience in having her own business.
Co-CEO Ms. Rita Jones
Term Start Feb 2001
Email DWRita@hargray.com
Experience Rita is a retired Navy commander. Her parents grew up on Hilton Head Island and Rita has had ties to the community her whole life. She has valuable connections to the "Native Island" population of African Americans. She is well versed in home repairs and also in accounting and finances.
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 6
Volunteers 100
Contractors 3
Retention Rate 100%
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Oct 2012
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? No
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Diversity Policy Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Deep Well collaborates with the Literacy Center, providing client referrals and classroom space for LC's Family Literacy Program. We are just beginning a collaboration with Volunteers in Medicine to provide food for those with specific needs as well as continuing to provide healthier food to all.  In addition, VITA (a free tax return preparation organization) uses Deep Well space once a week to assist qualified clients with tax prep. Deep Well interacts with Bluffton Self Help, the Boys and Girls Club, Island Recreation Association, the Literacy Center, the Children's Center, Volunteers in Medicine, Hopeful Horizons, CAPA, United Way of the Lowcountry, DSS, Salvation Army, all public schools, various churches, Meals on Wheels, Second Helpings, Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, Antioch Education Center, BJ Comprehensive Health Services, PSD#1, Palmetto Electric Trust, Lowcountry Council of Governments, Under One Roof, and the Red Cross. We all work together to ensure that clients have their needs met and also to prevent duplication of services.
Angel CharitySectretary of State of South Carolina2012
Organization of the YearHilton Head Chamber of Commerce2007
Description Rent and mortgage assistance program keeps families in their homes for at least a month by paying a rent or mortgage when client experiences an emergency situation. Deep Well always validates the reason for needing assistance and we always pay the provider, never the client. A rent is paid only once in a twelve month period and only with validation
Budget $121,572.00
Short Term Success  The long term success and the short term success is just the same. When Deep Well pays a rent or mortgage payment it keeps a family in their home for at least another month. Before we assist, we are somewhat assured that the family has the ability to pay their rent the following month. Deep Well is for emergency assistance, not for continued long term assistance. Our assistance does lead to a more stable family which in turn leads to a healthy community.
Long Term Success The long term success and the short term success is just the same. When Deep Well pays a rent or mortgage payment it keeps a family in their home for at least another month. Before we assist, we are somewhat assured that the family has the ability to pay their rent the following month. Deep Well is for emergency assistance, not for continued long term assistance. Our assistance does lead to a more stable family which in turn leads to a healthy community.
Strategy Yes
Program Success Monitored BY Deep Well performs a complete intake on every client requesting assistance. We record in our client database the reason for needing assistance and the disposition. Deep Well has time limits on how often a client can request assistance with a rent or mortgage payment.
Description The Deep Well Project provides groceries for people who find themselves with no food nor the funds to purchase food. Our Hilton Head Community donates about 85% of the food we distribute. Besides individual donations of food, we receive food from Second Helpings and the Yemassee Food Bank. Previously our volunteers would pack and deliver a generous week's worth of food, including fresh items of chicken, milk, cheese, eggs, and ground beef. Starting in 2016 we have given clients the option of coming to our facility to pick out their own grocery items. This new procedure has been successful, yet we continue to deliver food to clients who are without transportation. The limit on food deliveries is 4 times in a 6 month period. Deep Well is for emergency assistance, and if clients are in constant need of food they must apply for food stamps, which is more cumbersome than calling us. However, the food stamp office has been plagued by budget cuts and is short staffed. If we find that clients are experiencing problems with food stamps we will continue to provide food. Deep Well provided  81,774 meals in 2016, up from 49,413 in 2015 due to Hurricane Matthew, and also provided 703 holiday food baskets.
Budget $163,600.00
Short Term Success The short term goals are the same as our long term goals.
Long Term Success The Deep Well Food Assistance Program is successful because we are able to provide food for every client asking for food assistance. Long term success would mean that adults perform better at work, children perform better in school, and family life is more stable when there is no concern  about being hungry.
Strategy Yes
Program Success Monitored BY Deep Well has a client data base where we record all that we do. When a client first comes to Deep Well, our volunteer completes an intake form with all pertinent information on the family. We keep track of how often a client is requesting food assistance and whether or not he is receiving food stamps. Even with clients requesting food, we always ask the reason they need assistance.
Description Deep Well assists clients with utility payments when they are in danger of having their service cut off. Electricity assistance is the primary need but we also help with water bills and propane gas bills. Clients are required to provide a current bill and must give a specific reason why they have not been able to pay this bill. Deep Well always validates the need, and if approved, we always pay the service provider.
Budget $0.00
Short Term Success Paying utility bill keeps the power on or water running for Island families.
Long Term Success Paying a utility bill keeps the power on or water running for Island families. Helping with these basic needs alleviates stress and gives families a more stable home life. Parents are better able to work and children are better able to concentrate in school, leading to a more healthy community.
Strategy Yes
Program Success Monitored BY The Utility Payment Program is successful if we can provide assistance for every deserving client. In 2016 Deep Well paid utilities for 275 families.
Description Deep Well's Livable Housing Program provides home repairs and renovations on homes that often are in deplorable condition. Our volunteers work all day Monday and half a day Wednesday performing services that range from repairing a window to replacing all the flooring in a mobile home. Many of the materials they use are from homes that are to be torn down, and we also receive new materials from Home Depot at very little cost. We do have to occasionally hire tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers when the needed task exceeds the expertise of our volunteers. When appropriate, Deep Well expects clients to pay back at least part of the funds spent on their repairs. Each case is assessed and the client's personal situation is taken into account. Usually we will provide 100% of the repair funds for elderly or disabled clients living on a slim income. Younger, healthy, working people are able to take out an interest free loan to pay for the needed work. 
Budget $140,000.00
Short Term Success The short term success is shown in the fact that Deep Well provided home repairs to 85 families in 2016. If flooring in a mobile home is replaced, we are successful in keeping the residents in a safe environment. If plumbing is replace or repaired, families have the basic need of running water and usable bathrooms.
Long Term Success  Deep Well's Livable Housing program provides residents with  safe living conditions. Having a home with basic standards such as sturdy steps, unbroken windows, safe electricity, working plumbing, intact flooring, and adequate roofing provides a stable atmosphere for families. When these basic needs are met, families can lead a more stable and productive life which leads to a healthy community.
Strategy Yes
Program Success Monitored BY Each request for Livable Housing assistance is validated by our program administrator. She interviews every client to get information on the situation and needs  of the household. The administrator makes sure that all aspects of big jobs can be handled-e.g.- if a client is asking Deep Well to fund a septic system for a new mobile home, does the client have other funding for water and electric hook up? Requests are entered into our client data base and also recorded separately for the Livable Housing program.

THE DEEP WELL PROJECT CLIENT’S CHILDREN FUND  WAS BORN OUT OF THE NEED TO PROVIDE EXTRA ATTENTION TO CHILDREN WHO ARE ATTENDING SCHOOL WITHOUT ADEQUATE AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING, SCHOOL SUPPLIES, MEDICATION OR OTHER BASIC NEEDS. Often the children’s parents are unemployed or underemployed, or have so many problems of their own that the children’s needs can not be met. The end result is children who have a hard time learning, who have behavioral problems, and who suffer from low self-esteem.

Deep Well takes requests from  school social workers and teachers for clothing, school supplies, and medicine, When uniforms were mandated for all students about 7 years ago Deep Well started a program to provide qualified students with uniforms at the start of the school year. We also provide the needed school supplies.  Assisting mothers with a daycare bill is also part of our Children's Program.

Budget $67,500.00
Short Term Success  

 The long term success of the Children's Program leads to greater self-esteem for the children, making it possible to learn in school and giving them a chance to grow into a self-assured and educated adult. 

Sending children off to school on that first day with the proper clothing and requested supplies fills the students with self-confidence and ready to learn. If they show up with improper clothing and no supplies, they are branded "poor" on that very first day.

Providing prescription medicine keeps children healthy. Often the requested medicine is for attention deficit disorder. By having the needed medicine the child will have the ability to learn.

Helping a parent with daycare means that the parent can now work and that the child is well taken care of in a safe learning environment.  

Long Term Success  

 The long term success of the Children's Program leads to greater self-esteem for the children, making it possible to learn in school and giving them a chance to grow into a self-assured and educated adult. 

Strategy Yes
Program Success Monitored BY  

The success of the Children's Program is measured with the very services provided. Deep Well keeps very good records in all we do. If we provide school uniforms for 900 children, then 900 children go off to school with proper clothing. If we pay for 25 prescriptions in the course of the school year, those 25 students will be healthier.

Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year 2018
Projected Revenue $920,000.00
Projected Expenses $1,294,102.00
Endowment Value $2,265,490.00
Spending Policy N/A
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense----$958,279
Administration Expense----$78,685
Fundraising Expense----$597
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.421.271.13
Program Expense/Total Expenses0%0%92%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue----0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets----$3,966,420
Current Assets----$856,809
Long-Term Liabilities----$0
Current Liabilities----$6,915
Total Net Assets----$3,959,505
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities----123.91
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets----0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
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 Apr 2018
Organization Comments  Many of our long term funding organizations have cut back on their funding due to the 2008-2013 economic downturn. Deep Well continues to look for other avenues of support.  As a result we have greatly increased our p/r activities, including social media. Sending out selective email blasts and posting on Facebook adds to the community's knowledge of Deep Well. Garnering email addresses has been a challenge since many donors are older residents, but we are making progress.
Nonprofit Hilton Head Island Deep Well Project
Address Post Office Box 5543
Primary Phone (843) 785-2849
Contact Email dwproject@hargray.com
CEO/Executive Director Ms Betsy Ellsworth Doughtie
Board Chair Mr. Tom Vater
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Year of Incorporation 1973