Monroe Free elected Board Chair as Together SC aids nonprofits struggling with impacts of pandemic
Together SC, the state’s network of nonprofit organizations and their allies for good, recently announced four new board members elected by its nonprofit member organizations from across South Carolina.
They include: Nicole Echols, executive director of the Pee Dee Branch of Harvest Hope Food Bank in Florence; John Hart III, executive director of Good Samaritan Medical Clinic, in Chester; Amanda Lawrence, vice president for Community Impact at Trident United Way serving Charleston, Dorchester and Berkley counties; and Ann Warner, CEO of Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network (WREN) headquartered in Columbia.
Additionally, Together SC’s 15-person statewide board of directors elected Monroe Free, president of Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County, board chair. Joining Free in leading the organization are Sherrie Snipes-Williams, who leads Charleston Promise Neighborhood and was elected vice chair; Nate Barber, Sr. Vice President of Community Development for South State Bank, who was elected as treasurer; and Melanie Huggins, Executive Director of Richland Library, who is immediate past chair.
Free’s longtime service to Together SC and the nonprofit sector includes 11 years leading Habitat Greenville and his prior work as 2019 Nonprofit Summit chair. Free also helped develop Together SC’s 2020 strategic plan that aims to further nonprofit and philanthropic organizations as integral players in successfully building vibrant, equitable communities. Since March, the organization has worked tirelessly on guiding its members through COVID-19 response and recovery.
“So many nonprofits work on the front lines addressing the impacts of the pandemic and the existing underlying inequities in health, education, housing and financial opportunity that hold back so many South Carolinians,” Free says. “As nonprofits advocate for those they serve, so must Together SC advocate for the needs of nonprofits themselves.”
In response to the racial unrest of this summer and the pandemic’s spotlight on our state’s inequities, the organization is building upon its 2019 Summit focus on “Facing Race Together” and pledges to help the nonprofit community advance racial equity. New programming includes Removing Our Blinders, monthly conversations to help understand racial inequities, and its much needed Black Nonprofits Leaders Group. The organization’s commitment to helping members tackle issues of racial inequities is one reason leaders are stepping up for board service.
“As a native South Carolinian and a nonprofit leader of color who’s been working to build community for over 20 years, I am excited about Together SC’s commitment and intentionality in supporting leaders of color,” says Sherrie Snipes-Williams. “Far more focus is placed on minorities as receivers of services and their deficits, rather than as innovative, impactful leaders in developing community solutions. It’s time we changed that. That’s why I said yes to helping lead Together SC.”
Recently, Together SC, in collaboration with College of Charleston’s Riley Center for Livable Communities, released the results of a statewide survey revealing the pandemic’s impact on nonprofit organizations. It illustrates the urgent need for governmental funding as 63 percent of the survey’s 566 respondents can only survive six months or less without additional funding.
That’s why Together SC and its advocacy allies are busy urging legislators to consider nonprofits as they allocate the State’s remaining CARES Act federal funding. The legislative conference committee meets Tuesday, Sept. 22, 3:00 p.m. to craft the final bill for consideration. Together SC has also been working on legislation to reauthorize charitable raffles that provide a critical fundraising tool for groups large and small. Again, that decision should be made this week. Stay up to date on these and other critical issues impacting community organizations at www.togethersc.org/blog.
Together SC’s board is comprised of highly respected and tenured leaders with notable accomplishments in their communities. It looks to these leaders to help engage and serve their local communities.
Together SC’s current board members also include: Stacey Denaux, CEO of One80 Place, located in Charleston; Robyn Ezzell, manager of Nonprofit Executive Search Practices for Find Great People International, located in Greenville; Carl Humphries, CEO of HopeHealth Inc, located in Florence; Erika Kirby, executive director of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, located in Columbia; Tamela Spann, vice president of Strategic Initiatives for Hollingsworth Funds, located in Greenville; Paige Stephenson, president and CEO of United Way of the Piedmont, located in Spartanburg; and JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation, located in Columbia. Founding board chair Mac Bennett, senior counsel for Capital Development Services is an emeritus member of the board; he resides in Beaufort County. Find more information about Together SC’s board members at www.togethersc.org/board-of-directors.
Armed with a new strategic plan and an engaged board of directors, Together SC looks to continue helping South Carolina’s network of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders understand, adapt to and influence our changing landscape. Join the organization as an ally for good online at www.togethersc.org.
Run by nonprofit leaders and their allies, for nonprofit leaders, Together SC serves our state’s nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. And, through its member organizations, aims to support and empower volunteer and professional leaders dedicated to community service, leadership and caring.
Together SC, which was known as SC Association of Non-Profit Organizations (SCANPO) for its first 20 years, began operating in 1997 with 67 charter member organizations. Today, its statewide network includes 800+ organizations, large and small, whose diverse leaders believe in Together SC's vision for creating a world in which SC’s nonprofits and their allies are integral players in successfully building vibrant, equitable communities.