Creation: The idea for creating a charitable organization on the island of Callawassie began when the Caroline PGA Pro/Am golf tournament was hosted in 2000. That event generated a surprise profit. Island resident, Dr. Lenny Levin, along with Jim Jordan, Bill Julavits, and Betty Bayless chose a worthy local charity to be the recipient of the money. The light bulb went on “Why can’t we do this on a regular basis? We are so blessed on this paradise island while many of our surrounding neighbors are in need.” Other Island residents Etta Allen, Marilyn Jones and Regina Keeler joined the newly formed board chaired by Dr. Lenny Levin in August of 2001. Betty Bayless is credited with getting the 501 (c) (3) charitable status from the IRS and Friends of Callawassie Island, Inc. (FOCI) was born.
Purpose: The vision for the future was set and the purpose of FOCI remains the same today. It strives to provide financial and service support to organizations in Beaufort and Jasper Counties while emphasizing education, environment, health and human service and youth activities.
Fundraising: Other than the Annual Golf Tournament, the founders looked for more ways to raise money, which included joining the Heritage Classic Birdies for Charity and hosting a Walk/Run event. In the following years, a House Tour/Auction, a Yard Sale, and Callawassie Players theater productions are held. Since all of these events take planning and many hands, FOCI has involved the entire island community in the efforts to raise much needed funds. This in turn has also provided an avenue to get to know our fellow neighbors.
Fund Distributions: The FOCI Board meets quarterly to review grant requests from charities seeking assistance and is especially interested in those organizations where Callawassie Islanders volunteer. FOCI tends to support the smaller charities that have limited resources. The donations typically range from $1,000 to $3,000 per charity.
Today: FOCI is proud to be carrying forth the vision of its founders who started with a tiny idea 17 years ago and watched it grow. We honor Dr. Levin for his vision and long term commitment to FOCI’s mission. Those who have had the privilege to serve on the board or who have worked to help with the various fundraisers, count themselves fortunate.
Interested? You don’t have to travel far to make a positive impact on your community. Please go to Contact to request more information on how you can help.