SC Baptist Disaster Relief receives $500K gift from SC Student Loan
South Carolina Student Loan, Columbia, has donated a gift of $500,000 to South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief toward the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s three-year commitment to rebuild homes affected by the October 2015 flooding throughout the state.
The donation was made at state Gov. Nikki Haley’s office on Thursday, February 4, and the governor applauded the partnership between South Carolina businesses and the faith community in the state’s rebuilding efforts.
Chuck Sanders, president and chief executive officer, of South Carolina Student Loan said his company wanted to give a large sum of money to someone directly involved with the rebuilding efforts.
“In November (2015), we invited Randy Creamer and Ken Owens from the state Baptist convention to meet with our board and explain the rebuilding efforts occurring through South Carolina Disaster Relief. After meeting those two men, our board voted to approve a gift of $250,000 with the possibility of a future gift of another $250,000.”
Over the Christmas break, Sanders, his son, and some of his employees, visited Columbia’s Pine Glen community where all but four residential homes were reported damaged by the flood waters.
“We saw our neighbors that were hurting and we saw South Carolina Baptist college students, giving up part of their Christmas break to get dirty and serve those neighbors,” Sanders said. “I was touched by that, personally, and we got involved with them.
“Our company has been in business 43 years and students are our life blood; we see this gift as an opportunity to give back to our community in a time of need.”
Sanders reported back to his board this past week, asking it to approve the additional $250,000 gift, and the board approved the recommendation. The governor’s office was notified of the gifting and wanted to recognize both SC Student Loan and the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Gov. Haley applauded the partnership and specifically identified faith-based organizations, including churches, as stepping up to serve the community’s rebuilding effort. She praised South Carolina Baptists, pointing to the work of SC Baptist Disaster Relief leading the way of the state’s faith community. The state convention and board members from South Carolina Student Loan attended the recognition.
Randy Creamer, director of Disaster Relief and Men’s Ministry, for the state convention said, “This financial gift from South Carolina Student Loan makes the rebuilding of South Carolina possible. This is a ‘Praise God’ moment, and this helps us move down the road. The governor’s word of appreciation and the opportunity to partner with local business makes rebuilding possible.”
Creamer said the benefit of South Carolina Student Loan’s gift, contrasted with some grants, is that it is unrestricted and can be used for support essentials beyond simply materials.
“We can use this money to purchase food for volunteers, provide equipment, and support management of the RebuildSC effort,” he said.
Since December 10, 2015, Creamer said South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief has touched 50-60 homes “in a large way. We’ve not completed work on 50-60 homes, but we’ve made a big investment in them. In some ways, the homes will be in better condition than even before the flooding occurred.”
Creamer said the state convention is committed to three years of service in the rebuilding effort. Both he and South Carolina Student Loan’s Sanders said they hope the financial partnership will encourage other state businesses to support Disaster Relief rebuilding efforts in the state.
WRITTEN BY SCOTT VAUGHAN