Community Foundation joins Florence Chamber, cuts ribbon

By: Andrew Boardwine

FLORENCE, S.C. — The Eastern Carolina Community Foundation joined ambassadors from the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce on Thursday to celebrate the foundation’s new chamber membership with a ribbon cutting.

Sarah Shelley, executive director for the foundation, said the decision to join the chamber will help the organization gain more exposure.

“We felt like we were underexposed in the corporate market,” Shelley said. “Mike Miller, the chamber president, is on our board, and it was just time for us to join the chamber now that we’re 10 years old.”

The Eastern Carolina Community Foundation, at 154 W. Evans St., is the newest community foundation in South Carolina. Shelley said the foundation is a philanthropic organization that works with all seven counties in the Pee Dee.

“We help people, organizations, churches and corporations carry out their philanthropic intent,” Shelley said. “We love to speak to groups, clubs and organizations. That’s a great way to get to know us if you’re interested, as well.”

According to its website, the foundation began to take shape in 2005, when a representative from the Coastal Community Foundation of Charleston was invited to speak to the Florence Rotary Club. Her presentation included a map revealing that nearly all of South Carolina was served by a community foundation — except for the Pee Dee area.

The first audience question was, “Why don’t we have a community foundation in the Pee Dee?” Her response was, “I was going to ask you the same thing. Why don’t you have a community foundation in the Pee Dee?” In 2006, the Eastern Carolina Community Foundation (ECCF) was formed.

Currently, the ECCF is working toward Hurricane Florence relief efforts with the Pee Dee Disaster Relief Fund.

“We would welcome contributions to that fund,” Shelley said. “Four of the seven counties we serve have been declared a federal disaster area, so it is important for us to help them rebuild their quality of life.”

The ECCF is part of a national network of more than 750 community foundations that collectively pump billions into their local economies across the United States. Many of those assets have gone back into the community to help citizens of Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marlboro, Marion, and Williamsburg counties.

For more information or to get involved, follow ECCF on Facebook, visit it at or contact it at 843-667-1131.