By Gloria Duryea
January is a quiet time of year for most folks, but for members of the advisory committee to The Beaufort Fund of Coastal Community Foundation, that is not the case. Since 1998, the program has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to nonprofits serving communities and solving problems in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties. Total grants from the fund will surpass $7 million at the award reception in February.
Members of the advisory committee come from all four counties served by the Fund, but one member in particular, Charley Webb, is Beaufort through and through. Married to his eighth-grade sweetheart, passionate about the outdoors and a lifelong resident of this community, he appreciates the chance to get involved.
“It’s a pleasure to work with people from places I’ve never seen or known,” Charley shared, but furthermore, it builds upon his lifelong tradition of giving back.
Take Charley’s career spent at Kinghorn Insurance Agency of Beaufort for example. He spent decades building the company as he moved up the ranks and became partner. When many partners decided to sell their shares of the business, Charley ultimately decided to keep his piece so the business could stay locally-owned.
“I received freedom and opportunity from my predecessors, and I wanted to pass that along,” Charley explained. Now, Kinghorn is the oldest surviving business in Beaufort.
Alongside his career, Charley’s passion for the environment has inspired him to give back in other ways, serving on the board of Lowcountry Open Land Trust in the past and The Center for Birds of Prey currently. Through his church, he regularly brings youth groups to a property he owns north of town to hunt, fish, camp and – most importantly – give up their electronics for a weekend. It breaks Charley’s heart to see so much open space going towards development, so he wants to ensure the next generation can connect with the outdoors just like he did as a kid.
All of Charley’s experiences, his commitment to Beaufort and the people in it, inform his work on The Beaufort Fund’s advisory committee. Although the work is intense – committee members read hundreds of pages of applications and attend many site visits – Charley loves what it says about the community.
“We serve small mom and pop organizations…as well as large organizations like the YMCA,” he explained. “That’s what community means.”
Charley is a hands-on kind of guy. Like all members of the committee, he meets with organizations “across the coffee table” to really get to know them before making funding decisions. What really sticks out to Charley after all these years is the way that organizations of all sizes, issues and needs, collaborate to do more than just get a grant – they collaborate to take real action on problems in
And that’s why Charley loves The Beaufort Fund: “We’re not just a source of funds and assets. Something is being done.”