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JUST BECAUSE…Makes a Difference

Mrs. Paula Black Baker, community activist and philanthropist

This blogpost launches a new series of posts focusing on SCF Impact – on the people, places, and community building energy flowing through Spartanburg County.  Today’s post is written by community activist and philanthropist Paula Black Baker, a longtime resident with deep community roots.  She speaks now of the Just Because initiative of the Foundation. 

In 1992, I was on campus at Wofford College for the dedication of the Olin Building. The speaker was the President of the Olin Foundation. I met him after the ceremony, and I remember telling him how wonderful I thought it must be being President of a large and outstanding Foundation. I then added how much FUN it must be to have the privilege of presenting the gifts they are able to give. I felt as though he was a little taken aback because my comments were perhaps not what he was used to receiving after such a presentation. Maybe no one had ever talked about the gifting and presenting being FUN.

Yes, indeed I know a lot of very hard work goes into making selections when it comes to gifting. This is true whether as an individual donor, a committee member or as a Board trustee. Not to be taken lightly as gifting is a privilege and important commitment.

In 2015, Trustees, staff, and Just Because donors participated in an “ambush philanthropy” bus tour, delivering over $10,000 in surprise grants to nonprofits across the county.

However, when the gifting can be FUN, that, in my opinion, makes it all even better!! That is one of the main reasons the JUST BECAUSE program at the Spartanburg County Foundation is so appealing to me. I can only imagine the genuine surprise when the van filled with SCF trustees and staff pulls into the parking lot of a recipient organization and VOILA, they realize what has happened! Surprise, Surprise, and those surprises award much needed money to fabulous nonprofits in our community. The SCF Just Because overview perfectly states the purpose of this very innovative program. I quote, “The organizations that are selected are not typically organizations that receive a lot of visibility, but they work diligently to meet a pressing need in Spartanburg County”. I think that says it all!! These grant amounts may not be the largest in the world, but what the money brings to the selected nonprofit just might mean the world.

I have looked over the list of past recipients and am familiar with each one. I personally know the impact of these nonprofits in our county. They all meet tremendous needs that many people might not be aware of and receiving a JUST BECAUSE visit can give them great visibility along with the checks received. Awareness and publicity of this type may very well pull in other donors.

It is our pleasure to choose the JUST BECAUSE program as one of the ways we can give, vicariously, in a spontaneous and FUN way. And who knows, I just may not be vicarious, I might catch-a-ride this 2022 go round and join in the FUN!

At SCF’s 2022 Shred Day Event, Dorothy Josey received a Just Because grant to award to a Nonprofit of her choice.

Foundation NoteJUST BECAUSE grants have been distributed in a variety of ways – through the van tours held in previous years and mentioned by Mrs. Baker, the annual Thankful For You Nonprofit Connect event held each November, on-site presentations here at Foundation offices, and this year’s first, awarded during our fundholder Shred-Day event, when a random participant was chosen to decide where a Just Because grant would be awarded.  This year, Mrs. Dorothy Josey chose A Light Unto My Path, an organization that fit her idea of an organization that needed more visibility for its work to meet “a pressing need in Spartanburg County.” 

The JUST BECAUSE grant initiative draws from our Community Impact Fund that provides the funding for these grants and the Foundation’s Trustee-initiated grants made each year.  

If you’d like to participate, simply Donate Online.  By clicking the link, you’ll be directed to our online giving form.  Type 0001 (or Community Fund) into the search box and provide the details of your gift.  

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr.