Supporting the Sea Islands

Through its ongoing commitment to the Sea Islands, the Town of Kiawah Island awards grants to non-profit organizations through a competitive grant process.  These grants are designed to provide support to a variety of local efforts on the Sea Islands. Applications for these grants are accepted each winter. The grants awarded each April/May support a variety of projects concentrated in three major categories - Health | Hunger | Housing. 

Eligibility   The Town of Kiawah considers only those organizations recognized as 501(c)(3), non-profit, and/or tax-exempt entities. For the fiscal year 2024 Budget season, the Town Council can approve up to $200,000 for charitable organizations.

The sole focus of these charitable contributions to the people in need should specifically  emphasize and support eligible funding programs and projects focused on these four fundamental elements:

Hunger – Applicants in this category must have a program that provides hunger relief in at least one of the following four categories:
  1. Provide food or meals directly on a routine basis to underprivileged recipients qualified by the charity organization
  2. Provide meals prepared and served by the charity organization in a group meal setting
  3. Distribute food donations on a regular basis to the community
  4. Provide food available in an emergency food pantry that can be distributed directly to recipients on a no-cost basis to augment what the recipients may be able to provide on their own
Housing – Applicants in this category must provide housing assistance in one of three ways:
  1. Provide maintenance to existing housing occupied by qualified recipients. The repairs should be to correct conditions that make the house unlivable or substandard as determined by the organization
  2. Renovating houses that can be made available to qualified families or individuals at a below-market price or free of charge
  3. Building new homes to be provided to qualified recipients at below-market prices as determined by the organization

Health – Applicants must have programs that can directly assist in improving the physical or mental health of qualified recipients. Physical and mental health relate to any program, procedures, or activities that improve, increase, or benefit the state of health and well-being of an individual. This would also include the cost of transportation from a recipient’s home to a medical facility. The applicant must be able to show how the funds will go directly to these issues that affect the recipient.

Grants.  The Town of Kiawah will consider grant proposals for projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Organizations located in Charleston County whose services/programs seek to benefit Johns Island and Wadmalaw Island communities
  • Organizations that provide services that are accessible to the public; benefit or enhance the community as a whole and demonstrate financial stability
  • Projects that result in a measurable impact on the community and/or the environment of Johns and Wadmalaw Islands
  • Organizations that will use the grant and complete the project within twelve months from the date of funding

Priority consideration will be given to applicants who:

  • Bring the maximum possible amount of funding directly to the people in need
  • Utilize large, ideally Sea Islands volunteer participation
  • Collaborate with other organizations
  • Leverage their funding sources
  • Focus their work primarily on philanthropy and social well-being

Charitable Grants Guidelines

Congratulations to the 2023 Award Recipients!

Organization Name 2023
Grant Request Amount
Town Council Award Amount
Backpack Buddies Seabrook Island $5,000 $5,000
Charleston Area Senior Citizens Services $18,301.50 $8,136
Feeding the Multitude $7,000 $7,000
Kiawah Women's Foundation (Backpack Buddies Program) $12,000 $12,000
Lowcountry Food Bank $10,000 $10,000
New Webester JIP Food Pantry $7,500 $7,500
Sea Island Blessing Basket $20,000 $20,000
St. James Bethel AME Church $3,500 $3,000
Total $83,302 $72,636
Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic, Inc $25,000 $25,000
Barrier Island Little League $6,500 $6,500
Bridges of Hope $2,500 $2,500
Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding $7,084 $7,084
Made with Love $3,000 -
Operation Sight $7,000 $7,000
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services $30,000 $30,000
Total $81,084 $78,084
CHIP Ministry $10,000 $10,000
Operation Home $10,000 $10,000
Sea Island Habitat for Humanity $20,000 $18,000
The Paraclete Foundation of Holy Spirit Catholic Church $12,000 $11,000
Total $52,000 $49,000
Keeper of the Wild Wildlife Rescue and Sanctuary (cages) $12,000 -
Kiril Istatkov Ministries (uniforms) $5,000 -
The Progressive Club of Johns Island (pavilion) $48,500 -
Total Requests $281,885.50 $199,720
Total Budgeted Funds to be Awarded $200,000 $200,000