This week, Charleston’s fund-raising professionals and their big donors are celebrating philanthropy, the helping of others through giving. Meanwhile, the local nonprofits — those that operate through the financial support of donations — are staffed by people who are equally altruistic, if perhaps not quite as deep pocketed. It’s these folks who implement the programs, that reach out and literally touch the needy, soothing souls, inspiring futures, and helping brighten lives. To coincide with Philanthropy Week, which will culminate in the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15, we’ve found six people working hard to improve our community, dedicating their days to good deeds. These people work in the broad categories of nonprofit service — human needs, community development, health, education, the arts, and the environment — and inspire us for many reasons, not least of which is their youth. Jobs in the nonprofit sector require a lot of dedication without much monetary reward. For Brad Cashman at Crisis Ministries and Chassity Grant at Big Brothers Big Sisters and the others we write about it’s not about making a buck, it’s about changing a life.

Give Your Age &
Give Something Back

In honor of these six workers, and to encourage philanthropy among you, our readers, the City Paper is kicking off its own giving campaign — one that requires a little something from you. We want it to be easy to donate money, and we don’t want you to be embarrassed if you can only afford a small chunk of change, so if you simply “give your age” in dollars, we’ll pool that money in a fund (via the Coastal Community Foundation) and disperse it to the nonprofits we’ve profiled this week. We’d like for this to be a regular way for our readers to make a difference. It might be hard to give up that first $25, but if Bill Gates can give up billions, you should be able to give up a Friday night’s worth of beer money. Need more inspiration? Read about what $25 would do at each one of these nonprofit organizations where a little goes a long way.

Crisis Ministries By Rachel Ward
Brad Cashman believes in helping volunteers find their direction, whether it be giving nutritional seminars or doing art projects with the kids.
Lowcountry Earth Force By Stratton Lawrence
Any environmental education program will tell you that children are the future, and that their motivation lies in a “save what you love, love what you understand” instructional philosophy. Lowcountry Earth Force’s Anna Richardson and Stacey Littlefield take that a step further.
Big Brothers Big Sisters By Kinsey Labberton
Chassity Grant is a coordinator for the Charleston Big Brothers Big Sisters School-based Mentoring program. She manages five schools and over 100 matches.
Lowcountry Aids Services By Greg Hambrick
Jennifer Benvenuto and other caseworkers at LAS take to heart the concept that fighting AIDS involves a holistic approach — helping clients pay rent and utility bills, finding them jobs, making sure they have food to eat and clothes to wear — needs that on the surface do not appear to be directly related to a medical condition.
Metanoia Community Development By Jason A. Zwiker
It was a love of making a difference in the lives of others that inspired Anita Antoinette to talk to the Rev. Bill Stanfield about the AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) position.
Redux Contemporary Arts Center By John Stoehr
Jessie Bower likes robots. She’s been drawing them since enrolling at the College of Charleston. When she was happy, she drew robots. When she was sad, robots. When her emotions were in that multifarious spectrum in-between, for Bower, it was robots all the way.