Two Beaufort County nonprofit groups were recognized Thursday in Columbia by the S.C. Association of Nonprofit Organizations at its annual awards ceremony.
It marks the first time Beaufort County groups have received the association's honor.
The Erin Hardwick Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management was presented to Memory Matters and Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry, both based on Hilton Head Island.
Each year, two organizations -- one with an annual budget of $500,000 or more and one with a budget of up to $499,000 -- are honored.
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Memory Matters, with an annual budget of more than $500,000, provides support and educational services for families coping with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. It had operated out of five local churches before a capital campaign enabled it to move into a new office in 2009.
"It's great to have two Hilton Head groups recognized this way," said its director, Edwina Hoyle. "It's truly an honor because there are so many nonprofits out there."
Hoyle added that her group has dealt with increased demand for its services in recent years and now works with 50 to 80 families in southern Beaufort County.
"The need for our services has skyrocketed in recent years, and we have been able to grow to meet them," she said. "SCANPO is such a well-respected organization, and this award holds a lot of weight; we are so thrilled."
Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry was founded in 1973 and has evolved into a resource with more than 100 volunteer tutors in eight locations throughout the county. It helps adults gain self-sufficiency by teaching them literacy skills. It won in the under-$500,000 category.
According to a spokeswoman for the group, 11 percent of Beaufort County adults -- more than 10,000 people -- still lack basic literacy skills.
"I have attended SCANPO conferences since joining Literacy Volunteers 10 years ago and always bring valuable nuggets and best practices back to our board," said its executive director, Nancy Williams.
"It is gratifying to see the rewards of our efforts."
Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.