Twelve charities received a total of $200,000 from the Heritage Classic Foundation at a luncheon Thursday on Hilton Head Island.
The money is part of a $1.5 million grant Verizon gave in 2011 to be disbursed over three years by the foundation. Each year, $500,000 is split evenly between the Heritage Scholar Program and local nonprofit organizations that focus on education and health care.
Heritage spokeswoman Angela McSwain said an additional $50,000 will be donated to various local groups not present at the luncheon, which was held at the Plantation Club in Sea Pines.
Foundation charity committee chairman and International Tennis Hall of Fame member Stan Smith presented representatives of each nonprofit with the checks and praised their commitment to improving the community.
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"We believe each of the 12 groups is doing outstanding work," Smith said. "Each has its own story, but they all have something in common. They are all helping the most needy in the area to improve their lives."
McSwain said that each of the charities also received a grant from the foundation last year.
Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot credited Verizon for its continued support, despite its 2009 decision to withdraw its sponsorship of the Heritage golf tournament.
"This is a relationship with Verizon that's been in the works for 26 years," Wilmot said. "For them to unfortunately step away like they did, that was just a business philosophy on their part, and had nothing to do with the foundation."
Sarah Eliasoph, National Alliance on Mental Illness director in Beaufort County, said the money she received is vital to her program.
"We survive entirely on donations," she said, "on grants, on sponsorships, on fundraisers. ..."
Nancy Williams, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry, said the money is all the more welcome during the slow economy.
"These are challenging economic times," she said. "The vote of confidence this represents in the work that we do is greatly appreciated."
The other nonprofits receiving money Thursday: Boys & Girls Clubs; Children's Center; Children's Relief Fund; Child Abuse Prevention Association; Hilton Head Heroes; Hope Haven; Family Justice Center of Georgetown County; The Sandbox; The S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; and Volunteers in Medicine.
Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.