Beaufort County charity earns top 'angel' ranking from the state

A Beaufort County nonprofit organization was among the state's top 10 "Angel" charities, as designated by the S.C. Secretary of State's Office.

No charities in the county made the "Scrooge" list.

Family Promise of Beaufort County, which provides shelter to homeless families through a network of local churches and synagogues, spends 99.9 percent of its expenses on program activities, according to a news release Wednesday from the secretary of state. That was the highest percentage of any charity on the list.

The nonprofit Family Promise has a center in Bluffton where homeless families can shower, do laundry, use a computer for job searches and work with a case manager. The families spend their nights with host congregations from churches and synagogues throughout Beaufort County. Volunteers cook dinner and set up cots in community rooms. The goal is to help low-income families achieve independence.

Emily Bugay, executive director of Family Promise, which was established about two and a half years ago, said she was proud to be honored alongside state charities with budgets of millions of dollars.

"We're still very young and we're still reaching people who don't know us yet," Bugay said. "But people want to know that their money is going directly to the families. Almost everything our donors give stays right here in Beaufort County. The families are literally your neighbors."

According to financial reports filed with the secretary of state, Family Promise had total revenue of $115,600 in 2008, the year in which the ratings were based. Its program expenses were $54,144 and its total expenses were $54,177, according to the office's website.

Bugay says the charity's low overhead is made possible by an "incredible army" of volunteers.

"Like any nonprofit, our donations shrank because of the economy," she said. "We try to respect our donors' wishes and not spend a lot on salaries or overhead."

The secretary of state compiled the Angels and Scrooges list after reviewing financial reports submitted annually to the state.


To qualify for the Angel designation, a charity must be at least three years old, collect more than $20,000 in revenue, spend at least 80 percent of its revenue on program goals, make good use of volunteer labor and receive minimal grant funding, the release said.

The following list has the name of the charity operating in South Carolina in alphabetical order -- the secretary of state does not rank them -- and the percentage of spending that goes toward its programs:

  • Angel Flight Soars Inc., Atlanta, 87.3 percent
  • Cheer for Children, Rock Hill, 98.2 percent
  • Family Promise of Beaufort County Inc., 99.9 percent
  • Fields to Families, Ladson, 98.5 percent
  • Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, Jacksonville, Fla., 85.8 percent
  • Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands, Greenville, 92.8 percent
  • Horry County Museum Foundation, Conway, 99.6 percent
  • House of Hope of the Pee Dee, Florence, 83.6 percent
  • Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy, Kiawah Island, 80.8 percent
  • Pets Inc. of the Midlands, West Columbia, 98.7 percent

    The designation of Scrooge is based upon the charitable organization's failure to spend a high percentage of its collections on stated program activities, or spend a too much if its collections on professional solicitors, or both. The Scrooges, with the percentage of their program expenses that went toward the program activities, are listed below by the secretary of state:

  • A Leg to Stand On, New York, 34.2 percent
  • American Association of State Troopers Scholarship Foundation, Tallahassee, Fla., 34.4 percent
  • American Association of the Deaf-Blind, Silver Spring, Md., 20.3 percent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation Inc., Schererville, Ind., 35.8 percent
  • Disabled Veterans National Foundation, Washington, D.C., 37 percent
  • Firefighters Support Foundation Inc., Greenfield, Mass., 7.5 percent
  • National Cancer Assistance Foundation, Sarasota, Fla., 11.7 percent
  • National Veterans Service Fund Inc., Darien, Conn., 17.5 percent
  • Parkinson Research Foundation Inc., Sarasota, Fla., 25.3 percent
  • Project Cure Inc., Bradenton, Fla., 22.7 percent
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