Gamecocks serving the community in the time of a pandemic
As the coronavirus threatens health and upends daily life throughout the world, the UofSC Alumni...
As the coronavirus threatens health and upends daily life throughout the world, the UofSC Alumni Association is spotlighting alumni making a difference to showcase the strength and resilience of the Gamecock community.
Alumnus Mac Bennett is chair of the executive committee for the One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response. In this position, he is working with fellow Gamecocks, community leaders and organizations throughout South Carolina to help those in need.
The fund was activated at the end of March to strengthen the efforts already underway across the state. Gifts to the fund address gaps in response efforts, including those stemming from food, shelter, health and nonprofit sustainability needs.
Bennett is no stranger to rallying behind a cause that affects people in the state. “When something like this happens, I tend to see how I can get involved, no matter what,” he says.
In 2015 when the Thousand-Year Flood ravaged Columbia, Bennett was directly involved in flood relief efforts to support the community as then President and CEO of the United Way of the Midlands. Now he serves as the Director of Community Impact and Strategic Initiatives at Cyberwoven, a digital agency in Columbia, S.C.
In recent years when disaster hits South Carolina, the One SC Fund has played a role helping residents. During the historic flood in 2015, the fund was established to support nonprofits providing relief and recovery assistance for victims. It was once again used when Hurricane Matthew impacted the state in 2016 and again in 2018 with Hurricane Florence.
Now with a virus present in all counties of the state, Bennett is collaborating with other leaders and organizations to address the challenges that have surfaced.
“Three organizations came together to establish this fund and we are working to identify how we can best direct resources in a way that is going to have the greatest impact,” he says.
Those organizations are the SC Grantmakers Network, the United Way Association of SC and Together SC.
To establish a working group across all three organizations, alumna Karen Oliver staffed the committee. Other alumni that make up the committee include Graham Adams with the United Way and Carl Humphries with Together SC.
“The One SC fund will be a vital tool in helping our states’ nonprofit community to better serve those in need during this unprecedented time,” says Adams.
In response to the pandemic, the fund has received nearly $3 million in gifts. Grants have already been distributed to nonprofit organizations including Harvest Hope Food Bank, Lowcountry Food Bank, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Food Share and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina Inc.
In this collaborative statewide response, Bennett and the rest of the committee are working to implement an expedient, efficient and equitable process to maximize resources to support South Carolinians during this time.
To learn more about the One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response, visit yourfoundation.org.