A First Look at a First-Time Grant Recipient

In this update, Program Associate Kristen Bitzegaio walks us through her recent site visit to first-time competitive grantee, Tara Hall Home for Boys. If you’d like to join Kristen on one of her upcoming site visits, or have a question about our grant cycle, contact Kristen at [email protected] or 843-357-4483. 

To folks who have lived in our area during the last fifty years, Tara Hall Home for Boys is one of those community touchstones that everyone seems to know about. That’s no wonder when you consider that this organization, at one point in its early days, had a handful of boys who needed a home and just $300 to feed and house them, and has since served nearly 700 boys, with a current operating budget of more than a million dollars.

As a newcomer to Horry and Georgetown counties, it only took about six months for me to realize that Tara Hall was a place I needed to see for myself. After hearing wonderful things about the organization and its long-time executive director, Jim Dunn, I wanted to get to know Tara Hall a little better. Fortunately for me, that opportunity came when Waccamaw Community Foundation recently awarded both a Carver Educational Fund grant for the on-campus school and a Waccamaw Community Trust grant for the organization’s operating expenses, totaling $6,500. Though it may be difficult to believe, this first quarter of 2018 was the first time that Waccamaw Community Foundation has awarded a competitive grant to Tara Hall. The organization has been supported by several donor-advised funds throughout the years, but they are a first-time grant recipient from the competitive program.

So on one of the few sunny, warm days we’ve had this March, I visited the Tara Hall Home for Boys grounds. This beautiful campus is on 11 acres, in the middle of the woods on a river bend. To say that it is a picturesque and peaceful environment is an understatement. It changed the perception I had long held about group homes of children. It was, to my eyes, a place for healing, growth and happiness. There is a school on site, a large housing facility with small, clustered apartments, a beautiful chapel, recreational areas (including a swimming hole, pictured here), and an open and airy cafeteria and recreation area. This is a place where boys who have no other place to feel safe and loved are accepted with open arms, and challenged to grow academically, spiritually and socially.

The grants committee, board and staff of Waccamaw Community Foundation are proud to support Tara Hall’s mission to develop moral, social, educational and life skills for South Carolina’s neglected, troubled and abused boys. If you’d like to learn more about the organization, you can see the grounds in person for yourself at their upcoming 7th Annual Paddle Fest. The event is on May 5, 2018, and more information is available on their website, www.tarahall.org.