The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Foundation was created in 1989 as a non-profit (501c3) educational improvement organization to advance the quality and excellence of education in South Carolina by promoting collaboration between the private sector and the schools and by providing, through grants, a source of funds not otherwise available. The creation of the Foundation underscores the business community’s strong belief that well educated citizens in South Carolina are crucial to the state’s political, social and economic vitality. Improved learning is the Foundation’s focus, and its intent is to support innovative ideas and initiatives with high potential for achieving results.
The Foundation’s educational interests are broad, extending throughout the entire educational community. It seeks to promote collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders- school staff (pre-school through higher education), families, community organizations and agencies, businesses- wherever learning occurs, be it in schools, workplaces, homes or the community at large.
The Foundation is authorized to engage in activities that are designed to enhance public education, including, but not limited to the following:
- Enlisting the statewide involvement of businesses and their organizations in formal partnerships with education;
- Funding exemplary and innovative projects within the school districts which support improvement and which may not be provided from tax revenues;
- Encouraging the establishment of local education funds within the individual school districts and /or regions, and to arrange for technical assistance to assist in this process;
- Attracting funds for projects designed to support improvement in education;
- Creating a long-term endowment for public education;
- Focusing public attention on major educational initiatives.
In fulfilling its authorized activities, the Foundation periodically assesses educational needs and challenges facing South Carolina, considers current state and federal education legislation and studies national trends in the improvement of teaching and learning.
The Foundation seeks to further its interests through a carefully considered identification of worthy research studies and projects, by engaging a single contractor or by soliciting proposals from a select group of applicants. The Foundation considers funding of research projects and programs that meet the following criteria:
- Addresses Excellence in Education Council’s priorities and activities;
- Results in improved student learning;
- Leverages successful initiatives to have a system wide/statewide impact; and
- Involves collaboration among school community stakeholders.
The South Carolina Education Foundation does not provide funding for:
- Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, or national origin;
- Individual study, research, travel;
- Political candidates;
- Religious organizations;
- Fraternal, veterans and labor organizations;
- Organizations lacking tax exempt status under section 501(C) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code;
- Capital or building campaigns;
- Equipment (except as a small part of a larger program);
- Endowment funds or campaigns;
- Charitable dinners or fund-raising events;
- Athletic or recreational programs;
- General operating expenses;
- Programs whose purpose is not primarily education.
The Foundation is administered by an eight member Foundation Board of Directors.