It is the holiday season in America, when most children and adults look forward to receiving a special gift or two they’ve desired. But for thousands of American charities, this is an especially critical time of year. What many organizations receive during the holiday season can dictate what they will achieve during the entire year to come.

Entering the season of giving, people are asked to care and share with those in need. In giving dollars, all like to believe their money will actually help.

Logic dictates that fundraising is not without costs. Small efforts often rely solely on volunteer solicitation and even the big operations make use of free help. But in almost every effort, some percentage of the money raised goes to paying for the job of raising it.

Continuing a 22-year tradition from the office, S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond has issued the annual Angels and Scrooges List. The state official responsible for regulating fundraising efforts to protect citizens compiles the list based on what percentage of a group’s funds raised actually goes to the cause it identifies.

The designation of Scrooge is based upon a charitable organization’s failure to spend a high percentage of its total expenditures on charitable programs. Listed in alphabetical order, this year’s Scrooges with the percentage of expenditures used for program services are:

• American Association of State Troopers Inc., Tallahassee, Florida, 15.5 percent

• American Veterans Foundation, Sarasota, Florida, 8.3 percent

• Childhood Leukemia Foundation Inc., Brick, New Jersey, 19.6 percent

• Firefighters Support Foundation Inc., Greenfield, Massachusetts, 6.8 percent

• Honor Bound Foundation Inc., Darien, Connecticut, 29.7 percent

• Melanoma International Foundation, Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, 33.9 percent

• Project Cure Inc., Bradenton, Florida, 24.6 percent

• United Cancer Support Foundation, Knoxville, Tennessee, 3.7 percent

The Angels, with the percentage of their expenditures that went toward their program services, in alphabetical order are:

• Chapin We Care Center, Chapin, 93.4 percent

• Christmas Is For Kids, Gaffney, 99.7 percent

• Friends of the Animal Shelter Inc., Aiken, 83.9 percent

• Golden Corner Food Pantry, Seneca, 91.3 percent

• Help 4 Kids Florence, Florence, 97.4 percent

• JumpStart South Carolina, Spartanburg, 91 percent

• Meals on Wheels of Horry County Inc., Surfside Beach, 97.7 percent

• Operation Sight, Mount Pleasant, 87.5 percent

• Project Hope Foundation Inc., Greenville, 95.4 percent

• Samaritan’s Purse, Boone, N.C., 87.8 percent

• The Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, Hilton Head Island, 93.4 percent

Traditionally, charities have been eligible to be named as an Angel by the secretary of state only once in order to recognize as many deserving organizations as possible. This year, however, Hammond incorporated a new tradition of recognizing a past Angel that has continued to devote a high percentage of its expenditures to its charitable mission. The Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of Hilton Head Island, originally recognized in 2009, was named Honorary Angel for its commitment to providing care to medically underserved South Carolinians.

“The Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for enforcing the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, and has recognized Scrooges and Angels for the past 22 years,” Hammond said. “As the holidays approach, people are reminded to open their hearts and help those in need. Recognizing Scrooges and Angels not only promotes accountability and transparency to charitable donors but also acknowledges and extends gratitude to the charities that uplift our communities. I encourage all South Carolinians to continue to give generously, but to always research charities and professional fundraisers before they give.”

Supporting charitable causes is a way of life for Americans. Supporting good organizations doing yeomen’s work in helping others is as important as ever. Please continue to give – and do so wisely.

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