Please Help Save Us the SC Picture Project: $7,865 Down, $11,783 to Go!
Dear friends and fellow South Carolinians,
In just a few short weeks, SCIWAY will turn 21, which means we are now old enough to buy a good stiff drink!
As it turns out, we may need one.
Over the past two decades, we've grown from a simple online portal with links to 23 other South Carolina websites – all that existed at the time – into a wide-ranging collection of original maps, detailed essays, and useful guides to state and local resources, including such things as SC events
, SC elections
, SC pronunciations
, and – especially important this time of year – SC taxes
( Tara, Robin, and Kerri with Photographer Bill Segars at 2015's Statewide Historic Preservation Conference )
One of the things we're most proud of is a digital repository that documents important landmarks and landscapes across our state. Called the South Carolina Picture Project, it currently consists of 2,350 articles and 7,200 photos and paintings.
These images are contributed by talented professional and amateur artists, primarily from South Carolina but also from around the globe.
The SC Picture Project has grown exponentially since its inception in 2007.
In time, our two-person team at SCIWAY – that's Kerri Fitts
– were no longer able to keep up.
In the summer of 2013, we hired an editor to fully develop this section of SCIWAY. Tara Bailey has been working with us ever since, and Brandon Coffey
joined as our resident photographer and social media liaison a little over 15 months ago. Since that time, he has built a devoted and engaged Facebook following
. Tara's research and writing, meanwhile, is enjoyed by over 3,300 people each day – that's 1,200,000 unique visitors a year!
These skills require money, however. The SC Picture Project earns no income but costs roughly $45,000-$55,000 a year to build and maintain.
(See the breakdown here
.) Until now, Rod Welch, who created SCIWAY, has personally supported the project as a gift to the people of South Carolina. However, the time has come when we must become financially independent in order to continue.
All this is to say, we need your help! In order to continue documenting the state's culture and history – adding new images and articles – we need to become self-sufficient. Our two immediate goals over the next six months are to obtain 501(c)(3) status and work to secure sponsorships and/or a major underwriter.
( Tara and Robin with Photographer Ralph Mayer at Folly Beach )
We'd make an excellent partner for a South Carolina business or organization that wanted to connect with a large and established audience of South Carolinians - and also those who plan to travel here.
We know of no other websites like ours in the United States, and our unique platform attracts a loyal and engaged following.
The South Carolina Picture Project matters to people it embodies a spirit of cultural pride and positivity that will reflect well on the people who are recognized as making it finincially possible.
To be a good fit, our underwriter or sponsors should share common values. The South Carolina Picture Project's mission can be summed up in these five goals:
- DOCUMENT South Carolina's history in a resource that is informative, beautiful, free, and accessible to all, no matter where one lives.
- PRESERVE images and information about South Carolina landmarks before those landmarks are lost to time, be that by neglect, weather, development, vandalism, fire, or simply time.
- PROVIDE an educational tool for South Carolina students of all ages using professional-level research tools, primary sources, family records, and first person accounts to document landmarks to explore our shared past in a way that is both trustworthy and fair.
- SERVE as an economic development tool for our state by promoting both in-state and out-of state tourism (almost all of users come from SC, NC, GA, FL, and TN).
- INSTILL pride in South Carolina citizens and remind them, each day, that although our past has been far from perfect, our state has a great deal of which we can be proud.
In the meantime, we need to stay afloat long enough to take the both of the important steps above. Because our loss of funding was unexpected, we've organized a crowd-funding campaign
to raise emergency funding. We are over the moon that more than 100 loyal donors believe in us enough to have contributed $7,865 already!
If we are able to raise the full $19,648 in the next three weeks – by March 31, 2017 – we will be able to survive another six months.
Although we have a long road ahead of us, the money we are trying to raise right now will allow us the time we need to begin our journey.
Please help us by making a contribution to our emergency funding campaign
. As a way of saying thanks, we would love to send you a signed print by one of our photographers for any donation of $65 or more. Please see the selections below
, and then go to https://www.gofundme.com/scpictureproject
to make your choice. (Please include your mailing address and preferred photo in a comment. If you'd like to write a check instead, please send it to "SC Picture Project" at 1183 Stone Post Road, James Island, SC 29412.)
Secondly and perhaps even more importantly, if you have any contacts you can introduce us to, or if you are part of a company, college, or organization that would like to partner with the SC Picture Project, please us know.
We have a lot to offer a sponsor, and we'd love to share our story.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.
— Robin Welch
, James Island
Art for a Cause: Contribute for a Signed SC Print ...
The following photos have been generously donated by our photographers to help support the South Carolina Picture Project. Signed prints will be sent to all donors who give $65 or more
Myrtle Beach | Steve Rich
Cape Romain | Ben Sumrell
|Lake Murray | Ralph Mayer
||Aiken Training Track | Larry Gleason
|Lake Moultrie | Brandon Coffey
||Shem Creek | Pamela Talbird
|Gervais Street Bridge | Benton Henry
||Furman Belltower | Tom Taylor
|College of Charleston | Kathie Lee
||Old Sheldon Ruins | Jim Dollar
|Lake Jocassee | Mark VanDyke
||Table Rock | Steven Faucette
|Poinsett Bridge | James Salters
||Magnolia Gardens | Norma Armstrong
|Morris Island Lighthouse | Vanessa Kauffmann
||Heron at Swan Lake | Pete Lawrence
Mt Carmel Presbyterian | Bill Fitzpatrick
|Egret in Nest | Pete Lawrence
||Palmetto Moon | Benton Henry
Cost to Build & Maintain the SC Picture Project ...
||The SC Picture Project may look easy, but it isn't! It is truly a labor of love, created and maintained, with your generous assistance, by a small team of people who love South Carolina and are trying to document its history in a permanent online repository.
Several people have asked why we need to raise $19K+ in order to keep the SC Picture Project alive for another six months. Given this, I thought it would be helpful to spell out our expenses.
The sole expenses covered by this $19K are the salaries of our two employees, Tara and Brandon
. If you do the math, you will see that both of them earn very modest salaries, and I wish we could pay them much more. They truly deserve it.
Tara researches every landmark we add to the project and documents its history in a detailed article. All day long she works – reading, writing, and reading some more. Some landmarks are more obscure than others, and many afternoons she spends tracking down librarians, church pastors, museum directors, and other local historians by phone.
Brandon, who is one of the most talented documentary photographers in our state
, takes all of the beautiful photos he shares on our Facebook page
and on the main SC Picture Project website
. He also curates our Facebook page, spreading South Carolina's history and beauty. He keeps our community engaged and helps it grow. This translates to a deeper knowledge of our state's landmarks, as our members share information they've learned from their families or their first-hand experiences.
Right now, we are not asking for funds for any of our other needs – including but not limited to website hosting, online file storage, external hard drives, our computers, electricity, our phone, our rent, travel costs, and research materials like books and documentaries. We also did not ask for any funds to pay my own salary. Until now, I have worked 20 hours a week on the SC Picture Project. I will no longer be able to do so unless we are able to obtain grants and/or engage sponsors.
Over the next three-to-six months, we will become independent from SCIWAY. We will acquire all of the expenses that SCIWAY has graciously covered for us in the past. In all, we project that our annual budget will need to be at least $45,000-$55,000.