Three Take-Aways from Melanie Huggins as Outgoing Board Chair

Posted By: Melanie Huggins Benefits of Membership, Together SC Alerts,

Dear Together SC members and allies:

For the past year, it has been my honor to serve as your board chair. As I hand over the gavel to my colleague, Monroe Free, I appreciate being asked to share what’s on my mind as we move forward in unprecedented times.  

So, I’m sharing three takeaways that may be of use to you:

Strategic Plans guide us even in uncertain times

The Together SC Board approved its new strategic plan this past March, just weeks before COVID-19 stopped us in our tracks. As we change course in how Together SC does its work, the plan and its values still guide us.

Take a look at the six, three-year strategies in the plan. I see Madeleine and team building new partnerships and lifting up members to be our thought leaders.

I’m also proud of the way we have spoken out publically to inform policies and decisions that impact South Carolinians who need the most help.

If your strategic plan is an accurate guide for where you want to be, it can be a life raft, helping you make tough decisions in uncertain times.

I also just want to restate our vision, because I believe it is more relevant than ever:

We envision a future in which SC’s nonprofits and their allies are

integral players in successfully building vibrant, equitable communities.

Which bring me to this thought…

Nonprofits and partners are vital to the recovery of our communities

I am not going to lie, I worry about the future of nonprofits. This pandemic has disrupted the way we serve our clients, the way we fundraise and, in some cases, puts us in competition with other essential services and priorities. Many of us exist to assist the underserved, and those citizens are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and our struggling economy. “Doing more with less” has never felt more real for some us than right now.

Yet, even as I worry, I’m optimistic. I’m seeing collaborations form that I never imagined and innovative approaches to service delivery that I hope, continue even when things are “normal” again. Sometimes it takes a crisis for us to take risks.

Don’t waste this opportunity.

We must dismantle systemic racism

I am most proud of the work that I, my co-chair, Sherrie Snipes-Williams, the program committee, staff, TRIO Solutions, and especially my team at Richland Library did to make the Nonprofit Summit, Facing Race Together a success.

With the sounds of the Keenan High Raiders Marching Band ringing in my ears, I walked out of the conference even more committed to fighting racism personally, and as a CEO.

There were 600 of us at the conference, and now there are millions of people actively speaking out about the realities of being black in America. I challenge you to take the learning and the conversations we shared and build on them.

Our goal of Facing Race Together didn’t end with the Summit. Look for new offerings later this summer. Together SC is your ally as you work to dismantle systemic racism.

Let me end with some thanks.

Thanks to the Together SC staff and my friends on the board for all their hard work and support. And big thanks to Madeleine, our energetic and caring CEO. She wakes up every day thinking about how to strengthen your work and deepen the impact of nonprofits across the state.

Keep it up, everyone. You’re doing good work.


Melanie Huggins

Together SC Board Chair

Richland Library Executive Director