Darius Rucker, Jim Sonefeld, Dean Felber, and Mark Bryan have not forgotten about the community that embraced their careers when they formed Hootie & the Blowfish in 1986 in Columbia. The four met as freshmen at the University of South Carolina and became one of the most popular American rock bands in the 1990s, experiencing platinum albums and a Grammy Award win.
The band members created an endowment that ensures the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation will last into perpetuity by providing financial support to charitable initiatives throughout South Carolina and beyond. In October, Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation awarded $90,000 to three South Carolina non-profits benefitting child welfare and youth arts programs. They are:
- Epworth Children’s Home’s Epworth’s Family Care Center, which is a program allowing mothers and their children to stay together while receiving treatment as a whole family.
- Abbeville County School District’s Putting Students First, One Beat at a Time, which is a program to assist the district’s schools with purchasing musical instruments for students who have an interest in band.
- Dillon School District Four’s Stayin’ the Chorus, which is a program to send choral students to regional performances and competitions and help with the purchase of a music classroom mat.
The Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation has awarded more than $2.9 million in grants since its creation in 2000. Hootie & the Blowfish established their donor-advised fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands’ center for philanthropy, to strengthen the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation’s philanthropic efforts. The Community Foundation acts as a centralized point of contact for all grant requests and manages its grant administration, evaluation, outreach, and distribution.