Dream Center among state’s Angel charities

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

STATE — The Dream Center of Pickens County was recently recognized for devoting 95 percent of its total expenses to its charitable programs.

The center was among 10 charities recently recognized for being a charity that is “a good steward of contributions.”

South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond recognized 10 Angel charities at a news conference on Nov. 16.

“As your secretary of state, I have the duty of enforcing the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, of raising public awareness of the need to be vigilant when making charitable donations,” Hammond said.

Twenty-four years ago, the secretary of state’s office began the tradition of recognizing “Angel and Scrooge” charities before Thanksgiving, he said.

“The holiday season marks a time of giving and increased solicitations,” Hammond said. “The purpose of this announcement has been to recognize charities that are good stewards of contributions and to educate the public of the need to do their research before making a donation.”

In recent years, instead of naming specific organizations as Scrooges, his office has released a Wise Giving Report as part of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week in October, Hammond said.

“This report provides a tip on how to evaluate charities and questions that all donors should ask,” he said. “For example, if you receive a solicitation, you should check to see if the charity is registered to solicit in South Carolina and how much of their expenses are devoted to their charitable programs.”

“You can do this by using the charities search feature on our website,” Hammond continued. “Before making a donation, you should always ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much is being spent on fundraising costs. If you have concerns about a charity, professional fundraiser or a raffle, please notify our office.”

The report includes a “Give Smart Watch List” of 10 organizations soliciting in South Carolina that have failed to spend a significant percentage of donations on their charitable programs, he said.

“Public charities serve an important role in our communities,” Hammond said.

South Carolina nonprofits employ nearly 6 percent of the state’s workforce “and generate more than $17 billion in annual revenue,” he said.

The charities selected as Angels “represent what we believe to be shining examples of public service and good stewardship,” he said.

To be recognized as an Angel, a charity must devote 80 percent or more of its total expenses to charitable programs.

To recognize as many organizations as possible, his office only recognizes Angel organizations one time, Hammond said.

“Please don’t call me and ask why you weren’t recognized next year,” he told the crowd. “You are not a fallen Angel. You are still an Angel.”

Deputy Secretary of State Melissa Dunlap announced this year’s selected charities.

The Dream Center of Pickens County devotes 95 percent of its total expenses to its charitable programs, she said.

“The purpose of the Dream Center of Pickens County is to encourage, educate and empower people in need with a hand up, not a handout,” Dunlap said. “The Dream Center of Pickens County’s primary program shelters the homeless (and) educates them to become independent and self-sufficient citizens.

“The Dream Center operates Opportunity Village, which is a yearlong homeless shelter which provides 23 tiny houses and 10 transitional houses to shelter women and children in need,” she continued. “In addition to housing, Opportunity Village programs assist residents through an individual success plan, which includes services of a case manager, a financial coach and a care coach.”

The Dream Center also offers crisis intervention, as well as free classes in budgeting, parenting and healthy lifestyle choices, Dunlap said.

The other Angels recognized this year are Cancer Association of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties Inc., Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County, Defenders For Children, Mercy Medicine Free Clinic, Operation Home Inc., Programs for Exceptional People, Restore Mobility for the Blind, Sharing God’s Love Inc. and The Village Group.

The Wise Giving Report can be found at

“It is our hope that the report will give charitable donors the tools they need to make wise giving decisions,” Hammond said.

Learn more about the Dream Center of Pickens County at