When Wayne Zanetti of Sun City speaks of his passion for investing in the youth of Jasper County, you’ll notice he frequently uses the word “promise,” not “need.” It’s why he and his wife, Mary, set up the Mary and Wayne Zanetti Scholarship, benefiting public high school students in Jasper County who seek to enter trade professions.

“There’s a lot of potential here in Jasper County, and a lot of promise,” says Zanetti. “Often, all these students need is that first step, but sometimes that first step is blocked by a lack of financial resources – even when it comes to technical and trade schools.”

Like the Zanettis, we use the word “promise” at the Community Foundation, too. We see the vast potential not only in Southern Beaufort County, but throughout our service area, which includes all of Beaufort County, as well as Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.

Recently, we had the privilege of partnering with Dave and Trish Rapp of Hilton Head Island in creating an endowment scholarship for the four-county region: Promise of the Lowcountry Endowment Scholarship.

Rapp said that he and his wife, Trish, started recognizing that investing in our region’s future would involve looking beyond just Beaufort County – although certainly not excluding it.

“We would look around us and realize that every day we were coming into contact with residents from the other counties, as they provided services through their jobs here on Hilton Head Island,” said Rapp. “They’re not out of sight and out of mind. They’re part of our community, and we should invest in them.”

That sentiment gets to the broadening sense of community that local families like the Rapps and the Zanettis have developed – one that extends throughout the region.

“We just feel very strongly that all of the four-county region is our community,” says Rapp.

Zanetti agrees. “Technically, Mary and I live in Jasper County, so we’ve started identifying with this area more and more. I would challenge people to look around and consider, ‘What is my community?’ Better yet, I would challenge them to look west.”

In reaching outward to assist students in these areas of the Lowcountry, both the Zanettis and the Rapps chose to partner with Community Foundation of the Lowcountry – not only because of our reputation for providing scholarships to local students for more than 25 years, but also because we help donors customize scholarships to reflect their wishes.

In the Zanettis’ case, their wish was to set up a scholarship for Jasper County public high school students who are seeking an education at a trade or vocational school. For the Rapps, it was an interest in a broader four-county scholarship that would be endowed for future generations.

In what specific way would you invest in the promise of the Lowcountry?

At the Community Foundation, we work with donors to create scholarships that reflect their unique vision for the future of our great region. You can learn more about our scholarship program by calling our office at 843-681-9100 or by visiting cf-lowcountry.org/about-scholarships.

Scott Wierman is the president and CEO of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.