Congratulations, Morgan!

It’s official! After a week in Charleston at the Mary Brewer School of Insurance, Morgan took the property and casualty insurance licensing test on Friday and she PASSED! Way to go, Morgan!


Guest Blog: Align Your Philanthropy with Your Values and Passions By Todd Rhine

Todd Rhine is a 25 year veteran of the financial service industry, founding member of The GenUs Collaborative and Regional Director of The Heritage Institute.  He is a regular speaker among financial, estate and generation planning professionals and carries an impressive resume of degrees and designations. You can view more information on his website 

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the amount of discretionary / disposable cash available to individuals and families has been declining steadily for some time.  Among the many effects of this trend-line is a decline in how, when–and even if– we engage in philanthropy at the level we would like to.  This shrinking participation in charitable giving plays out as a decrease in total overall giving, a decrease in the number of organizations that individuals are able to support, or a combination of both.  In my own business I’m seeing more people who once supported as many as 6 to 8 non-profits when times were good who now are giving a reduced amount to just 1 or 2 organizations.

We certainly haven’t run out of valid reasons to give. Tax strategies, the call of our faith, a tradition of family philanthropy, or simply a way to make a difference in our community are all powerful motivators for giving.  Another factor boils down to a simple question: does my philanthropy represent my real passions, and what matters most to me?  Am I truly motivated by my donations or am I ‘just going through the motions?’  According to many not for profit organizations, more donors than ever are just going through the motions. Non-profit officers report fewer donors who have a strong personal passion or motivation for the giving they are doing. This trend is also evident in declining participation and support for traditional charitable events like golf outings, charitable dinners, silent auctions and other fundraisers.

Given these trends, it is more important than ever to focus on methods by which we can we align the personal philanthropic desires of donors with their ability to give.  Even in the most turbulent economic times, people want to do all they can to support the causes and organizations that they are passionate about.

National experts are weighing in on the issue. Jack Beatty, founder of CORE Group USA, and a recognized authority on communication, mindset and decision-making, has recently published a research summary on Alignment Theory that highlights the critical need to attach passion to purpose when it comes to helping cash-strapped donors to continue the charitable giving that matters most to them.

Rod Zeeb, co-founder and CEO of The Heritage Institute, has pinpointed additional reasons for creating alignment between donor passion and purpose in philanthropy in his white paper on how to create multi-generational transformational philanthropy. (Transformational philanthropy is philanthropy that impacts the giver as much as the recipient of the gift.) And in his book, The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising, Larry Johnson cites alignment as the key component that motivates donors and delivers the true satisfaction they seek to achieve through their giving.

The experts share this conclusion in common:  organizations looking for long-term, sustainable support must help to foster passionate connections between what truly matters to the donor and the organization that receives their support.

To identify and align passion with purpose requires a process of relationship building far different than the traditional donor-organization relationship.  In part, it’s about helping the donor to discover, identify and articulate what is most important in his or her life. (Leaving the money OFF the table!)  This process identifies the values that are most important to the donor, and in doing so, points to pathways available that can help them to weld their passions to their charitable desires.

Is such a process easy? Consider this: in your own personal experience, do your philanthropic activities truly align with what matters most to you, including being a reflection of your values and life lessons?  Can you easily identify and write down eight core values that you hold dear?  If you answered no, then you are in the majority.  Understanding your values takes some effort to clarify, and more importantly, to translate into action moving forward.

This discovery and articulation process requires a blend of science and art. Some advisors and non-profit organizations enlist the assistance of professionals trained in this kind of process. Self-discovery processes are also available, like the one that is used by the main character in the novel, What Matters.   Eighty-two year old Martin Forrestal is dying, but he has one last gift he wishes to share with his family. He takes a pad of paper and writes “What Matters” across the top of the page.  Then he writes down every value that has been important in his life.  Such a list will be unique to each person. It could be faith, work, honor, family, responsibility, loyalty, etc.  When Martin completed his list, he recorded a personal story describing how each value was modeled for him by others, how it played out in his life, and why he wanted his children and grandchildren to understand it.  Those of us who have done this exercise ourselves should add this disclaimer:  it can be a highly enjoyable and meaningful exercise, but don’t expect it to be finished with your first cup of coffee! (That fact, plus the issue of, “OK, I’ve got my list and my stories, now what?,” explains why some people enlist the help of a qualified Heritage professional to translate the list and the stories into a multi-generational family experience.)

The bottom line is that once an individual has gained clarity and has articulated what matters most to them (for their reasons), their philanthropic activities and their relationship to the organizations they wish to support, take on a whole new level of involvement and impact. That involvement tends to be multi-generational, too, as the donor’s family participates in family meetings and other activities that (in the spirit of transformational philanthropy) help to strengthen the family itself.

It is said that a donor gives because of what it does for the charity, while a philanthropist gives because of what it does for them.  The benefit of aligning one’s donations with one’s values is that any person, no matter the size of the gifts they can give, can experience the same level of personal satisfaction and family involvement that the multi-million dollar philanthropist experiences. In aligning passion with purpose, the scope, longevity and multi-generational opportunities and rewards for individuals, families and the causes and organizations that matter most to them can come into perfect alignment.


South Carolina Home Insurance Quote Part 1 of What is Needed and Why

Part 1: Why do we ask for personal information for “just a quote”?

We often get asked this question when we have prospective clients call looking for an insurance quote. There may be instances when we can tell you a general amount of what we are seeing in a certain area, but for the most part, the companies need to identify you to give you an exact, or even estimated, rate. We really want to assist you and get an understanding of all of your South Carolina home insurance needs, and the following information will help us with that.

Real Name and Birth Date: Companies need to verify who you are by your real name and birth date. Not only does this verify who you are, but certain ages could get certain credits and so on.

Occupation: You wouldn’t think it would have an effect on rates, but your occupation is important. It is always a question on the applications we submit to our carriers. For example, there are discounts available for retired individuals and insurance agents are less likely to get preferred rates.

Social Security Number: It is important to understand that insurance is listed under the financial catagory, which means yes, in most cases, a part of the rate is going to be based of the insured financial credibility. Many carriers need to know the social security number for the named insured. This is used to identify the insured as well as research possible claims history. We always ask if it is ok to use this information.

Previous Address: If you have lived at your home less than two years or if the quote is for a new purchase, the carrier requires your previous address. Again, this is used to identify you.

Email Address: We know this is a tough one, even in the digital age because there is so many pointless emails floating around out there. Carriers require and email address in many cases because that is the way they may deliver important documents, including renewal information in policies. We ask for your email address so that we can deliver the quotes to you this way as well as a second means for correspondence.

We know there have been many cases of identity theft across the United States, but we want you to know that you can trust our South Carolina Insurance agency with your personal information. We take all of the necessary precautions to keep all client information confidential.

Check out the 2nd of this two part series next week!

Featured Partner: The Bark Shack

Need a trustworthy place to take care of your best furry friend while you head out of town for a couple of days or maybe a couple of weeks? The Bark Shack is the perfect place to take your pet and keep your mind at ease.

Not only does the Bark Shack take care of your dogs and cats, but also other pets including bunnies, hamsters, birds and more!

The Bark Shack also offers pick-up and delivery service in Bluffton and Hilton Head for dog and cat grooming and doggy daycare. Doggy Daycare is a great way to keep you pet happy while you are away at work. The Bark Shack can even pick up and deliver your pet so you don’t have to do a thing!

If you decide to board your pet, many fun options are available while you are away. You can have pictures of your pet texted or emailed to you, your pet can have a daily teeth brushing, or given some yummy frozen treats or bones.

The facility offers 20 indoor/outdoor kennels as well as 20 fully interior kennels if your pet is a little older, scared of all the other animals, or just a little guy. There are also 6 outside yards with plans to increase to 14 which gives your pet plenty of time to get some fresh air. Depending on your pet’s needs, the Bark Shack will do whatever they need to make sure your pet has a fun and comfortable stay.

The staff members at Bark Shack are the best of the best! With over 50 years of combined experience, they have a lot of fun but are very serious about the pets they take care of. They are certainly doing what they love!

Next time you leave town, want to give your pet something to do during the day, or primp him or her, the Bark Shack is the perfect place to bring your furry friend!

Tips for Filing a South Carolina Insurance Claim – Be Prepared!

We’ve heard the sentence many times, “I think I have an insurance claim, what do I do?” It is a situation of panic, and we understand that. Here are some tips to ease your mind and help you prepare for that unfortunate time when a claim needs to be filed:

  1. Let company know as soon as possible that you have damage. Be upfront with all information pertaining to the loss.
  2. Let the company know the extent of the damage, let them know if it is completely destroyed or just a little damaged. If you have to find a place to stay, they will need to know that.
  3. Document your loss and make a list of damaged property – be as detailed as possible. Something may not seem important to you, but could be the key piece in getting a payout for your claim.
  4. Take photographs – it is the easiest way to document.
  5. Take out your home inventory list. Many people will run into a wall here since they haven’t completed their inventory list. Is this you? Try using this website:
  6. Keep receipts for additional living expenses. Is your kitchen damaged and need to go out to eat? Keep the receipt. Need to purchase something to control the damage? Keep the receipt. Get the hint? Keep your receipts!
  7. Make inexpensive temporary repairs, but stay safe. If your home was struck by lightening from a thunderstorm and it put a hole in your roof (true story) get a tarp to make sure there isn’t more damage to the area from the rain. Even the smallest attempt at controlling damage is appreciated.
  8. Get organized, keep great records of receipts and contact info for every person you have talked to. If you had someone come out and look at the damage before making a claim, document it and maybe get a firm signed document of a quote or what they told you. You will also want to have every contact person document just incase something is wrong or if you become a product of the last tip:
  9. Don’t be a victim of a scam! These days, people are searching for more ways to make money. Do yourself a favor and research contractors and companies before you use them.

Whether you are in Bluffton, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach or Charleston, it is important that you know the way your specific South Carolina Home Insurance carrier would like for you to do in the event of a claim. All carriers have a claim phone number and many times you can call your agent and they can help you out. In the event of a hurricane or major storm, your agent may not be available, so knowing your carrier’s claim hotline is incredibly important.

Top Ten Things to do in January

Now that the weather has officially cooled down (most days), what is there to do in the Lowcountry area? I’ve found some great events to attend, and things to do on your own time while that bikini stays away for just a few more months!

Wanting to attend something already scheduled? Here is a list of fun events to attend during the month of January.

1. Tuesday, January 7th- Exploring Pinckney Island

Whether you go on your own time or decide to take a scheduled tour, Pinckney Island is a beautiful place to visit and appreciate. To learn more about the island, attend this tour by starting off with a  brief historical and natural history overview. That will be followed by a walking tour which includes the salt marsh as well as maritime forest. You may come across alligators, birds, perhaps some deer and much more. The tour is from 9:00-AM-11:00AM and is run by the coastal discovery museum. Be sure to make a reservation at 843-689-6767 or online at

2. Saturday, January 18- 3rd Annual Resolution Run/Walk 5k

What better way to start the New Year than to stay active? This race begins at 10AM and is located on the beautiful Dataw Island. This walk/run benefits the LowCountry Habitat for Humanity. The registration fee is $25. To register, visit or call (843) 522-3500.

3. Saturday, January 25- 1st Annual Chowder Challenge and Silent Auction

Who doesn’t love a good chowder this time of the year? Stop by Reiley’s Plaza on Greenwood drive to taste some delicious chowders from 10 locally owned and operated restaurants on Hilton Head Island. There will be live music, a silent Auction and a Kids Zone. Bring the whole family to this fun event from 12:00PM to 4:00PM!

4. Saturday, January 25th- Bluffton Rotary Annual Oyster Roast

After you have attended the Chowder Challenge, make the short drive to Bluffton for some oysters! The event will take place at Bluffton Oyster Factory from 5:00PM-8:00PM. Help support Bluffton Rotary’s efforts in the community as well as around the world. Live music will be performed by Lowcountry Boil and admission is $25 for advance tickets and $30 the day of the event.

5. Saturday, January 25-February 1-Chamber Restaurant Week

Don’t miss this awesome deal! A selection of local restaurants will be offering a special menu for a special price during this time. The options are endless! Visit here for a full list of restaurants and menus. Check daily because new places might be added!

6. Any Saturday! – Palmetto Running Company’s free Running Club

Every Saturday at 8:00AM, Palmetto Running Company welcomes runners and walkers of all abilities for long group walks and runs in Beaufort and Bluffton. They meet at their stores in both locations. What a great way to get outdoors and get in shape!


While there are plenty of planned events to attend, if you don’t want to be on a time schedule, here are some fun things to do on your own time.

7. Visit Hunting Island

What a neat place! Visit the many trails whether you like to bike, ride horses, hike, or just enjoy nature. If you like to fish, rent a boat, fish on the pier, and enjoy freshwater as well as saltwater fish. You can also do some boating. Bring your own boat, rent a pedal boat, canoe, or kayak. There is also a lot of history on Hunting Island. Attend a guided tour if you want to learn a little more, or just wonder around on your own. Learn about Native Americans, the Revolutionary War, and Civil War. You can also visit the Museum, zoo, farm, and nature center. Hunting Island also welcome campers if you’re wanting to stay a little longer than a day! Visit their website to learn more here.

8. Take your Dogs to the Beach

There are plenty of beaches to let your best furry friend run free until Memorial Day. Meet other dog lovers and have fun! I can’t think of a better place to take a man’s best friend.

9. Head to Savannah

Do some shopping, people watch, and just enjoy the day. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to stay busy for hours! Stroll along River Street and browse antique shops, stop in at a pub, or watch the ships sail by. You can also head to the Historic District and peruse the cobblestone streets, enjoy the outdoor cafes and gourmet restaurants, view museums, mansions, monuments, forts and churches. So much to do in just one day!

10. Head to Beaufort

There is plenty to see in the beautiful town of Beaufort. Head to the waterfront and enjoy the scenery, visit the “Big Chill” house, walk to the point and look at the old homes, head to a drive in movie, or do some shopping. It’s a great place to go to get away.

Hoping these events and ways to spend your January provide some fun for you, your friends and family! Happy January everyone!