Exceptional Fundraising for Special Needs Students

Scholarship Funding Organization Raises $12 Million in Less Than One Week

COLUMBIA, SC ­– Exceptional SC, South Carolina’s scholarship program for special needs students, last week exceeded the $12 million fundraising goal approved by the General Assembly in this year’s state budget. The result guarantees more than 2,400 special needs scholarships will be sponsored for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.

“We cannot be more pleased,” said Tom Persons, Chairman of the Board for Exceptional SC. “Since last fall, we’ve raised more than $18 million to provide scholarships for special needs children across the state, and we’ve made Exceptional SC permanent law in South Carolina. That comes in no small part to the leadership of our Executive Director Chad Connelly who has taken our board’s fundraising efforts to a whole new level.”

Rep. Garry Smith (R-Simpsonville), sponsor of the legislation that made Exceptional SC permanent law said, “The outpouring of support for Exceptional SC through millions in donations shows the dedication this state has for this program and the importance of making it permanent law this past session. Today’s news gives them the assurance that South Carolina cares.”

“Codifying this program has created stability for students, their families and donors,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw). “This is evidenced by how quickly Exceptional SC has been able to raise scholarship funds for the entirety of the upcoming school year.”

Since Exceptional SC was created as the unified scholarship funding organization for special needs students in 2016, the program has steadily seen increases in funding of one million dollars each year. “I will work to expand this innovative program,” added Rep. Jason Elliott (R-Greenville), co-sponsor of the legislation. “The Exceptional Needs Education Tax Credit Program is a huge success and it provides freedom and opportunity for parents to choose the best educational environment for their children.”

More than 90,000 children in South Carolina’s public schools are classified with at least one special need, and the Exceptional SC program is designed to provide them the best educational options to meet their unique learning needs.

“We would love to serve even more of the children in our state with special needs,” said Exceptional SC Executive Director Chad Connelly. “Each million dollars in funding allocated by the legislature means more than 200 additional children would be served. We sincerely hope to expand the scholarships next legislative session.”

Exceptional SC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that oversees and manages the scholarship program. Individuals and businesses can direct up to 60% of their state tax liability to the program and receive a full deduction on their federal tax returns.

Since the program’s inception, some 4,000 children have received scholarships funded by donations from more than 1,900 donors across South Carolina.