United Way of the Midlands names Jim Lehman 2024 Humanitarian of the Year

Columbia, SC – United Way of the Midlands will honor Jim Lehman as the 2024 Humanitarian of the Year award recipient on February 22, 2024, at the Pastides Alumni Center.

The Humanitarian of the Year Award is given each year to individuals who clearly demonstrate extraordinary leadership in philanthropic and human services. It is the highest single honor of philanthropic achievement in the Midlands.

“Jim’s unwavering commitment to philanthropy and his exceptional leadership have made an indelible mark on our community,” said Sara Fawcett, President & CEO of United Way of the Midlands. “Jim exemplifies the spirit of service and dedication that United Way of the Midlands stands for.”

Lehman's relationship with United Way has been steadfast for over two decades. In 2008, he was named the Volunteer of the Year. He served on the United Way of the Midlands Board from 2006 to 2014 and held the position of Chairman of the Board from 2010-2011. Additionally, he played a role in guiding United Way's community impact work as a member of the Community Impact Council. Lehman is also a member of United Way's Tocqueville Society and an advocate for United Way giving and support at Nelson Mullins.
He has served as the managing partner of Nelson Mullins since 2012, leading the firm through significant growth. The firm now has more than 1,000 lawyers and policy advisors in 34 offices in 17 states and Washington, D.C.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as United Way’s Humanitarian of the Year,” said Lehman. “It's a privilege to be a part of this group of humanitarians who have given so much to our community, and I'm inspired to continue serving and giving back to a community that has given me so much.”

Lehman has served on the boards of community organizations such as Claflin University (as chairman), the Columbia Urban League, Midlands Housing Alliance (where he served as chairman), Governor's School for Science and Mathematics Foundation (also a former chairman), City Center Partnership, South Carolina Philharmonic (past president), Central Carolina Community Foundation. He also serves on the board of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

In 2019, Lehman was honored with the Columbia Urban League's Social Justice Award, recognizing his excellence in leadership as chairman of the board of Claflin University, a Historically Black College & University (HBCU). His efforts have advanced academic excellence and created access to career opportunities for Claflin University students. Lehman has served on Claflin's Board of Trustees since 2011 and was elected chair in 2018. For the last ten years, under his leadership, Claflin has been recognized as a top 10 HBCUs in America, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Lehman's commitment to philanthropy is further exemplified through his work with the Midlands Business Leadership Group (MBLG) in evaluating the need and options for creating a new homelessness service center, which eventually became Transitions. In 2015, he was awarded the Cathy Novinger Award as Philanthropist and Leader of the Year in recognition of his exceptional leadership.

United Way of the Midlands is proud to recognize Jim Lehman as the 2024 Humanitarian of the Year, celebrating his unwavering commitment to philanthropy, community service, and making a lasting difference in the lives of those in the Midlands.

Please join us on February 22, 2024, at the University of South Carolina’s Pastides Alumni Center, as we honor Jim Lehman and celebrate his remarkable contributions to our community.

About United Way of the Midlands
United Way of the Midlands is the most collaborative, efficient and accountable model for investing in the improvement of the Midlands community. With 70 Community Impact Partners, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations and are directed to creating generational change by breaking cycles of crisis and empowering people to build their own paths to success. For more information, please visit uway.org.


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