BUSINESS

City Of Charleston Steps Up To Help Victims' Families In A Big Way

06/23/2015 03:15 pm ET | Updated Jun 23, 2015

In the wake of the shooting massacre last week at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, local businesses and a few major corporations have rallied to support the community.

Donations are streaming in to two funds established by the city. The first, called the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund -- named for the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, commonly known as "Mother Emanuel," where the violence occurred -- will provide the victims' families with financial support for funeral and burial expenses. The fund will give any remaining money to the AME Church in Charleston.

The other, called the Lowcountry Ministries -- Reverend Pinckney Fund, will donate to local youth projects and initiatives that had been important to Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a state Senator and Emanuel AME pastor who was one of the nine killed in the shooting.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz pledged that the coffee chain's charitable arm, the Starbucks Foundation, will donate $50,000 to each fund, according to a press release. In the days following the shooting, Schultz also flew to Charleston and listened to the stories of 75 Starbucks employees at a company forum.

“My heart is heavy for Charleston today and the senseless hate crime that has impacted not only that community, but our Starbucks family and our nation as a whole,” he said in a letter to Starbucks employees nationwide. “Now more than ever, I feel the need to reach out to each of you and express my concern.”

Boeing South Carolina also announced it will donate $100,000 to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.

Zero George, a boutique hotel and restaurant in Charleston, pledged 10 percent of its restaurant proceeds from Friday through Sunday to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. In all, the company donated $5,000 to the fund, according to Ray Berrouet, general manager of Zero George.

“As human beings, we really need to be here to support everything that is happening in Charleston,” Berrouet told The Huffington Post. “It’s important for us to shine some light on everything that has come out of this dark event.”

A local bar called Proof hosted a charity event on Monday, pledging 100 percent of the proceeds to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. That night, the bar pulled in just over $5,000 worth of donations, owner Craig Nelson told HuffPost.

“There’s really not much you can do in a situation like this,” Nelson said. “But we felt the need to do something.”

Local bakery Cupcake Down South is supporting the cause by offering a special "Charleston Love" cupcake for $2.95 through July 5. All proceeds from the promotion will be donated to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, according to Adreanna Prussia, assistant manager at the shop.

Our Charleston Love cupcake was created to give back to Mother Emanuel AME. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. #CharlestonStrong #CharlestonUnited

"When things like this happen, we like to give back to the community as much as we can," Prussia told HuffPost. She estimated that the bakery has sold over eight dozen of the cupcakes so far.

Support from businesses in Charleston -- augmented by individuals in the community, as well as donations from outside the city -- brought the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund up to a total of $377,425 as of Monday morning, according to the city’s website. Pinckney Fund had raised $70,338 by that time.

Visit HuffPost Impact for more information on how to help Charleston.

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