Long-time College of Charleston supporters Emily and Todd Abedon were honored as “Outstanding Philanthropists” at the 25th annual National Philanthropy Day celebration on Nov. 16, 2021. The celebration, which took place at the Charleston Gaillard Center, featured keynote speaker Chris Singleton, a former pro-athlete who lost his mother in the 2015 Mother Emanuel Church tragedy.
For the College of Charleston, the recognition of the Abedons is well deserved; their philanthropic work at the College spans two decades, touching many lives. The couple initially got involved through a building campaign for the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies program. They then expanded their reach to support the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, with which they remain actively involved.
In 2009, the Abedons founded Kids on Point (KOP), a program designed to engage K-12 students from under resourced neighborhoods through the game of squash. In partnership with the College, KOP now shares and maintains a 5-court squash facility in the College’s Johnson & Silcox Gymnasium. KOP participants have the opportunity to work with CofC students who volunteer as mentors and tutors and engage in after school and summer programming. None of this would have been possible without the Abedons’ vision and dedication.
“I hope that we’ve been able to reach the vision that Todd and Emily had, which is to make life better for all children and all families in this community,” says School of Education, Health, and Human Performance Dean Frances Welch, who has worked closely with the Abedons to develop KOP.
The Abedons continue to advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on CofC campus. They support the Foundation Fellows Program to build engagement with young, diverse alumni and community leaders. They also serve as thought leaders for the College’s new 1967 Legacy Program, which provides scholarships and professional development opportunities to African American students.
The positive impact of the Abedons’ contributions to the College of Charleston and the greater community is immeasurable. They embody what it takes to be “outstanding philanthropists.”