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New foundation connects student-athletes with nonprofits

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Student athletes at the University of South Carolina will now have the opportunity to lend their name, image and likeness to the support of nonprofit organizations and charities through the Garnet Trust Foundation, founded by the Garnet Trust, a Columbia-based NIL collective that connects fans and businesses with student athletes.

“While NIL opportunities have changed the game in many ways for collegiate athletics, we are excited to flip the script by working with student athletes to give back to the incredible organizations and causes that serve our local communities,” said Barry Bodiford, chairman of the new foundation’s board of directors. “It’s our honor to come alongside impressive charities and nonprofits that deserve and need more resources and to work with student-athletes who share our heart for giving back to South Carolina.”

Student-athletes who participate in the program will be responsible for generating deliverables that highlight the organizations’ efforts, including content development, community appearances, social media engagement and other marketing and communications activities.

Along with Bodiford, members of the foundation’s board of directors include former USC basketball player Markeshia Grant, founder and personal development coach at Savvy Skills LLC; Candace Knox, retired from planning and system development at the former Palmetto Health; former USC football player Marcus Lattimore, now a health educator with the Multnomah County Health Department; Ken Long, retired president of Long’s Drugs; Tim Packer, tax supervisor at Dean Dorton; and Brent Skinner, owner of BP Skinner Clothiers.

“The coaches and athletic department at USC have created a culture that focuses on giving back and putting others first,” said Jeremy Smith, leader of operations for the foundation. “We’re thankful that our student-athletes are paving the way for new avenues of NIL that promote philanthropy and service.”

An initial list of organizations benefiting from the Garnet Trust Foundation’s work will be announced soon. Charities and nonprofits seeking consideration as beneficiaries of the program can contact the organization through its website.

Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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