Auntie Karen Foundation

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Winston S. Churchill 

Image for a moment, if you woke up to a world with no art and your only meal of the day was the free lunch you received at school.  A world where your role model  is either in jail, just leaving jail or about to get to jail for the first time.  Well, that world exist for many youth in South Carolina and other states across the United States everyday.  That dark world for kids became my motivation for starting The Auntie Karen Foundation 16 years ago. Through faith and a dedicated team of seasoned artists, volunteers, community partners and sponsors, The Auntie Karen Foundation has been blessed to bring light through the arts to a child's world.

A Word From Auntie Karen...

What an amazing year!!! 

On December 1, 2016 we held our Open House & Dedication for Auntie Karen's Place, an artist incubator and After School Safe Haven.  Our move from our North Main Street location to 1817 Gadsden Street was an answer to our prayers! With less than one month to move, we asked God to send us a new home for our programs.  There was the possibility of the Tuberculosis Association leasing the building to us but, we had not heard an answer to our proposal.  So one day I decided to go to the building and lift up a prayer.  I know the term "prayer works" is over used.  But that very same day, I received a call that we could lease the building. PRAYER WORKS!

The Auntie Karen Foundation has been blessed to create Auntie Karen's Place Artist Incubator and Teen After School Center at 1817 Gadsden Street.  This center serves as a safe space for creativity hosting programs designed to empower, enlighten and educate through the arts.  The Foundation recently won The South Carolina Governor's Award for Humanities and a Platinum Award from The South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice for their work with At Risk Youth.

For the past year, due to the generosity of The Tuberculosis Association, the center has been located at 1817 Gadsden Street in Columbia, South Carolina.  The Association made the decision to put the building up for sale and The Auntie Karen Foundation needs your help with purchasing this space that has become our home.  We created the campaign called  "A Place To Call Home by Christmas to purchase the building.  The campaign allows supporters like you to help us continue helping and impacting the lives of youth.  Please consider supporting them by becoming a friend of the Auntie Karen Foundation and joining this campaign.  

Click a button to right of the page to donate or create a team.

When you contribute to the Auntie Karen Foundation, you help us empower, enlighten and educate the children in the State of South Carolina and around the globe.  

Since 2001, the Auntie Karen Foundation has inspired kids and adults using the power of the arts, Auntie Karen Characters and Programs.

Auntie Karen Programs

Programs include:

Annual Young Entrepreneurs Conference: Showcasing Businesses by youth from 7 to 22 years old since 2003.  Pictured: Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner, Tyra Jefferson and her mom.

Artpreneur (Afterschool Arts programs): Over 500 youth participate in The Auntie Karen Artpreneur Program Summer Camp Programs.  Pictured:  Youth Dancing "The Charleston" during The Harlem Renaissance Summer Camp.

Legends of...(Celebrating Black History in South Carolina):  Concert Series, Master Class and Black History Cultural Day at the Columbia Museum of Art. Pictured Al Jarreau having fun at the Master Class at Dreher High School in 2016.

Legends of...(A Salute to Black History)

The Auntie Karen Foundation pays tribute to the contributions of African Americans with the Legends of...Programs. Each year, the celebration includes: Black History Program with The Columbia Museum of Art, The Legends of...Master Class and The Legends of...Concert & Silent Auction (Koger Center)

 The Auntie Karen Foundation’s Celebration of Black History Month at the Columbia Museum of Art, the last Saturday in January. Our partnership with Benedict College, the Columbia Museum of Art, and the University of South Carolina’s Art Department has produced nine years of powerful entertainment and enlightenment. Visual artists, Master Art Classes, Dance, Poetry, Artisians and Artist are showcased.

The concert presented at the Koger Center for The Arts brings legendary awarding winning, recording artists who introduce the general public to the music of Americans legends.  The inaugural concert featured Grammy award winner Roberta Flack; the 2005 concert featured jazz artist Dianne Reeves; the 2006 concert showcased the artistry of Al Jarreau in a sell-out performance; and Patti Austin presented a stupendous performance on February 23, 2007. Other artists included: 2008 (Joe & Take 6), 2009 (George Duke & Rachelle Ferrell) Ashford & Simpson (2011); Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (2012) Ramsey Lewis & Patti Austin (2012), Gladys Knight (2013), A Tribute to George Duke featuring Kirk Whalum, Layla Hathaway and Jonathan Butler (2014), Chaka Khan (2015) and Al Jarreau with The South Carolina Philharmonic (2016). The Legends Of… Concert attracts people throughout the state and also to our neighboring states of  Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.  

For More Program Details Click on Links Below:

Artpreneur (Lee County Project Lead ll Summer Camp Video)

Legends of...2016 Program Book

Young Entrepreneurs Conference 2015 Program Book

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Meet some of the fundraisers that are part of this campaign

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