2012 Best of Philanthropy Individual Champion

After Cynthia Byrd’s youngest son, Brandon, died in an automobile accident she turned her grief into an effort to meet the needs of other people’s children through a philosophy that she calls “Remembering Through Giving.”

A single mother working two jobs, Byrd started with a school supply drive at Seven Oaks Elementary School that garnered more than 3,000 school supply items and raised $1,000 to purchase new books. She then embarked on a mission to honor her son’s memory by soliciting more than 500 individual, small gifts for Richland County Public Library.

To address a need in the community for family-centered events, she organized an annual fashion and talent show to engage African-American youth by focusing on their strengths. In addition, she has established a college scholarship fund in her son’s memory that has enabled 10 college freshmen since 2011 to receive scholarships.

Cynthia Byrd

To address a need in the community for family-centered events, she organized an annual fashion and talent show to engage African-American youth by focusing on their strengths.