Two Sisters of Charity Health System representatives were honored on Saturday April 30th. Tom Keith, President of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, and Frank Martin, Center for Fathers and Families Board member and Head Basketball Coach at the University of South Carolina, received the 2016 Palmetto State Fatherhood Award.

This award recognizes those who have made an impact on the lives of children and their fathers.  All awardees were honored at a recognition breakfast at Edventure Children’s Museum in Columbia, hosted by Global Partners for Fathers and Families.

Keith helped launch the Sisters of Charity Foundation’s Fatherhood Initiative in 1997 and has played an active role in the development of the fatherhood strategy for South Carolina, statewide partnerships and funding for fatherhood programs.

Martin has been on the Center for Fathers and Families board since August 2014. Since his appointment as head coach of the Gamecocks in March 2012, Martin has become a fixture in the community. He has spoken at numerous events, including Gamecock Club Fan Fests, Rotary Clubs, coaching clinics, and the Fathers and Families Decades of Dads event, among others.

“I am humbled and honored to be chosen for this award,” Keith said. “Being a father of two sons and being part of the movement at the Foundation to support low income fathers across the state, has given me two different but rewarding situations.”

The Sisters of Charity Foundation has invested more than $14 million to create and sustain fatherhood programs in all regions of South Carolina. The Foundation also founded the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families in 2003 to be the operational arm for Fatherhood programs.

Patrick Patterson, President of Global Partners based in Delaware and a former Foundation program director, commented on the award.

“Tom has been a pioneer in the fatherhood efforts in South Carolina. The Foundation has been on the cutting edge of this issue for nearly two decades and Tom’s leadership has helped make it possible,” Patterson said.

The other recipients are: Dr. David Swinton, President of Benedict College in Columbia; Mr. Vernon Smith, President of the Marcus Lattimore Foundation of Duncan South Carolina and Mr. Jamey Patterson, a guidance counselor at Blythewood High School.

The event not only honored these men, but also raised awareness about growing young men and investing in youth males to insure they will have the tools necessary to become good fathers in the future. The keynote speaker for the Breakfast is Anton Gunn of Charleston. Mr. Gunn is a former South Carolina Legislator and is also a leadership coach and healthcare executive at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Funds raised from the 2016 Palmetto State Fatherhood Awards Breakfast will support scholarships for the 2016 Male Achievement Conference planned for later this year.