Beyond Our Gates grants $300K in honor of Linda Gadson

By Jessica Brodie

A community foundation in South Carolina’s Lowcountry recently made grants to 16 organizations on the five Sea Islands of Charleston in honor of longtime United Methodist servant-leader Linda Gadson.

Beyond Our Gates Foundation of Kiawah and Seabrook Islands presented $300,000 in grants to these organizations in Gadson’s name.

Brian McDonagh, co-head of Global Investment Banking and co-head of Mergers and Acquisitions for Baird, presented the funds on behalf of Beyond Our Gates and also spoke to Gadson’s home church, Wesley United Methodist Church in Hollywood, about why the foundation wanted to help.

McDonagh shared Dec. 3 at Wesley about the inspiration of Gadson, known by many as the Mother Teresa of the Sea Islands, particularly emphasizing how her lifetime of service impacted so many lives in the area.

Gadson was the director of Rural Mission Inc. for more than 45 years until the United Methodist ministry closed its doors. Chartered in 1969 as an interdenominational nonprofit to address spiritual, social, educational, medical and housing needs of rural residents of the Sea Islands, Rural Mission focused for many years on helping the families of migrant farmers, who played a huge part in the area’s history and development.

More than a quarter of the island’s population lives below the poverty level, and one in every five rural low-income homes is severely substandard.

Rural Mission closed its doors in 2019, and the property is now part of South Carolina United Methodist Camps and Retreat Ministries, today housing retreats and mission groups. But Gadson’s work, and her legacy of love through Rural Mission and other ministry efforts, lives on.

McDonagh shared how when he came to know Gadson, he knew that her work saving lives must continue—and that he would be the conduit to achieve it.

In November, McDonagh visited Gadson’s Prayer Room to inform her about the grant, as well as bring her flowers for all that she has done and meant not only to Charleston’s five Sea Islands and Beyond Our Gates Foundation of Kiawah and Seabrook Islands, but to the world.

“We often talk about giving people who make a difference or an impact ‘their flowers,’” Gadson’s son, Shaytee Gadson, said in expressing his deep appreciation for the grants as well as the recognition of his mother. “Her indomitable faith instructed her to build and repair homes for housing-insecure Sea Island residents, to feed hungry families who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, to clothe and provide Headstart services for the children of Latino farmworker families, starting back in the 1970s when nearly no one else thought their cause worthy enough to fight for.”

Shaytee Gadson said he is so proud to call her his mama but even prouder of her impact on humanity, and the lives she’s touched and saved.

Get Periodic Updates from the Advocate We never sell or share your information. You can unsubscribe from receiving our emails at any time.