Ingevity Earns Chamber Pillar Award for 20 Years of Extraordinary Community Service

Photo by Chokniti Khongchum from Pexels

When the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce considered whom to bestow its Pillar Award upon in 2019, it was seeking a local company with 20+ years of dedicated community service with a commitment to philanthropy.

It couldn’t have taken long to settle on the largest publicly-traded company headquartered in the Lowcountry – specialty chemical maker Ingevity.  

$1 Million Plus Through United Way Campaign…Annually
Formerly the specialty chemical division of MWV, and before that Mead Westvaco, Ingevity’s description of philanthropic community activities literally runs nine pages long. It starts with annual contributions through the Trident United Way campaign of more than $1 million from the company and its staff, plus sponsorship of the Day of Caring and a 90-member volunteer contingent on that November day.

The company has pledged $400,00 to Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood economic development organization Metanoia and $300,000 to the South Carolina Aquarium. The former grant will support an early childhood education wing serving 95 children from low-income homes, to be constructed as part of the renovation of the old Chicora Elementary School.  The latter built a gallery in the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery center to educate guests about innovative alternatives to single-use plastics.

The list of time, money and in-kind donations the company and its employees made just last year could fill this space. It includes support for the Lowcountry Food Bank, Communities in Schools, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, American Cancer Society and more educational, environmental, health and business groups. Ingevity has a seat at the table at a variety of economic development organizations like the Charleston Metro Chamber and the SC Manufacturing Alliance.

Ingevity also supports the Lowcountry Graduate Center with a company executive on its Advisory Board, helping steer the LGC’s efforts to support regional economic development.

“We have long believed that it’s our civic and corporate duty to give back to our local neighbors in need, thus helping to impact and shape the community in which we live and operate,” said Monifa Ellington, Senior Coordinator, Site Communications & Philanthropy.

In the Lowcountry for the Long Run
Ingevity last year made a major commitment to remain in North Charleston by breaking ground on a new global headquarters at 4920 O’Hear Ave. The company makes additives for products like adhesives and cleaners from pine-tree oil and sawdust – much of which is recovered from the West Rock paper mill across Virginia Ave. from Ingevity’s current center of operations.

Long an advocate of environmental stewardship, Ingevity boasts that its products “purify, protect and enhance” the environment. As two examples of that, its carbon materials capture billions of gallons of gasoline emissions and purify billions of gallons of water each year, and 22 of its products meet USDA standards to earn the BioPreferred designation.

A Safe and Positive Place to Work
Ingevity takes care of its 1750 employees at nine manufacturing sites, including North Charleston. At the time of its nomination for the award, the local headquarters, manufacturing plant and Innovation Center had achieved nearly 1.2 million hours of work without lost time due to injury. Employees give the company good reviews on online sites.

“Strong values, positive culture, and great people. There has been a lot of growth and change but good teamwork makes all the difference. Good opportunities to learn new things and advance” says one reviewer.

Eight local companies have been recognized with the Pillar Award since 2012 for their positive impact on the region through employment and corporate social responsibility. Any enterprise with 20 years in the community and membership in the Chamber is eligible.