BRUNO LANDSCAPE & NURSERY IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

This month Bruno Landscape & Nursery will be celebrating 30 years in business on Hilton Head Island. A small landscape business started by Gary and Mary Ann Bruno in 1989 has blossomed into a booming operation that has far exceeded their expectations. Their once young children (Steven, Jenna & Nikki), who tagged along from job site to job site, are now all working in the family business.

 25 YEARS AND $82 MILLION LATER, COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF THE LOWCOUNTRY IS STILL GROWING

The world’s first community foundation was set up in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Eight decades later, the Lowcountry established one of its own, seeded with $20 million from the sale of Hilton Head Hospital.

Now, with a quarter century under its belt, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry continues to grow, having invested more than $82 million in grants and scholarships since 1994.

LOCAL PHILANTHROPY IS ALIVE AND WELL

With the passage of federal tax cuts and the Jobs Act in late 2017, nonprofits held their collective breath to see how charitable giving would be impacted. They worried that contributions would decrease as a result of the higher standard deductions allowed under the new tax law. The old law allowed standard deductions of $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for married couples filing jointly; the new law nearly doubled that, raising the standard deductions to $12,000 and $24,000, respectively. 

SUPERSTAR SPEAKERS COME TO THE LOWCOUNTRY IN A NEW SERIES

We live in superficial times. It’s easy to overlook the voices of experts amidst today’s constant flurry of tweets, memes and sound bites — muddying the public discourse 280 characters at a time. Two years ago, James Lamar set out to do something about that.

“It’s been my experience that, with the 24-hour news cycle and social media, people are formulating opinions based on very limited, very filtered, information,” he said. “My thought was to create a live experience, a live forum, where people can see and hear directly from the expert.”

In 1979, Mike Overton was living in Burlington, Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain — one of North America’s best inland windsurfing locales. One chilly spring evening, he and a friend hatched a plan to leave wintry New England and start a windsurfing school on Hilton Head Island. In early summer, Overton loaded up a truck and headed south to establish Sailin’ Shoes Windsurfing. Named after a Little Feat song, the school later became Windsurfing Hilton Head.

COMPETITION FUNDS FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS

On the ABC reality show “Shark Tank,” budding entrepreneurs present business ideas to titans of industry in an effort to convince them to invest in the proposals. Recently, Hilton Head Island was the setting for a similar competition called “Biz Pitch,” part of the Thrive Lowcountry Women’s Conference on Sept. 26. 

Ten women gave four-minute “elevator pitches” to a panel of seven judges — members of the local business community — and then answered follow-up questions. Winners Karen Balerna, Amy Shippy, Katherine Reeves and Jessica Lowther took home a combined $8,500 in cash and prizes to expand or start their businesses. 

THE LITERACY CENTER HELPS NEWCOMERS GAIN SKILLS

In Venezuela, Javier Campos was a petroleum engineer and Karla Losada was a lawyer.

When they decided to move to the Lowcountry two years ago with their two children, they knew they wouldn’t easily step into the same professional lives.

LOWCOUNTRY ATTRACTS REMOTE WORKERS

Advances in technology have made it possible for many professionals to work from almost anywhere. For those looking to keep their jobs but get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, life on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton can look very appealing: shorter commutes, lower costs of living and the slow pace of the Lowcountry lifestyle.

John Taylor, an economist with Black & Veatch Management Consulting, moved to Hilton Head in 2016 after spending most of his career as a remote worker. He said the area suited his desire to create a greater balance between his work and personal life.

OUR CURRENT IMMIGRATION POLICIES’ IMPACT ON THE LOWCOUNTRY

At its heart, the U.S. is a country of immigrants. According to the last U.S. Census, just 3.08 million — or 1% — of the roughly 330 million Americans can claim Native American ancestry. No, almost all of our ancestors came from somewhere else — America truly is a great “melting pot.”

To let us better understand today’s immigration policy, it might be instructive to review how our nation has viewed immigration over the years. For much of our nation’s history, we have encouraged free and open immigration. It wasn’t until the General Immigration Act of 1882 that the United States first blocked or excluded the entry of “idiots, lunatics, convicts and persons likely to become a public charge.” Between 1900 and 1920, we admitted approximately 14.5 million immigrants to help fill the jobs created during the Industrial Revolution. It was during this wave of mass immigration that additional provisions were added, including the requirement that immigrants be able to read and write in their native languages and pass medical examinations. Fast-forward to the post-World War II years and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 — and its amendments in 1965 — which removed racial barriers and promoted reuniting immigrant families, now known as “chain migration.”

Our area is one of the fastest growing areas in the state, with new residents moving in every day. To kick off our annual City Guide issue, Monthly asked the mayors of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Hardeeville to share thoughts with them: