When the Coastal Educational Foundation filed a lawsuit against one of its own benefactors in December, the foundation’s case arrived just in time to block what would have been the first step in the larger effort to preserve Waties Island for the benefit of the public.
The 2.5-mile island just north of Cherry Grove is the only undeveloped barrier island in Horry County. It starts a string of islands that run up through North Carolina. For generations, the island was privately owned by the Tilghman family.
“I was shocked and outraged that Coastal Educational Foundation would file a lawsuit against one of its major donors,” said Olivia Boyce-Abel in an email. “Our family (my three siblings and myself) donated $10 million worth of land from our mother’s estate to Coastal Educational Foundation, a large part of which includes [Waties] Island. Our aunt donated an additional $500,000 to the foundation as well.”