COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Family and friends of a South Carolina state senator slain at the historic black church he pastored in Charleston announced Thursday they have set up a foundation in his honor.
The Honorable Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Foundation is being launched on what would have been Pinckney's 42nd birthday. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for all South Carolina citizens by backing religious, educational and charitable causes Pinckney supported, according to the foundation's website.
Pinckney's widow, Jennifer, is chairing the foundation. In a news release, she said that she is "answering God's call to continue my husband's work."
State Sen. Gerald Malloy, who served alongside Pinckney for more than a decade, and Rev. Kylon Jerome Middleton are helping get the foundation set up.
Pinckney was among nine people killed June 17 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The suspect, Dylann Roof, is due in court Friday on dozens of federal charges, including some that could carry the death penalty.
Roof also faces state charges, including murder and attempted murder.
Other charitable outfits have already raised millions in the wake of the slayings. In early July, Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. announced that a group of anonymous donors from outside South Carolina had given $3 million to start a fund for college scholarships for Charleston-area students.
The donors said in a statement read by Riley that they desired to honor Pinckney and wanted the members of the parish known as Mother Emanuel "to know that others, most of whom do not share their race or religion, who do not come from South Carolina, abhor the injustices which they have suffered."
Riley said the scholarships would go first to students related to the shooting victims, and will be available to both black and white students. Two other funds established following the shootings totaled more than $3.5 million in donations as of this week, according to the city's website.
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP