Turtle Trot 5k T-shirts Available!

We have a limited number of 2023 Turtle Trot 5k T-shirts available for sale! T-shirt prices are $15/each (includes shipping anywhere in the continental U.S.) Purchase your 2023 Turtle Trot T-shirt Now!

Palmetto Dunes’ Charitable Organization

• About our island’s unique environment

• About our local youth

• About building camaraderie among our neighbors, our visitors, and
our youth to preserve the island’s natural habitat

Palmetto Dunes Cares is a charitable organization whose motto is: giving back while building community. Our mission is to support local youth and enhance the natural environment in the greater Hilton Head Island area through grants and scholarships.

Since inception in 2018, PD Cares has awarded over $216,000 to local non-profits in the greater Hilton Head area that support our local youth. In 2023 alone we awarded more than $71,000.00 to the youth in the greater Hilton Head and Bluffton area including scholarships to two local high school seniors.  Additionally, we are creating new initiatives that focus on building an environmental stewardship community that actively supports and engages our local youth & all who live, visit, and work in Palmetto Dunes.

Supporting Environmental Stewardship & Our Youth


Support local youth and enhance the natural environment in the greater Hilton Head Island area through grants and scholarships.


Raise awareness, encourage giving, and increase the charitable impact of all those who live, invest, work, and play in the Palmetto Dunes Community

Check us out!

Grants & Youth Scholarships

Eco-Tourism Outreach Program


Our Advisory Council

PALMETTO DUNES cares….about our ISLAND


Palmetto Dunes Cares provides grants to organizations providing services to local youth or the environment.

We are happy to announce that this grant season we awarded $61,350.00 to programs supporting our local youth and the natural environment of the greater Hilton Head area! In fact, 100 percent of our grants this year going to organizations that serve the youth, given that even the environmental agencies who received grant money are ones serving our local youth. In toll, the needs unveiled in this process showed that hunger, safety, safe sleep, and mental health needs are vast with children in our area. The awarding of these Palmetto Dunes Cares grants has been highlighted in the local CH2 magazine.  Check out the article about our 2023 grantees at The Unseen: Local charitable organization, Palmetto Dunes Cares, unveils real needs of area children and families – CH2 (celebrateblufftonandbeyond.com)

Complete List of PD Cares 2023 Grant Recipients

  1. Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s Adaptive Arts Program
  2. Bluffton Self Help
  3. Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA)
  4. Coastal Discovery Museum
  5. Family Promise of Beaufort County
  6. Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges
  7. Heroes on Horseback
  8. Hilton Head Audubon Society
  9. Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity
  10. Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra
  11. Hopeful Horizons
  12. Lowcountry Legal Volunteers
  13. Neighborhood Outreach Connection
  14. Sea Turtle Patrol HHI
  15. Second Helpings, Inc.
  16. The Children’s Center, Inc.
  17. The Hilton Head Island Deep Well Project
  18. The Hunger Coalition of the Lowcountry DBA Backpack Buddies of Hilton Head Island
  19. The Outside Foundation
  20. Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island

PALMETTO DUNES cares….about our YOUTH

In this, our inaugural year of offering an educational scholarship to support a local Hilton Head Island rising high school senior in their goal to attend college, Palmetto Dunes Cares is happy to announce that we awarded scholarships to not one, but two outstanding young Hilton Head Seniors! Yes, these two students have exceptional grades and are extremely motivated to go to college.  Beyond that however, both of them have not only focused on excelling in their educational endeavors, but have also already committed to serving their community, and have overcome both financial and health adversities. Their names are Mr. Benjamin Robert Lewis and Ms. Lea Maria Sheeran.

Benjamin Robert Lewis
Ben Lewis has been awarded a Palmetto Dunes Cares Scholarship for the 2023 / 2024 academic year. Ben is a top student, earning membership in the National Honor Society, as well as the Science, Math and French National Honor Societies. He has worked at Quiet Storm surf shop for 4 years, and still made time to perform community service, earning the Mayor’s Service award in 2021 and 2022.

Ben is a very thoughtful and mature young man.  Ben describes himself as having “a brain for math and a heart for people”, which will serve him well in college, and in his future business career. Ben is also very interested in the environment and has written a research paper on Loggerhead Turtles in which he analyzed and made recommendations for Hilton Head Island to continue improving the environment for the sea turtles.

After graduating from HHI High School in June, Ben will attend Clemson University where he will be studying Business. We are delighted to have Ben as one of our first scholarship recipients, and we are excited about what he will accomplish at Clemson and beyond.

Lea  Maria Sheeran
Lea Sheeran has also been awarded a Palmetto Dunes Cares Scholarship for the 2023 / 2024 academic year. Lea has an impressive academic record. During her high school years, Lea has amassed an impressive academic record, earning membership in the National Honor Society, as well as the Spanish, Science and History National Honor Societies.

Lea will graduate from Hilton Head Island High School in June and will attend the University of South Carolina, Columbia. She plans to study public health, and she has a very personal reason for doing so. When she was younger, Lea was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. As she reflects on that diagnosis and her life-long treatment she is inspired to help others. “Medicine saved my life and I want to pay it forward.” Lea is an engaging, intelligent and caring young lady who is determined to have a positive impact on the world. We have no doubt that she will do just that.

Be on the lookout for further media coverage regarding the awarding of our scholarships to these amazing local young students!

You can also see our scholarship students highlighted on the Palmetto Dunes Cares Facebook Page!

PALMETTO DUNES cares….about our unique ENVIRONMENT


Turtle Trot
The Turtle Trot 5k is a family-friendly fun run series held weekly on the beach  in June, July and August and on Thanksgiving morning.

Join in, meet and interact with your neighbors, our staff, and guests of our community!

  • The 3.1-mile course may be run (or walked) by any who live, work, invest, or play here!
  • Registration is online only and is $30 prior to race day and $35 day of the race and includes a t-shirt.
  • Kids under 12 run for $15.
  • Additional race t-shirts can be purchased for $15.
  • All races begin at 8am.
  • Click here to register for a 2024 Turtle Trot.

Turtle Talk

Turtle Talk educates participants on what they can do to help preserve Hilton Head Island’s hatching sea turtles and learn what is happening on our nesting beach.

  • Turtle Talks will be held on Wednesday nights June-August on the beach.
  • The program is designed for both visitors and residents
  • Cost to attend is $20 per person, capacity is limited, this event sells out every week, and all children under the age of 12 need adult supervision.
  • Online registration is required!
  • Click here to register for a 2024 Turtle Talk!

Event Notes: You will need to be able to walk out on the beach, so those with mobility challenges might have difficulty. If you have problems standing for a long period of time or sitting in the sand, please bring a chair. The Turtle Talk is best-enjoyed by adults and children ages five and older, but all children over the age of two are required to purchase a ticket to attend.


Palmetto Dunes Cares is funded by donations, local events, and Eco-tourism events such as weekly Beach Turtle Trots, Turtle Talks and the annual Thanksgiving Turtle Trot 5k.

Funds raised by Palmetto Dunes Cares are awarded in our grants and scholarships through the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry (CFL).  The CFL is a 501c3 organization that currently manages our funds and over 300 other local funds.


Palmetto Perspective, July 2023

CH2 Magazine,
May 2023

Palmetto Perspective, May 2023

Palmetto Perspective, March 2023

Palmetto Perspective, January 2023


Bill Caywood; PD Cares Chairman

Nancy Novak; PD Cares Vice-Chair

Gayle Cleaveland; Secretary

Franklin Thomas; Treasurer

Ann O’Neil; Fundraising Chair

Lauri Davis

Abbey Hightower

Randall Jones

Sue Kerr

Raye Kramer

Joe Maggi

Andrew Schumacher; PDPOA