Editor’s note: Stanfield “Sunny” Gray, one of the creators of the DIG South organization in Charleston, is seeking the help of startups to “build a better future” in the wake of the recent massacre at Mother Emanuel. In a letter, he spells out his hopes for turning tragedy into good.

Terry Cox, head of the BIG Council in Charlotte, forwarded Sunny’s email to WRAL TechWire, wanting to sharing his thoughts.

“I was touched by Stan’s email and wanted to share with you,” she wrote. “Stan Gray is with one of our partner organizations, DIG South, located in Charleston. Needless to say, Stan is very proud of how Charleston handled the tragedy.

“Stan asked if I would spread the word that they are looking for young startups and established companies that are using digital platforms in a new way for social good.”

The letter:

CHARLESTON: Moving Forward Following Tragedy

Driving to work listening to the news, time slowed and traffic, though heavy, softened.

The cars seemed to drift sadly, like the other drivers, in disbelief, couldn’t muster the energy to pass, dart or turn.

When news of a tragedy like the slayings at Mother Emanuel sinks in, it’s difficult to process, and even harder to know the proper response.

Confusion, anger and sadness subdue us. Tears flow. A numbness follows.

Yet, we fumble our way toward a deeper understanding. Our brittle spirits begin to reshape the damage, repair the heart and restore hope. The compassion of a community, and a nation, rallies around the families and friends of the slain, lifting and transforming us all into something altogether different. Faith pulls us through.

Then we return to our lives.


Three years ago, we launched DIG South as the Southeast’s Interactive Conference, the first and foremost event celebrating the region’s digital economy. We invited brilliant thinkers, international brands and leading startups to Charleston to connect and share innovative ideas and solutions. And by establishing DIG Nation, we set out to build a global network that would help entrepreneurs and businesses succeed in the South – and beyond.

So, in light of the tragedy, how can DIG Nation (you!) help build a better future?


Today, we’re inviting anyone with a new platform, app or business idea that improves the world to share it with us. Tell us how your company is changing lives for the better, how you plan to hack a big problem, fix it, and make a positive impact.
DIG South will broadcast the most impactful ideas each week through our e-news, social media and other channels.
We hope, in some small way, to use DIG South as a platform to improve the world.

And, if you would like to show financial support:


1. Send a check to:

Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
c/o City of Charleston
Post Office Box 304
Charleston, SC 29402

2. Stop by any Wells Fargo Bank nationwide and make a donation to the Fund.

3. Text “prayforcharleston” to 843.606.5995 or go to bidr.co/prayforcharleston.

Thank you,

Stanfield Gray

(Note: Email Sunny Gray with your ideas and thoughts at:  sunnygray@digsouth.com)