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$375,100 to 10 South Carolina nonprofits to launch innovative projects

We are pleased to award $375,100 to 10 Connected Communities grant recipients! In response to two questions, “What makes residents love where they live?” and “What draws them in and keeps them there?” the 10 nonprofits will launch new projects that increase the livability of the Midlands region. This grant initiative helps connect residents to their community and knits the Midlands region together. Since inception, grants totaling $2,060,721 have been awarded to support local projects.

This year’s grant recipients presented innovative ideas that embrace one or more of the following three focus areas identified by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup as the most important elements of an attractive community: Welcoming Community, which promotes and encourages open and inclusive activities and programs; Vibrant Social Offerings, which supports the availability of community events, arts and culture opportunities; and Superb Public Spaces, which enhances the beauty and physical setting of the Midlands community.

“Through the Connected Communities grant initiative, the Foundation seeks to strengthen our region by investing in our community’s assets. Each selected project encourages citizen involvement and community-wide collaboration,” says JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “We’re delighted to support creative organizations that are enriching our region.”

Connected Communities grants are funded by the Foundation’s Community Impact Endowment fund and several Field of Interest funds. These funds were established with generous gifts from visionary donors who knew their unrestricted gifts would allow the Foundation to respond to the ever-changing needs and opportunities in our region for generations. This year’s grant awards total $375,100 and will serve Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Richland, and Sumter counties.

2020 Connected Communities Grant Recipients

  • City of Sumter, “Sumter Veterans Park” will honor the thousands of Sumter veterans, commemorate the history of the Tuskegee Airman in the United States Air Force, and provide an outdoor recreational space and walking trails for the community.
  • Columbia Film Society, “Faces Spaces” is a fellowship for eight media artists that will examine the issue of housing insecurity in the City of Columbia. Fellows will be embedded in low-income housing communities across the city to collect, document, and share stories of the residents through short documentary films, photography, and other works of art.
  • Crooked Creek Art League, “The Art of Living in Chapin,” will create a mural at Crooked Creek Park in Chapin, S.C. The mural will celebrate Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission’s 50th anniversary and is inspired by 24 drawings from local children who colored pictures in response to the question “What do you like about living in Chapin?”
  • Edventure, Inc, will improve the physical appearance and efficiency of their cooking lab through the “Eddie’s Café Redesign: Every Child Cooks” project, making it a vibrant space for the community to learn about healthy food options. Children will learn how to prepare tasty, healthy foods during improved Cooking Lab programs.
  • Foodshare, will renovate a former Circuit City warehouse into a statewide central hub through “Building a Statewide Foodshare.” The warehouse will serve as a distribution center for Midlands residents to access fresh, affordable produce and will house a Culinary Teaching Center for community members and medical professionals.
  • Historic Columbia, will partner with the Wideman Davis Dance Company to present “Migratuse Ataraxia | Exploring the Black Experience in Antebellum Spaces, Then and Now,” a community-oriented engagement series that addresses narratives about people of color in traditionally white-dominated spaces. The project will include community conversations, performances and talkbacks, and workshops.
  • Serve & Connect, will enter Phase II of their “COMPASS Program,” focused in Fairfield and Kershaw Counties. The program will make these communities more welcoming through assessing and enhancing police community collaboration.
  • Acercamiento Hispano de Carolina del Sur/South Carolina Hispanic Outreach will promote community engagement between the LatinX and Columbia community through their “La Vida Sana/The Healthy Life” The project will include the revival of a garden in West Columbia and continued development of two community gardens in North and Northeast Columbia, increasing access to healthy food for the residents in those areas.
  • WREN, will utilize community programming in their “Columbia City of Women’s Public Art Project” to develop a public art piece in the heart of Columbia that will honor the contributions of diverse and remarkable women from our past, present, and future.
  • Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, will inspire and encourage community pride through “Small Town- Great Beginnings.” A series of seminars, concerts, and festivals will be planned to increase pride and connections among Lee County residents.
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