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Community Foundation grants $448,500 to 12 Midlands Charities to Launch Innovative Projects

We’re pleased to announce the twelve local nonprofits that will launch new projects to enrich the Midlands region with $448,500 in funding from the Foundation’s third annual Connected Communities grants.

June 1, 2017 (Columbia, S.C.) – Central Carolina Community Foundation – the Midlands’ expert on philanthropy – is pleased to announce the twelve local nonprofits that will launch new projects to enrich the Midlands region with $448,500 in funding from the Foundation’s third annual Connected Communities grants.

Returning for the third year, the Connected Communities grant initiative aims to answer the questions, “What makes residents love where they live?” and “What draws them in and keeps them there?” Through this grant program, the Foundation funds philanthropic projects – spearheaded by Midlands nonprofits – based on these answers, with the common goal of further connecting residents to the community and knitting the Midlands region together.

The nonprofit grant recipients presented innovative ideas to the Foundation 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 three most important elements of an attractive community: Welcoming Community, which promotes and encourages open and inclusive activities and programs; Vibrant Social Offerings, which support the availability of community events, arts and culture opportunities; and Superb Public Spaces, which enhance 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.

“Each of these projects will enrich our community in meaningful ways.” says JoAnn Turnquist, President & CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “We look forward to working with these organizations throughout the next year and watching their projects unfold.”

Connected Communities grants are funded by the Foundation’s Community Impact Endowment (CIE) and Field of Interest funds for the arts. These endowed funds are comprised of generous gifts from visionary donors who knew that their unrestricted gifts would allow the Community Foundation to respond to the ever-changing needs and opportunities in our community for generations to come. These gifts have allowed the Foundation to create the Connected Communities grant initiative and projects like Midlands Gives. This year’s grant awards total $448,500 and recipients are located in Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, and Sumter counties.

Through the Connected Communities grants, the Foundation and its donors can leverage philanthropy to positively impact the attractiveness of the Midlands community, ensuring that residents of our region “love where they live.”

2017 Connected Communities Grant Recipients

The following projects have been approved by the Foundation and will be funded by Connected Communities grants:

  • Columbia Children’s Theatre; The Flatbed Truck Theatre Series – Columbia Children’s Theatre will be taking their own original show, “Part-Time Dog,” on the road, performing free shows in gathering spaces across South Carolina.
  • Columbia Film Society; Indie Grits: Two Cities – The popular cultural festival Indie Grits will move much of the annual festival’s programming to venues across North Columbia, continuing to use the power of the arts to bring people together to engage in welcoming discussions.
  • Columbia Museum of Art; We Speak: Celebrating Women in the Arts – An ambitious, year-long series of exhibitions exploring the contributions of women to American society, through the prism of pioneering women artists from the nineteenth century to today.
  • FoodShare; Community Cooks: Creating a New Sense of Connection in a Public Housing Neighborhood through the Creation of a Community Kitchen – Renovation of the current kitchen in the new FoodShare facility to increase the space accommodating community cooking classes and small food business incubation activities.
  • Friends of Lexington Main Library; Summer Reading Program – The popular annual summer reading program will enhance programming and events to help improve children’s reading levels during the summer months.
  • Historic Columbia; Hampton-Preston Garden Phase 2 Rehabilitation – Phase 2 of the transformation of the historic Hampton-Preston gardens will continue to turn them into a gathering place, adding lighting, signage and public Wi-Fi for visitors to access the virtual garden tour.
  • Orangeburg County Fine Arts Centers; Arts Center Renovation – Renovations and repairs to the art center will allow this important community building to be a gathering place for the community and a catalyst to increase arts awareness.
  • Palmetto Luna Arts; Latino Arts in Motion – Bringing Latino artistry to new venues across the community to give Midlands residents the opportunity to experience first-hand Latino art creation.
  • South Carolina Philharmonic; Conduct the Phil – Continuing the successful pop-up, interactive experience that allows the S.C. Philharmonic to interact with new audiences and the public to conduct the orchestra at public venues, such as farmers markets, festivals, and concerts..
  • Sumter County Museum; Temple Sinai Jewish History Museum – The transformation of a historic temple into a permanent Jewish history exhibit, allowing visitors be cognizant of the Jewish community’s contributions to the development of Sumter.
  • Vista Neighborhood Association; Utility Box Wraps – Decoration of traffic and utility signal boxes with local art and historical information in the popular Vista of Columbia.
  • Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network; Seen and Heard: Women and Girls in the Midlands – Documenting women’s diverse voices through community conversations and sharing their stories throughout the community to inspire social action.

Central Carolina Community Foundation will work to measure the impact of the Connected Communities grants on each grantee’s project and will report progress annually. Since 2015, Central Carolina Community Foundation has awarded $1,028,675 in Connected Communities Grants.

For more information about Connected Communities grants, visit or call 803.254.5601.

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