Superb Public Spaces

How can we improve the physical beauty of our community?

Superb Public SpacesWhat is Superb Public Spaces?

According to the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community Study, 'Superb Public Spaces,' is the physical beauty of the community including the availability of parks and green spaces. Projects in this focus area enhance the beauty and physical setting of the community.

2019 Connected Communities Grant Recipients

The following nonprofits received a Connected Communities grant for their work in the 'Superb Public Spaces' area.  Check back to this page throughout the year for updates on these projects.

  • Columbia Museum of Art's: "Boyd Plaza" renovation will present an inaugural year of free programming, encompassing all art disciplines and showcasing the Museum’s long history of community collaboration.
  • Friends of Harbison State will make major improvements to the “Firebreak Trail Entrance,” the most used entrance to the park. The improved trail will include a necessary footbridge and provide much needed access to the education center.
  • River Alliance's: “12,000 Year History Park,” is located on Congaree Creek in Cayce. The park includes two miles of ADA accessible trails, bridges, and boardwalks. The project will add onsite interpretive panels to allow all visitors access to the layers of history.
  • The Vista Neighborhood Association’s “Metal Box Wraps,” is an expansion of the two-year project of the wrapping of utility boxes with art by local artists and historical photographs of the Vista.

Previous Connected Communities Grant Recipients

City of West Columbia (2015): State Street Beautification Project - Barren sidewalks and bland streetscapes will be transformed into a more inviting, visitor-friendly area that will aid economic development.

Cola Town Bike Collective (2018): Columbia Cycling Transportation Network – The Cola Town Bike Collective will build a modular, scalable network that provides visitors and residents access to the region’s public green-ways, business centers, and recreational parks. The information will be accessible through a comprehensive web-based app as well as promotions at the Soda City Market and public work stands throughout the city center.

Columbia (SC) Chapter, The Links, Inc (2018)Links to a Healthy Lifestyle – An expansion of the exercise fitness trail at Burton Pack Elementary School will place kid-friendly activity signage and park benches along the trail.

Doko Meadows Park Foundation (2016): Amphitheatre Project - First class performances, with arts and community events have a new home within Blythewood's 25-acre, master-planned Doko Meadows Park.  The Doko Meadows Park Foundation constructed a new amphitheatre, welcoming audiences and visitors of all socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, and abilities.

Edisto Habitat for Humanity (2018)The Michael G. Salley Community Park – The development of a new community park in the area of Kings Road, Orangeburg, SC.

Historic Columbia (2017): 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 light, signage and public WiFi for visitors to access the virtual garden tour.

Riverbanks Society (2016): Waterfall Junction at the Riverbanks Botanical Garden- Waterfall Junction-a brand new attraction within the Riverbanks Botanical Garden, which opened in April 2016- shelters three acres of ponds, creeks, falls and meadows; inviting visitors of all ages to connect with nature through hands-on exploration, imaginative learning, and social offerings. The grant provides funding for public gathering and education sites within the new attraction.

Saluda Shoals Foundation (2015): St. Andrews Road Expansion- The conversion of an abandoned industrial site into an enjoyable green space for the community will demonstrate pride in, and access to, beautiful spaces for everyone. 

Town of North (2018)Beautification of 178 & 321 Intersection – The Town of North will landscape and beautify the southwest corner at the intersection of Highways 321 and 178 with rose plantings and a utility box wrap.

Vista Neighborhood Association (2017): Utility Box Wraps - Decoration of traffic and utility signal boxes with local art and historical information in the popular Vista of Columbia.

West Columbia Beautification Foundation (2018)West Columbia Enabling Park – An all-inclusive enabling park for children and individuals of all capabilities will afford everyone the opportunity to feel welcome and part of the community.

Cherise Arrendale

Strategic Initiatives & Communications Manager

Cherise implements and monitors all marketing, communications and public relations efforts by the Foundation. She also develops strategies to build brand awareness, manages the Foundation’s online presence, and oversees Midlands Gives, the Foundation’s 24-hour annual giving day.

An Atlanta native, Cherise has a Master of Business Administration degree from USC's Moore School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in music from Furman University. She previously worked for the Peace Center for the Performing Arts and the SC Governor's School for Arts and Humanities. In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading, playing in a local community band and spending time with her husband and their fluffy Maine Coon cat.

Inquiry from the media? Seeking information about Midlands Gives? Contact Cherise.

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Cortney Bailey

Program Associate

Cortney manages the granting process for all donor advised funds and corporate competitive grants. She also supports all functions within the Foundation by ensuring that policies, procedures and best practices for the database are followed and producing timely reports using this data.

Cortney comes to the Foundation with seven years of prior nonprofit experience. She earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and enjoys spending her free time with her two wonderful daughters. Her hobbies include woodworking, pottery and relaxing at the beach.

Looking to recommend a grant from your donor advised fund? Or seeking information about competitive grants for Aflac, Sonoco, or Hootie & the Blowfish? Reach out to Cortney.

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Jamie Bray

Advancement Administrative Associate

Jamie is responsible for providing clerical support and event administration for the Advancement Team and supporting other administrative needs across departments. 

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Jamie attended college at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Columbia in Spring of 2017. Jamie enjoys walking her German Shepherd mix dog, spending time with family, and playing sand volleyball.

Contact Jamie to RSVP to Foundation events.



Brooke Dickerson

Administrative Associate

Brooke provides administrative and clerical support for the President & CEO and the Board of Trustees.  She assists with data entry, grant tracking, database management and grantee mailings.  

Brooke is a native of Douglasville, Georgia. She comes to the Community Foundation with previous administrative experience both in Georgia and for a nonprofit in Rochester, New York. Brooke volunteers with youth at the Department of Juvenile Justice. In her spare time, she can be found spending time with family and friends, joining them in cheering for her favorite baseball and college football teams.

Need to update your contact information or have a question about a gift? Give Brooke a call.

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Erin E. Johnson

Vice President for Community Investment

Erin leads the Foundation’s efforts to increase our impact in the Midlands. She oversees competitive grantmaking, scholarship programs, and program-related initiatives, such as Connected Communities. She also implements community engagement strategies that help connect community needs and opportunities with available resources.

Erin previously served as the Chief Community Investment Officer for South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.  She is a proud alumni of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and  University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. In her spare time, Erin enjoys watching the Tar Heels and Carolina Panthers, reading and spending time with her husband Shawn and daughters Maya and Nina.

Contact Erin for information about the Foundation’s grantmaking or community engagement.

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James Mercado, II

Senior Program Associate

James supports the Foundation through the execution of communication strategies. He works to advance the Foundation’s strategic objectives by creating and monitoring communication campaigns across the Foundation’s communication platforms.

A Northern Virginia native, James earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Radford University and has several years of marketing and nonprofit experience.  In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, Haylee, and their three kids, Hayden, James III, and Harper.

Questions about the Foundation’s social media or website? Or have a story you want to tell? Give James a call.

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Kevin L. Patten

Vice President for Finance and Administration

Kevin manages fund balances and investment information for donors, local organizations and agency endowments and directs all finance and accounting functions of the Foundation. He also oversees human resources and office administration for the Foundation.

Kevin earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. He is an avid sports fan and can frequently be found rooting for the Miami Hurricanes and spending time with his wife and four children.

Reach out to Kevin for more information about the Foundation’s investment policies, audit inquiries, securities, and other non-cash gifts.

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Jamesha Shackerford

Program Associate

Jamesha oversees the scholarship administrative process by working closely with scholarship fundholders and students. She also works with the Vice President for Community Investment to support the Connected Communities grant initiative and provides logistical support to the Community Impact Committee.

A South Carolina native, Jamesha earned a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Columbia College and minored in dance, an interest she still pursues. She enjoys spending her spare time with family and friends.

Contact Jamesha for information or help with scholarships, Connected Communities applications and reports or the Foundation’s due diligence process.

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Heather Sherwin

Vice President for Advancement

Heather works with donors to set up charitable funds and collaborates with professional advisors and their clients to fulfill their philanthropic goals. She is responsible for promoting awareness and support for the Foundation among its varied constituencies. She leads the overall communication, public relations and donor relations strategy. Heather also serves as a resource for charitable planning in the Midlands community.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Heather held fundraising positions with Cleveland Museum of Art, Great Lakes Theater, American Red Cross, Hawken School and The Masters School. While living in Cleveland, Ohio, her hometown, Heather was the third generation to lead her family foundation, The Sherwick Fund, a fund of The Cleveland Foundation. In Columbia, Heather and her life partner, Buddy Register, are currently renovating an historic home in Elmwood.

Contact Heather about starting a fund at the Foundation or for information about planned giving.

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Kim Turnipseed

Accounting Manager

Kim supports the finance team with the ongoing financial and accounting responsibilities of the Foundation.  She handles the day to day accounting functions and fund management of the Foundation, along with analyzing, evaluating and recommending process improvements.

She comes to the Foundation with over 20 years of accounting experience, earning her degree in Accounting from Columbia College.

In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with her three children, seven grandchildren, family, and 1 dog.

Questions regarding fund statements or invoices, contact Kim.

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JoAnn M. Turnquist

President & CEO

Named president and CEO in 2009, JoAnn works closely with her board of trustees and staff to develop and implement the vision and strategic direction of the Foundation.  She leads a team dedicated to helping individuals, families, businesses and nonprofit organizations establish charitable funds to support causes they care about and make a difference in the Midlands and beyond.

Before joining CCCF, JoAnn served as Vice President for Institutional Sales at The Clorox Company and Johnson Diversey. She is 2013 Riley Diversity Fellow.  JoAnn received the SC Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Community Diversity Award in 2014 and the Engenuity SC Vision Award in 2016. JoAnn enjoys cycling, swimming and reading. She and her husband Ernie are avid golfers and amateur chefs. They share their home and hearts with three dogs and two cats.

Contact JoAnn to learn about the Foundation’s strategic vision or if you have an opportunity for collaboration in the community.

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Stories of Philanthropy