Love Where You Live

What makes residents love where they live? What draws people to a place and keeps them there?

Central Carolina Community Foundation is working to make the Midlands more connected, vibrant, compassionate, and engaged.  We strive for a livable, equitable and just community to live, work, play and raise a family. Connected Communities grants support this work through funding innovative ideas from nonprofit organizations that will further knit our community together. The Foundation aims to inspire organizations to engage and invest in our community and build on the community’s existing assets.

Connected Communities is a challenge grant for interesting and engaging ideas to improve the community’s quality of life and livability and to increase residents’ satisfaction and community attachment. More specifically, Connected Communities grants will fund the most important elements of an attractive community as identified by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Gallup, and On the Table community surveys.

What We Fund

Connected Communities projects should increase the quality of life, community attachment and satisfaction by increasing Midlands residents’ easy access to:

  • Safe places to live and work
  • Healthcare facilities and services
  • Quality job opportunities
  • Affordable housing
  • Safe, proximal, high-quality recreational areas
  • Quality arts and cultural events

Priority will be given to projects that promote equity, and incorporate policy, advocacy, institutional/systems change and/or social justice (equal rights, opportunity, and treatment for all). Central Carolina Community Foundation will continue to prioritize organizations outside Richland County and/or led by Black, Indigenous and people of color.

We Are Looking for Ideas That …

  • Enhance community connections in the Midlands.
  • Incorporate novel approaches to creating a vibrant, connected community.
  • Raise public awareness of the area/region.
  • Provide a measurable level of community involvement (volunteers or participants).
  • Are new or expansion projects. Current programs from organizations will not be considered.
  • Promote philanthropy across our region.

If your project/program relates to our criteria, we encourage you to apply.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to thoroughly review the Grant Guidelines prior to applying.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Organizations must be determined as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, public entities or other charitable, educational or faith-based organizations.
  • Organizations must be physically located in one of the following 11 counties in the Midlands: Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter
  • Organizations must register for and participate in Midlands Gives

Grant Amount

Applicants may request $10,000-$60,000.

Funds are only available in the form of challenge grants. The challenge portion must generate an additional 20% of the award from the Community Foundation (30% for year two projects and 40% for year three projects). The Foundation will not accept a transfer of internal funds or non-tangible  in-kind contributions. In addition, the challenge funds must be raised after the project starts. Participation in Midlands Gives can be used to assist in meeting the match goal.

Note: The Community Foundation acknowledges general costs are associated with operating a nonprofit. As such, grantees may allocate up to 15% of their grant award for general and administrative costs (i.e. overhead or indirect costs).


Grant Process Timeline

  • September 1 – September 30 — Round #1 application open
  • October 20 – November 17 — Round #2 applications open (by invitation)
  • January 8 & 9 — Round #3 Finalist Presentations (by invitation)
  • February 2 – Organizations notified of application status
  • Project Timeline March 1, 2024 – February 28, 2025