2018 Connected Communities Grant Recipients Announced

March 15, 2018

Central Carolina Community Foundation grants $335,770 to 11 Midlands Charities to Launch Innovative Projects

Fourth year of Connected Communities grants fund innovative projects to advance Midlands citizens’ engagement with the community

Central Carolina Community Foundation – the Midlands’ expert on philanthropy – is pleased to announce the eleven local nonprofits that will launch new projects to enrich the Midlands region with $335,770 in funding from the Foundation’s fourth annual Connected Communities grants.

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. Since inception, the initiative has granted almost $1.5 million to local projects.

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.

“Selected from 57 submitted Letters of Intent, these eleven projects are part of a creative group of organizations that are working to enrich our community in meaningful ways.” says JoAnn Turnquist, President & CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “The initiatives and programs that will be launched will engage community members and increase our region’s livability. It’s an honor to support this work.”

Connected Communities grants are funded by the Foundation’s Community Impact Endowment (CIE) and Field of Interest funds for the arts. These 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 $335,770 and recipients are located in Kershaw, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, and Sumter counties.

Through these 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.”

2018 Connected Communities Grant Recipients

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

  • Acercamiento Hispano de Carolina del Sur/South Carolina Hispanic Outreach; La Vida Sana (The Healthy Life) – A program to promote community engagement, healthy eating, and active lifestyles through the revitalization of a moribund garden in West Columbia as well as the development of a garden in Northeast and North Columbia. 
  • Cola Town Bike Collective; 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 City Ballet; Lexington Amphitheater Performances – Performances at the Ice House Amphitheater in Lexington, SC will delight audiences and provide educational opportunities for families.
  • Columbia (SC) Chapter, The Links, Inc.; 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.
  • Edisto Habitat for Humanity; The Michael G. Salley Community Park – The development of a new community park in the area of Kings Road, Orangeburg, SC.
  • Historic Camden Foundation; Redoubt Revitalization at Historic Camden – Historic Camden will rebuild and reinterpret their redoubt, an earthen fort used by British soldiers in the American Revolution. The completed historic project will serve as an education and event space for the community.
  • Keep the Midlands Beautiful; Gervais Street Train Bridge Beautification – A timeless and iconic image will be painted on the Gervais Street train bridge, owned by Norfolk Southern.
  • Sumter Cultural Center; Sumter Yarn Explosion – More than just “wrapping yarn around trees,” this project will leave a lasting, visual asset that sparks interest and conversation in the Sumter community.
  • Richland Library; My Life Experience – Richland Library will cultivate a more open and inclusive community through a mobile Virtual Reality (VR) simulation lab designed for the user to personally step into the shoes of society’s most vulnerable people.
  • Town of North; 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.
  • West Columbia Beautification Foundation; 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.

For more information about Connected Communities grants, visit www.yourfoundation.org/community-impact/connected-communities or call 803.254.5601.

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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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