Nine Midlands Nonprofits to Receive Impactful New "Connected Communities" Grants
July 22, 2015
What makes residents love where they live? What draws people to a place and keeps them there? After presenting the successful Midlands Gives challenge, raising over 1.5 million for 251 local nonprofits on May 5, 2015, Central Carolina Community Foundation – the Midlands’ expert on philanthropy – is back in gift-giving mode with its next project: Connected Communities grants.
Through its new Connected Communities grant initiative, Central Carolina Community Foundation will fund innovative ideas in the following three focus areas, identified by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup as the three most important elements for an attractive community: Welcoming Community, which supports open and inclusive activities and programs; Vibrant Social Offerings, which support the availability of community events and arts and culture opportunities; and Superb Public Spaces, which enhance the beauty and physical setting of the Midlands community.
“The Knight/Gallup study showed that cities with the highest rate of attachment had the highest rates of economic growth. We are delighted to fund innovative programs that relate directly to our daily quality of life and connect folks to our community,” said JoAnn Turnquist, President & CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation.
Through the Connected Communities grant initiative, the Foundation aims to inspire organizations that engage and invest in our community to build on the community’s existing assets. These grants encourage community-wide collaboration, spearheaded by Midlands nonprofits, that further knit the community together.
Connected Communities grants are funded by the Community Foundation’s Community Impact Endowment (CIE) and Field of Interest funds for the arts. These endowed funds are comprised of gifts from visionary, generous donors who value the work of the Foundation. Their gifts have made it possible for the Foundation to invest in the community now and in the future. In previous years, the Foundation has used CIE funds for projects like Midlands Gives, Literacy 2030 and the local Transitions homeless shelter’s building campaign.
Working together, the Foundation and its donors can leverage philanthropy to positively affect everyday quality of life in the Midlands.
Approved projects to be funded by Connected Communities grants are as follows:
- City of West Columbia: State Street Beautification Project – Barren sidewalks and bland streetscapes will be transformed into a more inviting, visitor-friendly area that will aid economic development.
- Columbia Museum of Art: From Marilyn to Mao – Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces – Through artist salons, summer camps, lectures and more, this arts education outreach initiative will bring together multiple generations and introduce a broad population to the arts.
- EngenuitySC: What’s Next Midlands – This online platform will connect citizens who have big ideas for social and civic initiatives with organizations, capital and the project management support to turn those ideas into reality.
- Historic Columbia: Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative – The untold story of Columbia’s Jewish community will be shared throughout the community, aided by a forum for the collection and sharing of stories, images and documents.
- Kershaw County Community Playground: ADA Accessible Playground – Kershaw County’s first ADA accessible playground- with specially designed play equipment – will allow families to play together locally.
- Saluda Shoals Foundation: 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.
- SC Philharmonic: Flashmob Concert Series – Five interactive, flashmob style concerts held at local festivals will allow festival goers to step on the podium, take the baton and
conduct the orchestra in a pre-rehearsed classical work. This unique concert series will delight audiences and engage them in the music making process.
- The Humanities Council: Hometown Teams – How Sports Shape America – A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition celebrating S.C. sports history and heroes will anchor a diverse, entertaining line-up of events and educational programs showcasing Clarendon County.
- The Nickelodeon: Indie Grits at the River –The popular cultural festival Indie Grits will move its 10th annual event from Main Street to the banks of the Congaree River and make attendance free to the public. The festival will use the power of the arts to bring people together, engage in discussions about the environment and serve as a critical step forward in the design of the future of our city.
Central Carolina Community Foundation will work with the grantees to measure the impact of the Connected Communities grants and will report back to the community annually on their progress.
For more information about Connected Communities grants, visit our webpage here or call 803.254.5601.