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Regional Mayors Forum Urges Public to Donate to S.C. Flood Relief Fund to Address Long Term Needs

October 29, 2015 (Columbia, S.C.) – The Regional Mayors Forum – a collaborative of all mayors in Richland and Lexington Counties, as well as mayors from Sumter and Camden, S.C. – urges the public to donate to the S.C. Flood Relief Fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation, where 100% of donations go directly to local, non-profit organizations providing flood relief in Midlands. To make a donation, visit

Flood Relief and Recovery: A Long-Term Process

Many communities and individuals in the Midlands are still in severe crisis due to the massive, 1,000-year flood of early October 2015. Based on knowledge shared by leaders in Nashville, TN, and Bismarck, ND, both of which have experienced historic floods, it may be years before the region recovers, which is why collaboration with many partners is so essential.

Central Carolina Community Foundation’s partnership with the Regional Mayors Forum will increase the Foundation’s understanding of community needs, since the mayors will be able to provide critical information from constituents and help the Foundation deploy funds for long-term rebuilding.

“The Thousand-Year Flood destroyed roads and bridges, breached dams and washed away homes across the Midlands and beyond leaving countless families displaced,” notes City of Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin. “The waters didn’t care if you lived in Columbia, Forest Acres or Cayce, Richland County or Lexington and it’s going to take all of us coming together as one community if we’re ever going to truly recover.”

“It’s important that as mayors we stand together on the rebuilding process, because we are one region,” says City of Cayce, S.C., Mayor Elise Partin. “In Cayce, our Public Safety officers performed over one hundred rescues from cars or homes during the storm, but we weren’t left with the widespread devastation experienced by other cities. We work, live, play and shop in all parts of the Midlands, and as a forum of mayors from cities across this region, we speak with one voice in asking for individuals and businesses to recognize the long-term needs that affect us as a whole – and to help make a difference.”

For over 30 years, Central Carolina Community Foundation has been the trusted vehicle for philanthropy in the Midlands, to connect donors with areas of need every day. With the S.C. Flood Relief Fund, the Foundation is using its expertise to be the conduit for donations to help flood victims over the long term.

“The mayors have chosen the Community Foundation to help communicate the needs of their citizens to funders across our region – to connect donors with community need,” says JoAnn Turnquist, President and CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “We have established a vetting process to identify the most effective and impactful nonprofits addressing the needs of flood victims, and we are utilizing best practices developed by our colleagues in other cities that have experienced similar disasters. On November 2, 2015, nonprofits can find information about how to apply for a grant at”

“The damage to homes and the effect of rising and raging water is beyond comprehension,” reports Frank Brunson, Mayor of the City of Forest Acres, where dam breaches along the Gills Creek Watershed resulted in flooding above the rooftops. “Many lost all of their personal belongings, and small businesses’ inventories that once garnished proudly arranged shelves now lay in piles waiting to be hauled off as rubbish. It is gut wrenching and heart breaking to hear the tragedies of each person’s tale – but for every hand that reached out in need, scores of others responded with help.”

Breaking News: $100,000 Matching Gift Challenge

One family responding to the needs of folks in the Midlands is the Lipscomb Family. Their Foundation has been a longtime supporter of our region and is a Community Foundation partner. They are stepping forward to help our community rebuild. Starting today, their foundation will match all gifts to the S.C. Flood Relief Fund up to $100,000. To donate, visit

How Nonprofits Can Apply for Grants from the S.C. Flood Relief Fund

Phase I grants will fund relief and recovery assistance programs provided by nonprofit organizations in the Community Foundation’s service area. Starting Nov. 2, 2015, 501c3 nonprofit organizations (or those with a 501c3 fiscal agent) associated with flood relief and recovery may request up to $25,000 via RFP at Preference will be given to applicant organizations in FEMA declared disaster areas. The review committee will consist of members of the Community Foundation Board of Trustees and an Advisory Committee made up of community members, including members of the Regional Mayors Forum.

Support from Regional Mayors Forum

A critical mass of Regional Mayors Forum members have come out in support of the S.C. Flood Relief Fund, including Mayor Steve Benjamin, City of Columbia; Mayor Michael Bishop, Town of Springdale; Mayor Troy Bivens, Town of Gaston; Mayor Frank Brunson, City of Forest Acres; Mayor David Busby, Town of Pine Ridge; Mayor Rita Crapps, Batesburg-Leesville; Chairman Johnny Jeffcoat, Lexington County Council; Mayor Hardy King, Town of Irmo; Mayor Steve MacDougall, Town of Lexington; Mayor Joe Owens, City of West Columbia; Mayor Elise Partin, City of Cayce; Mayor Geraldine Robinson, Town of Eastover; Mayor Michael Ross, Town of Blythewood; Chairman Torrey Rush, Richland County Council; Mayor Tony Scully, City of Camden; Mayor Ray Spires, Town of Swansea; and Mayor J. Robert “Skip” Wilson, Jr., Town of Chapin.

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