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Foundation awarding $327,000 in community grants

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The Central Carolina Community Foundation will award $327,000 to 14 recipients of the nonprofit organization’s Connected Communities grants. The grants are aimed at helping launch projects that improve livability in the Midlands.

The recipients presented innovative ideas that addressed one or more of three focuses 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 supports the availability of community events, arts and culture opportunities; and Superb Public Spaces, which enhances 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,” Central Carolina Community Foundation president and CEO JoAnn Turnquist said in a news release. “Each selected project encourages citizen involvement and community-wide collaboration. We’re delighted to support creative organizations that are enriching our region.”

The grants are funded by the foundation’s Community Impact Endowment fund as well as donor gifts. This year’s grants will serve eight counties: Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland and Sumter.

The grant recipients are:

  • City of Cayce, Art Lot: An empty lot on State Street will be transformed into a public space connecting local residents, artists and government officials through arts-focused events.
  • Columbia Museum of Art, Boyd Plaza: The museum will present a year of free programming showcasing the newly renovated plaza and the museum’s history of community collaboration.
  • EdVenture, Community Enrichment Initiative: Pop Up EdVenture will provide STEAM and literacy programs at 12 area community festivals.
  • Ensemble Eclectica: An interdisciplinary contemporary chamber ensemble will feature the talents of area composers, dancers and artists.
  • Friends of Harbison State, Firebreak Trail Entrance: The park’s most-used entrance will receive improvements including a footbridge.
  • Harriet Hancock Center, Out: The support group for LGBTQ+ teens in the Midlands will provide group outings to local attractions.
  • Mt. Calvary Mission Baptist Church, Small Town – Great Beginnings: The project will bring inspirational speakers to Lee County to encourage and inspire area youth.
  • Palmetto Luna Arts, The Latino Experience: The cultural, social and educational initiative aims to provide non-Latino Midlands residents with knowledge and understanding of the Latino community.
  • River Alliance, 12,000-Year History Park: The project will provide two miles of ADA-accessible trails, bridge and boardwalks to the Congaree Creek in Cayce, along with interpretive historical panels.
  • Serve & Connect, Compassionate Acts: The program equips officers with resources, tools and knowledge to help those facing poverty-related challenges in Fairfield, Kershaw, Newberry and Orangeburg Counties.
  • Sumter County Museum, Chamber Music at the Temple Sinai Jewish History Center: Two nationally acclaimed chamber music ensembles will present concerts to help expand the museum’s community reach.  
  • The Courage Center, A Place of Hope: The Lexington County community center supports the health and safety of youth and families and promotes recovery. A program will introduce families to the center through community events and speakers.
  • The Jasper Project, The Supper Table: The multidisciplinary arts project celebrates the history of state women and contemporary artists. It includes 15 place settings created by visual/textile artists and 150 titles honoring groundbreaking S.C. women.  
  • The Vista Neighborhood Association, Metal Box Wraps: The program is an expansion of the two-year project that wraps utility boxes with works from local artists and historical photographs of the Vista.


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