On the Table participants were excited and passionate about the fresh, innovative ideas to work together and improve our communities generated during their conversations on October 24.

To help these ideas become a reality, we’re excited to announce Beyond the Table Grants!

Central Carolina Community Foundation awarded a total of $20,000 in quick action mini-grants to support ideas that come from our inaugural On the Table conversations. The inaugural grant recipients and their projects were:

  • Auntie Karen Foundation for “Block Party – Farmer’s Market Pilot,” which will bring neighbors together in the 29203 zip code through block party style farmer’s markets.

  • Central Midlands Development Corporation for “Columbia Food Policy Committee Town Hall Food Forum,” an opportunity to facilitate conversations between city officials, stakeholders, and community members facing food insecurity.

  • Cola Town Bike Collective for “Bridging Communities Event and Art Space,” which will turn the block occupied by Cola Town Bike Collective’s new location in Elmwood neighborhood into a welcoming and vibrant community event space.

  • Greater Columbia Community Relations Council for “Becoming Part of the Solution,” which will document citizen’s suggestions and innovative ideas for addressing, reducing, and ultimately eliminating crime, violence, racism, and discrimination.

  • Lexington County Public Library System for “Building a Healthy Community,” an outdoor structure that will provide a place for families and their children to interact outside of the South Congaree-Pine Ridge Branch.

  • Midlands Mediation Center for “Power Monday- Peace Talks,” a monthly series of free, public sessions designed to promote peaceful conversations between individuals in the workplace, school, and community.

  • Providence Home for “the Hope for Tomorrow” project, which will sponsor inmates in the Department of Correction’s Re-Entry program, allowing inmates to overcome financial barriers and focus on maximizing the program’s services.

  • Sustainable Midlands for “Fresh and Local Centerpiece at Tasty Tomato,” a project developing a neighborhood map of access to fresh, healthy food in the 29203 area.

  • Town of Chapin for “Community Engagement Council,” which will meet quarterly to host facilitated discussions between community members, elected officials, and town employees to map out a unified vision for the Chapin community.

  • United Way of the Midlands for “Family Engagement Nights,” that will educate families about the importance of reading at home and empower them with the knowledge to make the home to school connection.

  • Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN) for “Seat at the Table,” a project that will produce a resource guide for employers in the Midlands on practical and accessible solutions to attract, retain, and advance women into their workforce.

Grants were available for nonprofit organizations or individuals with a fiscal sponsor who are interested in shaping the future of our community. Grant proposals addressed at least one of the 10 issues that were identified as a community priority in the On the Table survey:

What makes our community a good place to live:

  • Quality public schools

  • Superb outdoor parks and recreation (including access to the riverfront)

  • Vibrant social community events (including online and print guides with information about local events and things to do)

  • Remarkable diversity and inclusiveness

Address needs that exist in our community:

  • Good jobs and economic development

  • Poverty and economic insecurity

  • Crime, violence and public safety

  • Race relations, racism and discrimination

  • Walkable and bikeable urban areas

  • Streamlining resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses

View the press release here.