LSC announces 2023 Philanthropist of the Year Award for South Carolina

Central Carolina Community Foundation received LSC’s 2023 Philanthropist of the Year Award for South Carolina at the Columbia Shepherd Society Luncheon last fall. The Community Foundation’s relationship with LSC spans more than 20 years serving communities in the 11 counties of South Carolina’s Midlands region.

Erin Johnson, the foundation’s vice president of community investment, and Trimease Carter, a program officer integrally involved in the foundation’s latest grant to LSC, shared their thoughts after receiving LSC’s award.

“Looking back over 20-plus years of grantmaking, I was struck by how closely LSC’s funded projects reflect the foundation’s mission and priorities,” said Johnson. “LSC and the Foundation share a commitment to helping the people we serve feel welcome, grounded, and at home in their community. We are committed to meeting a variety of needs in order to achieve that vision.”

Stalwart support for LSC’s work

The foundation awarded a $20,000 Connected Communities grant last February to support WeCo Cottage, LSC’s collegiate recovery program in West Columbia, South Carolina.

“When LSC submitted the grant application, we realized this was a part of the community we hadn’t really considered before,” noted Johnson. “We thought back to our own college days and how few options were available for students battling substance use disorder. LSC had thought through the structure, program, and staffing needs for WeCo Cottage.”

“My visit to WeCo Cottage with LSC staff put into perspective how difficult it could be for a student in recovery to engage in traditional college settings” added Carter. “The cottage was welcoming and felt like a safe place to live and work – one of the Foundation’s goals for everyone in the Midlands.”

The foundation also partners with LSC on disaster recovery.

“We respect and value our local partners like LSC,” said Johnson. “They are on the ground working with, not for, communities to respond to needs as minor as paying trash fees and as major as building whole new houses.”

Each May, LSC participates in the foundation’s Midlands Gives Day – an opportunity for local nonprofits to raise additional dollars online by leveraging the Foundation’s reach and platform.

“Midlands Gives began in 2014 to encourage Midlands’ residents to ‘give where you live,’” said Johnson. “Today, over 570 nonprofits have a profile on our platform. We raised over $4.4 million through Midlands Gives Day last year. The giving initiative is on the first Tuesday in May. However, donors can visit the platform anytime to learn more about local nonprofits and make a gift.”

Strengthening LSC’s capacity to serve

The foundation’s support for LSC has transcended the traditional boundaries of its service area. In 2021, it awarded LSC a Capacity Building grant that enabled LSC to train over 80 Foster Care and Adult Residential teammates in both North and South Carolina – as well as many of its senior leaders – in diversity and cultural competency. The grant deepened LSC’s understanding of systemic racism, implicit bias, and the importance of language. But most importantly, it improved LSC’s service to clients, residents, and families of color.

“Our values are built on the foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), so LSC’s grant application was an excellent fit for us,” said Johnson. “Oftentimes, only the frontline staff are trained in DEI – but if you train senior leadership as well, there is a ripple effect throughout the entire organization. We were glad to be able to support this ripple effect at LSC.”

To learn more about the Foundation, visit For the Midlands Gives platform, visit