Columbia, S.C., Oct. 1, 2018 – Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands’ center for philanthropy, encourages people in Richland and Lexington Counties to become table hosts for On the Table, an initiative that will take place throughout the region on Wednesday, October 24, 2018. On the Table brings people together to share their thoughts on how we can make make our community even better. Table hosts can register and learn more at www.onthetablecola.org.
Each table host will convene and lead a conversation at the time and place of their choice across Richland and Lexington Counties on October 24, using a simple set of hosting guidelines provided by Central Carolina Community Foundation. On the Table provides a unique opportunity to share ideas and inspire action across a diverse group of community members.
How to get involved with On the Table
Area residents, nonprofits, places of worship, businesses, and others can participate by hosting a small group table of six to twelve or by participating as a guest at someone else’s table. Hosts have the flexibility to determine the invitation list (people they know or have not yet met) and location for their On the Table conversations, which can be held in homes, restaurants, parks, or community spaces at any time on October 24 — breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime, before or after work, or late in the evening. Food can be provided by the host, or guests can purchase their own food, bring a brown bag, or contribute to a potluck.
The Foundation has provided a toolkit that includes hosting tips and suggested discussion questions that can be used. The host and participants can also select their own topics, issues, and ideas to discuss. The toolkit and other resources can be found at www.onthetablecola.org/resources.
Many people will be invited to participate in an On the Table conversation by an individual or organization. The Community Foundation is partnering with local organizations such as Richland Library and Lexington County Public Library to host tables that are open to the public.
“On the Table conversations are all about encouraging our residents to think about the issues they care about, who we are as a community, where we’re going, and what we can do to get there,” said JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “It’s about discovering how each of us can join together to make our region a better place to live. The more voices we hear, the better decisions we can make together.”
Superhosts: Convening Multiple Tables
Superhosts are organizations – nonprofits, places of worship, businesses, schools, civic organizations and other – that commit to hosting at least 5 tables, 6 to 12 people per table. If this describes your organization, please contact us at 803-254-5601 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Current superhosts include Chapin High School, Colonial Life, the Community Relations Council, Junior League of Columbia, Leadership Columbia, Lexington County Library, Montessori School of Columbia, One Columbia for Arts and History, Richland County Recreation Commission, Richland Library, the Town of Chapin and Turner Padget.
“Lead the Table” Training Session
Individuals and organizations interested in hosting a table are invited to join Lead the Table, a special training and networking session on Tuesday, October 2 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 701 Whaley, hosted by Central Carolina Community Foundation. Attendees will receive their Host Toolkit with conversation guides and suggested prompts and will have the opportunity to mingle with other table hosts. Lisa Adkins, President & CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation in Lexington, KY, will join the Foundation for the training and share how On the Table has shaped her community over the last two years. It is not required to attend Lead the Table training in order to host a table. Info and host toolkit details can be found at www.onthetablecola.org.
It’s More than Just a One Day Event – It’s a Movement
On the Table, Powered by Central Carolina Community Foundation, will bring a diversity of voices together across the community to discuss the future and inspire actionable ideas to strengthen communities. It is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of a national initiative. The goal is for hundreds of area residents, from all walks of life, ages, and backgrounds, to participate in conversations on October 24 and beyond.
While the first component of this initiative is to foster focused conversations at dining tables across our region, the end goal is to keep these conversations going and, ultimately, to increase the impact that individuals and groups have on the community when they work together.
At the conclusion of the conversations, participants will be encouraged to complete a brief online survey about their On the Table experiences and the topics they discussed. The survey results will be compiled by national research partners Hart Research Firm and Public Opinion Strategies and provided to the Community Foundation, which will release a community report to the public. The results also will be shared with community leaders, elected officials, and other decision-makers to help provide a deeper understanding of the conversations and inform how decisions about our communities are made in the months and years ahead.
Rooted in a National Initiative
On the Table, Powered by Central Carolina Community Foundation replicates an annual civic engagement initiative of the same name developed by The Chicago Community Trust in 2014. Since then, the initiative has fostered civic-engagement and generated hundreds of actionable ideas from tens of thousands of Chicago-area residents.
The initiative has also been replicated nationally in more than 25 communities across the nation, including 12 cities also supported by Knight Foundation over the past two years, including Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus, Georgia; Lexington, KY; and Miami, FL.
Support for On the Table, Powered by Central Carolina Community Foundation advances Knight Foundation’s work to help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity, and create a culture of civic engagement. Knight Foundation believes that successful communities are equitable, inclusive, and participatory.
“On the Table is helping to create a network of engaged residents and problem-solvers in cities across the nation. Through it, we hope to discover new lessons in people-focused city-building, rooted in consensus and common ground,” said Lilly Weinberg, Knight Foundation director for community foundations. For more information or to sign up to host a table, visit www.onthetablecola.org or call 803.254.5601.
About Central Carolina Community Foundation
Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands' center for philanthropy, is a nonprofit organization serving 11 counties in the Midlands by distributing grants and scholarships and linking the resources of donors, nonprofits and area leaders to communities in need. Major initiatives include the Midlands Gives 24-hour online giving challenge; Connected Communities grants; On the Table, Powered by Central Carolina Community Foundation; the One SC Fund; the Best of Philanthropy Awards; annual scholarships; and more. For more information about the Community Foundation, visit www.yourfoundation.org or call 803.254.5601.