Columbia, S.C., – Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands’ center for philanthropy, invites residents to participate in On the Table, an initiative that will bring people together to break bread and share their thoughts on what’s great about our community and how we can make it even better — more generous, vibrant, and engaged. Part of a national initiative to connect communities on issues that are important to them, the event will be held on Wednesday, October 24 and include residents from across Richland and Lexington Counties.
“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.”
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.
Host a Table or Participate as a Guest
Area residents, nonprofits, places of worship, businesses, and others are invited to 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 will provide 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.
Many people will be invited to participate in an On the Table conversation by an individual or organization. The Community Foundation will also be partnering with local organizations to host tables open to the public.
Hosts can register and public conversations will be listed at www.onthetablecola.org.
It’s More than Just a One Day Event – It’s a Movement
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 Tableexperiences 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 who will release a community report to the public. The results will also 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, OH; Charlotte, NC; Columbus, GA; 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, visit www.onthetablecola.org or call 803.254.5601.