Knight Foundation supports three local nonprofits with $200,000

February 15, 2024

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a Midlands philanthropic partner since 1993, awarded $202,565 to three local nonprofit organizations. The Knight Foundation is committed to ensuring Columbia has a vibrant, equitable and inclusive public life in the downtown and riverfront areas. The chosen projects will use economic and arts initiatives to revitalize the community.

The selected Richland County nonprofits are:

  • Made With Cola Love aims to repurpose vacant commercial real estate buildings for small business popups in downtown Columbia. Participating small businesses will receive tailored support through peer mentorship and business skills workshops.
  • Riverbanks Foundation’s Women and Minority Business Development Accelerator Program through the Columbia Chamber of Commerce advances economic inclusion and accelerates minority, women and veteran-owned businesses in Columbia. Its project will increase awareness of its 12-month program and begin three-year data tracking for businesses post-graduation.
  • Columbia Museum of Art will revitalize its Boyd Plaza by incorporating programming and art installations to create a more vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. This urban center will allow people to gather and connect in new and exciting ways, making downtown a more attractive place to live and work.

“The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a national foundation with deep local roots in Columbia,” says JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We are thankful for Knight’s investment and support of our community.”

Through the Knight Foundation, brothers John S. and James L. continue investing in the 26 cities where they once published newspapers. They established a donor advised fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation in 1993, and since then, the fund has invested over $3.9 million in the Columbia community.

“We hope to continue prioritizing people and reaching the heart of Columbia with new and innovative projects,” said Lilly Weinberg, Knight Foundation’s senior director.

For more information on the Knight Foundation, visit


About Central Carolina Community Foundation

Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands’ leader in collaborative philanthropy, is a nonprofit organization serving 11 counties in the Midlands of South Carolina by distributing grants and scholarships and linking the resources of donors, nonprofits and area leaders to communities in need. Major initiatives include the online giving challenge Midlands Gives, Connected Communities grants, the One SC Fund and annual scholarships. For more information about the Foundation, visit or call (803) 254-5601.

About John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a foundation of social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in the community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of cities where the Knight brothers once published newspapers.