Kershaw and Fort Lawn chosen for Community Heart and Soul Grants of $100,000 each.

Kershaw is starting a two-year community development process to assess the desires of the Kershaw community, draft a document that will be used to help shape the decisions for the community. That is the basics of the Orton Community Development Model entitled Community Heart and Soul. The Town of Kershaw received a $100,000 grant from J. Marion Sims Foundation out of Lancaster to implement the program.

Two towns in South Carolina have been selected for Community Heart & Soul®, launching a partnership with J. Marion Sims Foundation that introduces the community development model in the Southeastern United States, David Leckey, executive director, Orton Family Foundation announced.

Information video link below.

Fort Lawn (pop. 860) and Kershaw (pop. 2,100) were selected to each receive $100,000 grants from J. Marion Sims as part of a partnership with Orton Family Foundation to bring Community Heart & Soul to the region.

“Our partnership with J. Marion Sims launches Community Heart & Soul in the Southeast. We are looking forward to seeing positive change happen as the residents of Fort Lawn and Kershaw plan for the future based on what matters most to them and honors the unique character of their towns,” Leckey said.

Both towns are in a region that has been challenged by the departure of the textile industry, which anchored the local economy throughout the 20th century. Other challenges for the towns include getting missing voices involved in the community conversation and bridging longstanding, historical divides.

“We are excited to see the residents of Fort Lawn and Kershaw come together to make positive change in their communities,” said Robert Folks, chairman, J. Marion Sims Foundation. “Like our partners at Orton Family Foundation, we believe in the wisdom of local residents to guide decision-making, and are looking forward to shepherding Community Heart & Soul throughout the region.”

Community Heart & Soul continues to gain momentum across the country. Fort Lawn and Kershaw are the first communities in the Southeast to undertake Heart & Soul projects, bringing the total number of towns that have engaged in Community Heart & Soul to 43 and adding South Carolina to the list of states with Community Heart & Soul towns that includes: Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Washington.

About Orton Family Foundation: The Orton Family Foundation is focused on building stronger, healthier and more economically vibrant small cities and towns across America. Founded in Vermont in 1995, the foundation devoted more than a decade to working with small towns to create a community development model that helps build trust and empowers residents to shape the future of their communities. Community Heart & Soul projects are underway across the country creating positive change that is resident-driven and recognizes the value in the unique character of each place and the deep emotional connection of the people who live there.

About J. Marion Sims Foundation: The J. Marion Sims Foundation is entering its third decade of service to the community, with a focus on transforming the health and wellness of Lancaster, Fort Lawn, and Great Falls, SC. For information about the Foundation, please see or contact the foundation at (803) 286-8772.

The Town of Kershaw Community Heart and Soul Facebook page is Kershaw Heart and Soul Link 

Youtube video about Community Heart and Soul


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