Francis Marion University Names McNair Scholarship Recipients

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From WBTW News13:

Francis Marion University has named three students as recipients of the prestigious McNair Scholarship for the 2016-2017 school year.

The McNair Scholarship is FMU’s highest academic scholarship award. It’s based not only on scholarship, but on community involvement. It seeks students who desire to serve their community, and who have already exhibited a willingness and ability to do so.

McNair scholars are selected by a special committee made up of FMU faculty and administrators.

To read the full story on the winners, click on the link below:

WBTW web article: FMU Names McNair Scholarship Recipients

School Foundation to Award More than $114 Thousand in Grants to Florence Schools

From the Morning News:

“The School Foundation will distribute $114,006.36 in grant awards to schools in Florence School District One for the 2016-2017 school year.

The grant writers were able to share their new programs and ideas with each other Monday afternoon at a reception held at the Floyd Conference Center.

The TSF Grants committee reviewed 10 applications that requested a total of $181,354.38. Five requests for mini-grants – projects up to $500 – were funded for the upcoming year and will benefit classes at North Vista Elementary School, Royall Elementary School, Lucy T. Davis Elementary School and Delmae Elementary School.

Four of the five applications received in the major grants category – projects of $10,000 or more – were funded.”

To read the entire story, click on the link below: web article- School Foundation Grants



Marketing Group to Discuss Florence Branding During Leadership Alumni Lunch & Learn

 The Florence Downtown Development Corporation and City of Florence, in conjunction with Florence County, The Florence Chamber of Commerce, FMU, Florence-Darlington Technical College and other local entities have initiated a community brand development process in an effort to better market the Florence community.
So what exactly is branding? In a nutshell it’s what people say about your community when you’re not around and what you can do about it. The City selected the Avant Marketing Group (based out of St. Louis, Missouri) to guide the community through the branding process.
During this Lunch & Learn, representatives from Avant Marketing will do a presentation about the process they’ll undertake and provide you with information on how you can be a part of the research about the community that we call home.
Event details:
Friday, May 20, 2016
11:45 AM – 1:00 PM
Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library,
Stukes Meeting Room, 509 S. Dargan Street
Free to LFAA members, all others $10.00 to cover cost of lunch
Seating is limited so please RSVP to the Chamber today by calling (843) 665-0515 or by following this link:

Small Business Owners: Apply Now for Your Chance at $25,000 FedEx Business Grant

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Small Business Owners, check this out: FedEx is currently accepting applications in its Small Business Grant Contest, where you could win the grand prize of $25,000 for your business!

In addition, the company will give away several other grants to the runners-up. In total, the awards amount to $100,000.

During the Judging Period, the Top 600 entries will be judged by the sponsor of the contest or its designated representatives and narrowed down to 100 finalists. The sponsor will consider the following in determining the Top 100:

  • Clear, compelling and engaging essay answers and video
  • How Entrant proposes to use the Grant money
  • Use of social media to develop Entrant’s brand voice, including use of visuals, cohesiveness, humor, engagement and uniqueness
  • Website ease of navigation, ease of ordering services or products (if applicable), product availability (in stock or not, if applicable)
  • How well the Entrant’s brand aligns with the FedEx brand
  • Whether the Small Business Owner is prepared to be a Small Business Ambassador or mentor to other small businesses

Extra credit will be given for those Entrants exhibiting any of the following elements:

  • Unique or innovative product or service offering
  • Sustainability/environmentally friendly business
  • Positive impact on the community

Sponsor will announce the Top 100 on or about June 20, 2016.

Click on the link below to find out more on how you can apply.

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

Florence-Darlington Technical College Graduates Largest Class to Date


(images courtesy: FDTC Facebook)

Florence-Darlington Technical College graduated its biggest class yet on Thursday evening, with more than 500 students attending the ceremony.

FDTC President Ben Dillard said the majority of students included those who were either the first person in their family to graduate, an employee or a parent who pursued a degree.

According to the college’s website, 79% of full-time, first-time students at FDTC were awarded some sort of financial assistance to help them pay for college.

In addition, there are 22 FDTC programs that have at least a 75 percent student job placement rate upon graduation in a field related to their major.

The Chamber would like to congratulate all of those who worked so hard to earn their degrees and wish them continued success as they make our community an even better place to work and live.

You can read the full Morning News coverage of the graduation ceremony by clicking the link below: web article- FDTC Graduates Biggest Class

Morning News Media Gallery: Chamber’s 2016 Business Expo


(images courtesy: Joe Perry/ Morning News)

Thank you so much to everyone who attended the Florence Chamber’s 2016 Business & Networking Expo!

The event took place on Thursday, May 12th at the downtown studios of Reflection Images- Photography by Tracy Rowell.

If you’d like to view the full Morning News gallery from the event, click on the link below and make sure to follow and “like” the Florence Chamber on Facebook (Florence Chamber Facebook) to stay up-to-date on upcoming expos and events. Media Gallery- 2016 Business Expo

Inaugural Class of Junior Leadership Florence County to Graduate Thursday


A big congratulations goes out to the inaugural class of Junior Leadership Florence County, who will graduate this evening!

The project is a joint partnership between the Clemson Extension Agency, the Florence Chamber and Francis Marion University and has been supported by many sponsors throughout the year.

We are very proud of the work that these young leaders have done and all that they will undoubtedly accomplish as the years go on. Congrats grads!!

For more information on Junior Leadership Florence County visit:

Junior Leadership Florence County website

Walmart Opens its doors in Darlington

The City of Darlington got a big boost Wednesday morning as the new Walmart location officially opened its doors to the public.

The 122,000 square-foot supercenter will initially employ more than 200 people and is a project that’s many years in the making.

The store is located near the intersection of U.S. 52 (South Main Street) and South Governor Williams Highway (52 Bypass.)

Besides the Walmart, the center was expected to have up to 20,000 square feet of new retail shops and six outparcels available at the same intersection, according to previous reports.

Read the full article on Wednesday’s grand opening celebration by clicking on the link below: web article- Darlington Walmart opens its doors


Florence Regional Airport to Become Site of New Fuel Farm

From the Morning News: “Ground has been broken for a new fuel farm at Florence Regional Airport as fixed-base operator Precision Air looks to make its imprint with renovations and construction.Central to (the involved) changes are the new 40,000-gallon fuel farm that will include self-serve pumps for after-hours service of smaller planes.”

You can read more about the fuel farm and view the article on the exciting developments by clicking on the link below: web article- Ground Broken for Fuel Farm at Florence Regional Airport

‘Play Me I’m Yours’ Celebrates, Awards Artists

Play Me I’m Your Florence 2016 announced that Janis Hobbs and Ellen Walker were the recipients of the Most Creative Piano award and that Charlotte Driggers and her East Clarendon Middle School art students were the recipients of the People’s Choice award at the Florence Regional Arts Alliance’s arts awards ceremony Tuesday night. The Willcox, Buyck & Williams Foundation presented Play Me I’m Yours for the second year in April as part of its history and culture participation program. 27 street pianos decorated by local arts were located in parks, squares, and other public spaces for anyone to play and enjoy. Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me I’m Yours is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram more than 1500 pianos have now been installed in over 50 cities across the globe, reaching more than 8 million people around the world.
The award for the Most Creative Piano was determined by an artist of international repute who noted that Hobbs and Walker “reached a bit farther, taking a risk in how they extended the work itself beyond the piano.” The judge found the piano’s “use of color sensitive and expressive. That piano was transformed, not merely decorated.” In presenting the People’s Choice award, Reynolds Williams noted that Driggers and her students expressed whimsy in their “free flowing, relaxed depiction that invited all to play… (he) particularly enjoyed the captured creature inside the keyboard cover, inviting his rescue by song.”
Williams emphasized the contributions of all the artists, musicians, sponsors, and volunteers for Florence’s signature outdoor art event. He reported that “This year’s participation almost doubled from last year’s, to over 75,000 residents, visitors, and virtual visitors. It is achieving our goal of creating and binding the whole community through talented, creative, people.”
The Founding Sponsors for this project are The Willcox, Buyck & Williams Foundation, King Cadillac Buick GMC, Hotel Florence and Victor’s, Duke Energy Progress, and Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation. This project is made possible through funding from the Florence Regional Arts Alliance’s Quarterly Grants Program, which is funded in part by a generous award from Honda of South Carolina, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.
(Information and pictures courtesy: Roger Malfatti/ Project Manager, Play Me I’m Yours Florence, SC)