The P.L.A.C.E. Fellows Program at Columbia College received its fourth $25,000 grant from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.

The P.L.A.C.E. Fellows Program (philanthropy, leadership, and community engagement) competitively selects 10 Columbia College undergraduates each year from the incoming class. This four-year program includes a leadership studies minor, poverty workshops, two paid internships, and opportunities to work with the community in an area that aligns with the students’ interests and field of study.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina has sponsored the P.L.A.C.E. Fellows Program with a $25,000 grant for each of the past four years, bringing the total grant to $100,000 with the selection of the P.L.A.C.E. Fellows from the fall 2016 entering class. The foundation is highly engaged with the program and its fellows, often hosting workshops and meetings.

“The Sisters of Charity Foundation is proud to partner with Columbia College and the P.L.A.C.E. Fellows Program because they mirror our Foundation’s mission, vision and core values,” President Tom Keith said about the grant. Keith is thrilled with the outcome of the three classes of P.L.A.C.E. Fellows thus far and excited to see what the culmination of four years brings. “During this four year journey, I have seen these young women demonstrate leadership, compassion, respect, advocacy, and an exemplary work ethic.  They are wonderful examples of the next generation of leaders; willing to learn from others and to take the lead to better their communities and the lives of others.”

The P.L.A.C.E. Fellows Program is a collaborative program designed to increase students’ awareness of the impact of philanthropy on community non-profits, to create a comprehensive understanding of complex community issues, to develop program and policy leadership to impact change, and to make a commitment to statewide education.

This summer, Columbia College P.L.A.C.E. Fellows delivered the P.L.A.C.E. Gable Oaks Summer Program, providing a variety of educational and recreational activities for local youth in the Belmont Community in Eau Claire. At the P.L.A.C.E. Gable Oaks Summer Program, fellows and other volunteers lent their skills and expertise to engage the youth in science projects, arts and crafts, reading and math activities, and community building exercises. Learning social skills such as team cooperation, the role of personal responsibility and respect for others are also woven into the Gable Oaks Summer Program experience.  Participants learn about being good citizens of their community and how kindness, respect, empathy, honesty and responsibility are the best ingredients for healthy interpersonal relationships and cooperation.

“Columbia College P.L.A.C.E Fellows Program affords our students the opportunity to align their passions with their academic and career aspirations,” stated President Beth Dinndorf. “Through this distinctive four-year experience, our students identify their personal strengths, confront the realities of poverty, and learn to leverage the strengths of the community as they develop into true societal change agents.”

For more information about the Columbia College P.L.A.C.E Fellows Program please contact Dr. Tamara Burk, Director of P.L.A.C.E. Fellows at (803) 786-3554 or by email or visit


About the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina:

The Sisters of Charity Foundation is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. Since 1996, the Foundation has been addressing the root causes and effects of poverty in South Carolina strategically, using our own resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership.

About the P.L.A.C.E. Fellows Program

The mission of the P.L.A.C.E. Fellows is to strategically collaborate with like-minded individuals and nonprofits to augment new and existing community impact efforts. P.L.A.C.E. creates future community leaders committed to philanthropy (actively using gifts to leverage change for human welfare), leadership (assuming personal responsibility to influence change), and community engagement (working with other individuals and organizations to maximize change).

About Columbia College:

Recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a best value institution and ranked among the best regional universities in the South, Columbia College is a dynamic learning and living community known for its emphasis on leadership development and service. Founded 162 years ago by the United Methodist Church as a women’s liberal arts college, Columbia College also offers evening, graduate and online programs serving both women and men. The College is home to the McNair Center for Entrepreneurism, and a nationally renowned honors program led by the 2010-2011 United States Professor of the Year. Learn more at or connect with @columbiakoala.