FLORENCE - Francis Marion University has received a $2 million gift from the PSARAS Foundation to support outreach programs and services.
The grant will be used to strengthen excellence in preventive healthcare, leadership development and further expand outreach, teaching and mentoring activities at the university.
“Over the past decade, the PSARAS Foundation and its president, Jim Konduros, have been very generous benefactors to Francis Marion University,” said FMU President Fred Carter. “This latest gift of $2 million will be used to endow our McNair Scholarship program and begin rural leadership and preventive health initiatives within the I-95 Corridor. Without this type and level of support, we would still be studying the region’s problems rather than solving them.”
Grant funds in the amount of $600,000 will be used to fund the Robert E. McNair Scholars program, competitive academic scholarships that fully fund tuition, fees, book allowances and room and board for the four years the scholars attend FMU.
The university will use another $800,000 to fund a preventive health outreach program. This support from PSARAS will allow the university to enhance its efforts to address the health concerns of the Pee Dee that began with its Advancing Rural Community Health (ARCH) initiative.
In addition, $600,000 of the grant will be used to establish a leadership institute on campus that will provide ongoing assessment and training. The rural leadership institute will invite approximately 30 individuals each year from rural communities in South Carolina to participate in the program. The Governor Robert E. McNair Center for Government and History is positioned to evaluate the overall health of each county by gathering research through the institute, along with analysis from current and former Rural Area Leadership Initiative (RALI) participants.
“The PSARAS Foundation has always held the mission of Francis Marion University in the highest esteem because of its proactive and creative approach in trying to solve the generational problems in rural South Carolina, especially the Pee Dee,” said Konduros. “Empowering people is a profound gift and Dr. Carter and his team are tireless in their efforts to be a model of rural development in one of South Carolina’s most challenged areas.”
The grant comes on the heels of the establishment of an advisory committee by the university to address the issues and recommendations identified in, “Creating Greater Opportunity in South Carolina’s I-95 Corridor: A Human Needs Assessment.” Released in December, the study was commissioned by FMU and S.C. State University. It encapsulates the problems which have long been linked to this section of the region and provides recommendations for attending to those issues.
Francis Marion University, founded in 1970, is one of South Carolina's 13 state-supported universities. As one of the state's six comprehensive institutions, FMU prides itself on providing a strong liberal arts education for its 4,000 students.
The PSARAS Foundation is a South Carolina nonprofit organization primarily engaged in supporting education and community services within the state of South Carolina.
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