Press Release


Contact: Keri Boyce


May 28, 2020



LWK will receive $450,000 to continue community health improvement efforts in Kershaw County over next three years


Kershaw County, S.C. — Kershaw County has a lot to be proud of. It has been named an All-America City by the National Civic League.  Its local government staff has been actively invested in keeping the community safe during a global pandemic. And now, it can add one more item to the list.

The LiveWell Kershaw Coalition (LWK) has received a second round of funding from The Duke Endowment to improve community health in Kershaw County. LWK was one of the first five counties in South Carolina to receive this funding and is now one of 20 coalitions across the Carolinas participating in The Duke Endowment’s initiative, Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas.

The Duke Endowment will have invested $900,000 in Kershaw County through the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas initiative between 2017 and 2023.

“We used our first three years of funding to build relationships and demonstrate small successes through our initial interventions,” Livewell Kershaw Coalition Director Kathryn Johnson said. “Our next three years will be rooted in data management, large-scale initiatives, and strengthened evaluation of those efforts.”

LWK brought Kershaw County leaders together back in March 2019 to create a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Residents and leaders worked together to determine what top three health priorities should be addressed over the next three years. After completing a data walk and table discussion for each of the seven potential topics, the group determined Access to Care, Mental Health, along with Healthy Eating and Active Living should be kept top of mind moving forward. Individuals signed up for workgroups that took a deeper dive into each of these topics to create actionable steps, along with specific measures for implementation. (To learn more about each action team, see the sidebar.)

Research shows that South Carolina ranks 42nd among all states when it comes to the overall health of its residents, earning poor rankings for its obesity and physical inactivity rates. Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas, an initiative of The Duke Endowment recognizes that health and well-being are created and sustained not just through individual and clinical efforts, but through the cooperation and support of the extended local community.

“Where we live, where we go to school and work, how we spend our free time—even our ability to access fresh food and safely exercise near our homes—all contribute to our health and well-being,” said Johnson. “In a life-expectancy map, provided by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), we see that residents of Kershaw County are not anticipated to live past the age of 80. Diving even further, we see that there is a 10-year difference in life expectancy from one end of our County to another. These types of disparities exist for many reasons. We aim to be part of the solution that increases life expectancy and well-being throughout years lived in Kershaw County.”

Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas provides opportunities to bring together leaders from hospitals, health departments and other health-promoting organizations. A crucial first step—and one that is funded by The Duke Endowment’s grant—is to strengthen the infrastructure of the local coalitions that are coordinating the effort, so that they’re well-positioned to identify and implement interventions that work.

“The health challenges facing the Carolinas have been decades in the making,” said Lin Hollowell, Director of Health Care at The Duke Endowment. “They cannot be effectively addressed overnight, though we’re starting to see the roots of progress take hold in the first set of Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas communities. The health challenges also cannot be solved by individuals and organizations working alone. Through Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas, communities can work together to confront their problems and make the most progress in achieving solutions.”

Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas is an initiative of The Duke Endowment. The program promotes behavior change that addresses chronic issues such as unhealthy weight, diabetes and heart disease by increasing physical activity and nutrition. The LiveWell Kershaw Coalition has been selected to lead a coalition of leaders from a wide spectrum of community organizations in developing ways to engage residents in improving their health.

The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has awarded more than $3.5 billion in grants.  

About LWK

LWK was founded by a group of community members interested in using data to guide action aimed at addressing the health issues faced by the residents of Kershaw County. Today, LWK works to foster collaboration between citizens of all ages, working in partnership with public and private sector organizations and schools to increase community awareness of health issues. The goal is to improve access to quality healthcare and encourage the people of Kershaw County to take ownership of the health of the whole county, acting together to reduce chronic disease and obesity among the members of the community. To learn more, visit




Each action team formed from the Community Health Improvement Plan is made up of community members who meet monthly to work on each team’s goal. To get involved in a CHIP Action team, contact Johnson at

The CHIP Access to Care Action Team is working toward the goal of increasing and improving ways to access affordable healthcare and transportation services among rural and underserved residents. Their current initiatives are:

  • Maintaining Where is Care in Kershaw County?,an online directory of nearly 200 clinical and social services providers designed for use by consumers, healthcare providers, and local policymakers. This can be found at
  • Partnering with Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, Santee-Wateree Regional Transportation Authority, and Kershaw County public and private agencies and organizations to advocate for and develop a transit system for our county.
  • AccessHealth Kershaw is a network of care for the uninsured that is also funded by The Duke Endowment. The CHIP Access to Care work has created the opportunity to align and capture their contribution to addressing the needs identified by the community.


The CHIP HEAL Team is working towards Increase healthy lifestyles among families countywide in order to decrease the obesity epidemic. This action team is helping Kershaw County “slim down” by:

  • Coordinating with Eat Smart, Move More Kershaw County to help local churches implement Faith, Activity and Nutrition (FAN)—an evidence-based program designed to help churches create a healthy church environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity
  • Partnering with the Kershaw County School District to promote the 5-2-1-0 campaign designed to educate students and their families to eat 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, limit their leisure “screen time” to 2 hours a day, get 1 hour of physical activity daily and drink 0 sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Working with public and private agencies, businesses, and organizations to create outdoor fitness parks and fitness circuits that provide safe and convenient places for residents to exercise.


The CHIP Emotional Health Team’s goal is to improve the emotional well-being of Kershaw County residents by increasing the quality, availability, and effectiveness of Community Health Programs. This team is working to improve residents’ mental and emotional wellbeing by:

  • Coordinating with SC Thrive to conduct free Mental Health First Aid training for Kershaw County adults and high-schoolers on how to identify and intervene for those living with mental health disorders.
  • Publishing a brochure of mental health resources available in Kershaw County

 Helping Residents Find Care & Support in Kershaw County

Use our database to find a doctor, support group and more.

Where is Care Livewell Kershaw Coalition