Central Carolina Community Foundation names new president/CEO

Georgia Mjartan brings two decades of executive experience, most recently South Carolina First Steps


Central Carolina Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees has selected Georgia Mjartan as its next president and CEO. She will assume the role on July 1.
Mjartan brings a wealth of executive experience in the public, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, according to a news release. Since 2017, she has served as South Carolina First Steps’ executive director. The state agency and nonprofit is responsible for grantmaking, managing 46 county-level nonprofit affiliates and facilitating partnerships with more than 300 providers. Mjartan also leads the state’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, where she and her team developed a first-in-the-nation technology platform that streamlines eligibility and enrollment in more than 40 different early childhood programs.
With more than $215 million in assets and more than 525 charitable funds, Central Carolina Community Foundation connects local residents with high-impact philanthropy. The Community Foundation builds a thriving community through grants fueling nonprofits’ important work and scholarships that fund educational achievement. The foundation serves nearly a quarter of the state, with a footprint of 11 counties, including Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter. The foundation’s major initiatives include the online giving initiative Midlands Gives, Connected Communities Grants, the One SC Fund and an annual scholarship program.
“We have a history of transformative leadership at Central Carolina Community Foundation. Georgia will not only continue that history, but she will redefine what it means to transform an organization. I am thrilled to welcome Georgia as our new leader,” said Cory Manning, board chair.
Mjartan’s professional and civic service illustrate her commitment to building thriving communities, according to the release. Under Mjartan's leadership, South Carolina First Steps became a permanent state agency; expanded public pre-K statewide; doubled its reach, serving 55,000 children annually; brought new, evidence-based programs for young children to the state; and developed nationally recognized innovations.
Mjartan served as a Columbia Housing Authority commissioner for four years and launched a summer reading program for elementary students during the height of COVID-19 that continues today. She is on the national board of Parents as Teachers, the largest home-visiting program in the country, and leads a Girl Scout troop.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to steward the resources of so many dedicated philanthropists who believe in sharing their wealth to create meaningful and measurable change,” Mjartan said in the release. “Building on decades of generosity and committed leadership, I look forward to the lasting impact Central Carolina Community Foundation will make on our interconnected futures. It is an honor to serve alongside our donors and community partners whose investments ensure we will have clean rivers, healthy children, safe and accessible housing, opportunities for young people and seniors alike, music and art, parks and trails we can all enjoy and animals and an environment cared for in ways that honor all life.”
Before joining South Carolina First Steps, Mjartan was executive director of Our House, an Arkansas-based nonprofit that empowers homeless and near-homeless families to succeed in work, school and life. In addition to her public sector and nonprofit work, she has consulted for nationally recognized philanthropic organizations, such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and has served on numerous boards.
Mjartan has been recognized for her work by Southern Living Magazine, which named her one of the “Southerners of the Year.” She has been named “Nonprofit Executive of the Year,” “Arkansan of the Year” and a “Woman of Influence” by business journals in Arkansas and South Carolina. She has also appeared on NBC News, USA Today and PBS.
Mjartan obtained a Master of Science in Public Affairs and Political Communications from the University of Ulster (UK) and holds undergraduate degrees in English and political science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She graduated from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in State and Local Government program, which she attended on a Fannie Mae Fellowship. She is also an Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow and a Furman University Diversity Leaders Initiative Riley Fellow.
Mjartan is married to Dominik Mjartan, president and CEO of Optus Bank, and they have three children together.