Communities In Schools of the Midlands celebrates Black Philanthropy Month on 8/28

Tanika Diane Epps is fourth to lead the national dropout prevention organization Communities In Schools of the Midlands and the second woman of color to serve as Chief Executive Officer. Epps was appointed CEO in 2019 prior to her roles as Interim CEO and Program Director.

Its no secret that Tanika faced some unprecedented events in her first year as CEO of the organization, notably strengthening partnerships with school districts, state agencies, and local municipalities during COVID-19. In uncertain times Tanika remembers the encouraging words her parents the late Pastor James, Sr. and Karen Epps told her at an early age growing up in a rural area community. In her adolescence years she experienced her own personal struggles. Her parents often reminded her that nothing was impossible to do. When someone told her no, she was determined to turn that no its a YES.

This model still follows her today.

Tanika pictured with her parents, the late Pastor Walter. Sr. and Karen Epps and older brother.

Tanika’s determination from an early age led her to accomplish major milestones to include graduating from Lake City High School, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Columbia College, and Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix.

Epps in high school posing with siblings James r, Jr. and Susan

Prior to joining as CEO, Epps spent the past 10 years building her career at Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands. The experience she gained as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year was the job that changed her career path. Her passion for educating children and youth grew even stronger. Tanika was determined to make a difference in the lives of black and brown students that looked like her growing up in Lake City, South Carolina.

AmeriCorps Member, City Year
Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands

Epps pays tribute to her predecessors, Rick Noble, Joan Hoffman, Terry Linder, and the beloved Dorian Mendez-Vaz all once profound leaders of fulfilling the mission of Communities In Schools of the Midlands: To surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. To make a donation to Communities In Schools of the Midlands in celebration of black-led nonprofits and philanthropist on August 28th, visit their profile on

Central Carolina Community Foundation is a sponsor for Give 8/28 and a foundation partner for Communities In Schools of the Midlands philanthropic initiatives.



July 21, 2020

Contact: Latasha Taste-Walker (, 803.414.8409

COLUMBIA, SC – TheAflac Charitable Fund awarded Communities In Schools of the Midlands (CISM) with a $5,000 grant in support of the Overcoming Obstacles Program. The organization was awarded through the Spring competitive grant cycle managed through the Central Carolina Community Foundation.

The Overcoming Obstacles Program aims to increase life skills in underserved children and youth in rural area elementary, middle, and high schools located in Richland and Lexington counties. Communities In Schools of the Midlands provides students with decision-making counseling, academic learning plans, college and career guidance to improve educational outcomes via their Integrated Student Support services.

“Life Skills are an essential part of the development of today’s youth,” said Program Director Dr. Claudia Aldamuy. “We have found that students who are not good test takers or simply do not perform well in class do not always have a learning disability or deficiency. With the ongoing support of a CIS Site Coordinator, students with critical needs have achieved short-term goals like improving a letter grade and gained non-academic skills (life skills) like effective communication and decision making.”

“Aflac is committed to supporting education in the communities where we work and live,” said Virgil Miller, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Aflac U.S., and President of Aflac Group. “We are particularly proud to support such an important program for underserved children as Overcoming Obstacles.”

To learn more about Communities In Schools COVID-19 response efforts visit


About the Aflac Charitable Foundation

The Aflac Charitable Fund is managed by the Central Carolina Community Foundation.

About Communities in Schools of the Midlands

Communities In Schools of the Midlands is a part of the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization, dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help students succeed in school and achieve in life. The program provides supports to seven schools within Lexington and Richland Counties and the South Carolina Juvenile Justice Department serving nearly 3,000 young people and families each year. Based directly inside of schools throughout the Midlands, Communities In Schools of the Midlands connects students and their families to basic and critical educational and community-based resources, tailored to each student’s specific needs. Learn more about Communities In Schools of the Midlands at