Awards Toolkit

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Application Due Date

Competition/County Presentations Date

Rules and Requirements

Instructions for Project Description

Sample Outline for the J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Awards

Sample Judge’s Scale for J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Awards

Presentation Guidelines


Video Library of Past Presentations and Winning Applications

Webinar: What Sets Winners Apart

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Rules and Requirements

  1. Without exception, all applications must be submitted online or received at the SCAC office by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 21, 2023. If submitting hardcopies in person or by mail, please provide 4 copies of your application and supporting materials. If mailing your application, please send it to: SCAC, PO Box 8207, Columbia, SC 29202-8207. If using an express carrier, send it to SCAC, 1919 Thurmond Mall, Columbia, SC 29201. Or, submit your application online. Only the written submission is due by this date. Any PowerPoint presentation and/or video file that will be used during the Awards Competition will be due approximately one week prior to the competition.

  2. Each county may submit one entry for the J. Mitchell Graham Award. The project entry must be submitted by the county and include a letter of support from the county council chairman or the county chief administrative officer.

  3. Counties may submit multiple entries for the Barrett Lawrimore Award. Barrett Lawrimore Award applications must include letters of support from the chief administrative officers of each participating political subdivision.

  4. Counties should consider submitting entries to the Barret Lawrimore Competition when a county has worked cooperatively on a regional basis with another political subdivision. Regional partners may include one or more additional counties, cities, towns, districts, or councils of government. While elements of regional cooperation may also include partnerships with non-profit organizations, state agencies, private entities, or multiple departments within one county, these organizations should not be the primary partnership to meet the entry criteria for the Barret Lawrimore Competition.

  5. When appropriate, judges reserve the right to change the award category of any application.

  6. Each entry may address either a single project or two related projects. A project is considered to be a group of associated activities. An example of two related projects would be:
    the construction of a parkway to reduce traffic congestion—including a comprehensive plan to mitigate its impact upon wetlands and cultural resources; and
    an educational program to teach children about the area’s culture and history that contains material and information from a study about the impact of the parkway.

  7. Projects must be put into action or completed within the last completed fiscal year (FY 2021-22) or the current fiscal year (FY 2022-23); however, they may be initiated prior to this time period.

  8. Each application should include a concise Project Description to explain the purpose and significance of the entry, and counties may provide additional materials to support their application. Please review the instructions for completing the Project Description and support materials carefully to be sure your application addresses the judging criteria and is formatted correctly. Judges may deduct points for entries that do not adhere to the rules and requirements.

  9. Applicants who meet the deadline and all application requirements are required to present their projects at a scheduled time during the awards competition. A representative from the county submitting the entry must participate in the presentation.

    Each entrant will provide a 10-minute presentation, followed by a brief period for judges’ questions. Judges may deduct points for presentations that do not adhere to the 10-minute presentation time. If a county does not present, the entry disqualified from the competition and will not be scored by the judges.

    Visual presentation files that will be used for county presentations (Powerpoint slides, MP4 video files, etc.) are due Friday, May 15 by 5 p.m.

  10. The J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Awards Competition will be held on Wednesday, May 24 at SCETV, located at 1041 George Rogers Blvd, Columbia, SC. County entrants will deliver in-person presentations to the panel of judges, and the event will be livestreamed on the Association's Facebook page or at for a remote county audience.

  11. Nothing may be given to the judges during the competition. The judges will only consider the Project Description and support materials received by the deadline and the presentation.

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Instructions for Project Description

The Project Description may include up to eight pages and should address all of the questions below. Applicants may choose to organize their Project Description by following the sample outline or incorporate these points throughout their narrative.

In addition to the application form and Project Description, applicants may submit up to five pages of additional material—such as newspaper clippings, brochures, photos, tables, graphs, or other items—to support their entry. Letters of support and the cover page do not count toward the 13-page limit.

These requirements apply whether your entry addresses one or two projects—thus, the total number of pages should not exceed 13.

If you plan to submit your application online, you will have the option of uploading your Project Description and support materials. Please use the following naming convention for your PDF or Word file: projectname.JMG2023 or projectname.BL2023. Your PDF or Microsoft Word documents should be formatted for 8 ½” x 11” paper with 1” margins. All pages, except the cover page, should be numbered.

You must use the most recent version of Adobe Reader or Acrobat to apply using the fillable PDF. (Acrobat Reader is available free for downloading.) The application must be completed in one session; you will not be able to save and reopen it.

If you plan to send a paper submission, four copies of both the Project Description and support materials should be provided on white, 8 ½” x 11” paper, printed on one side and 3-hole punched. All pages, except the cover page, should be numbered. Do not use binders, tabs, or staples.

Sample Outline for J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Regional Cooperation Awards

Benefit/Importance of Project
1. Why was this project undertaken?
2. What is the significance of this project to your community as a whole? How does it relate in importance to the other problems in your community?
3. How much of the county’s population is benefited by the project? In what specific ways are different groups of citizens within the county better off than before?
4. What degree of success did the project attain? What major objectives were achieved? Provide data where possible.

Project Effort/Difficulty

1. What did your county have to do to accomplish its objectives? If your county worked with another local government or consultant, how was the work divided?
2. What challenges occurred during the project? Were there any community concerns?
3. What were the nature and extent of the county government’s efforts to alleviate the problem(s)? How difficult was it to accomplish the project’s goals and/or objectives?
4. Was financing the project an obstacle? Were there any unusual factors inherent in financing the project?
5. Did any agencies, citizen groups, or other organizations assist your county with this project? Did their participation pose any particular challenges or offer any unique contributions or benefits?
6. Are there any unresolved problems or other goals left to tackle?

Project Originality/Innovation

1. Justify the uniqueness of this project. What makes it different from other projects designed to achieve the same objective?
2. Do you know of any other similar programs in South Carolina? If so, how is your program different?
3. What innovations were required in accomplishing your objectives?
4. Who provided the creativity and imagination in your project?

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Who should be listed as the staff contact for the application?

The staff contact should be the primary point of contact for your application. All correspondence and communication about the awards program will be directed to this staff member—including an email to confirm the receipt of your application and the scheduled time for your county’s presentation.

May I submit the application form online and send the attachments to SCAC via U.S. Postal Service or an express carrier?

Yes. Please send four copies of the attachments—provided on white, 8 ½" x 11" paper, printed on one side and 3-hole punched. Do not use binders, tabs, or staples. Mail should be sent to: SCAC, PO Box 8207, Columbia, SC 29202-8207. If using an express carrier, send to: SCAC, 1919 Thurmond Mall, Columbia, SC 29201.

How will the entries be judged?

A panel of three or four judges will be appointed by SCAC to select the winning entries. The judges will review all applications and presentations before independently scoring each entry. Your Project Description should carefully follow the instructions and Sample Outline available in the Awards Toolkit. By doing so, your project will address the criteria that the judges will consider to evaluate your entry. Additionally, please review the sample judges’ scale included in the Awards Toolkit. Each county’s entry will be scored by the judges using this scale. SCAC’s Board of Directors and staff do not participate in the selection process.

Can I make changes to my application form, Project Description, or support materials after they have been submitted online or delivered to SCAC?

The project title, summary, Project Description, and support materials may not be amended after they are submitted. If it becomes necessary to update the staff contact or speaker information, please contact Susan Turkopuls via e-mail at or by calling 1-800-922-6081.

Who should present our project?

Presentations may include one or more speakers and should inlcude at least one county elected official, staff member, or county representative. Additional speakers may include project partners or county residents. Speakers should be aware that the 10-minute presentation time limit is strictly enforced.

Are PowerPoint presentations or videos required?

PowerPoint presentations and videos are not required. However, if electronic audio-visual files will be used, the approved formats are PowerPoint or MP4 video. Counties are encouraged to make their presentations interesting and creative.

What will happen if our presentation exceeds the 10-minute time limit?

The judges may deduct points for exceeding the time limit; however, SCAC offers a timekeeper to assist all speakers during the competition. The timekeeper provides large signs to notify speakers when they have 5 minutes, 1 minute, and 30 seconds of time remaining. If the presentation hasn’t been completed, the timekeeper will announce the end of the 10-minute period. After each presentation, the judges have a brief period to ask questions about the project and this period is not timed.

What type of audiovisual equipment will be available for presenters?

SCAC will provide a laptop computer. remote slide advancer, and an audiovisual specialist for the competition. The computer may be used to provide a PowerPoint presentation, or play an MP4, which will be projected onto a screen, as well as livestreamed. SCAC cannot support Prezi. If you have additional audiovisual needs, please contact Susan Turkopuls via e-mail at or by calling 1-800-922-6081 no later than one week prior to the competition.

May we display pop-up signs, poster-size charts, or large photos to support our presentation?

Display items are permitted, as long as they can be set-up and removed quickly and they do not obstruct the view of the judges or audience. SCAC will have one easel availble for props. Please bring appropriate portable stands if you will require additional support for your props.

May we invite county staff members to attend the awards competition?

Yes, however only one county at a time will be allowed in the presentation room. During a county’s scheduled presentation, no more than 10 county representatives, including the presenter(s), may attend. All presentations will be live-streamed and recorded for remote viewing by county audiences.