Fairfield County, SC (WLTX) - Esther Goodwin has seen how diabetes affects the people of Fairfield County.

"I had a mother-in-law that died from diabetes," she said.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the county's diabetes prevalence ranks seven percent higher than the state as a whole.

Community leaders are hoping that a recent grant will help change that.

"This money is to support local community efforts to address health issues," Suzie Doscher said.

Over the course of three years the Fairfield Community Coordinating Council will receive $450,000 from the Duke Endowment.

Doscher is the CEO of Fairfield Memorial Hospital, a member organization.

"Dealing with the health of the community is not an individual or a hospital or a physician issue. It's a community issue," she said.

Doscher said that it's partner organizations like Fairfield County Behavioral Health Services that make the difference.

Vernon Kennedy Sr. is the executive director.

"This is another opportunity where we have to impact Fairfield County," he said.

Their FAN or Faith, Activity, Nutrition program is proof of their efforts.

"What they (churches) were charged to do was to develop a team, a health ministry team within their church. They had to come up with goals and objectives that they wanted to work on and then implement their projects and their goals," he said.

The money from the endowment will help fund similar programs.

"I think this is going to really add to that," he said.

The grant will also help fund programs to fight heart disease and obesity. Greenville, Kershaw, Orangeburg and Cheraw counties also received the grant.