GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Finding the Pathway Home”, at Greenwood Pathway House, May 14, 2024

GWC gathered in the administration building at Greenwood Pathway House to greet each other and to share in the delicious refreshments prepared by the Social Committee. We had a large group in attendance which included approximately 45 members and a dozen guests.

After enjoying refreshments, we proceeded into the Pathway House Worship Building where Rachel Strayer welcomed the group with a provocative introduction to our program during which she asked each of us to imagine ourselves being without a home and to consider how that would shape the course of our lives. Her introduction served to frame our experience as we learned more about Greenwood Pathway House and all that the organization does to help those who face the challenge of being homeless. Rachel then welcomed our guests and invited them to consider becoming a member of GWC.

Mary Woodiwiss then gave updates regarding GWC Membership, noting that in the first months of 2024, GWC has been enriched by 30 new members. Mary also recognized Debra Coleman who has been a faithful member since 2019, serving on the Communications and Programs & Education Committees during her tenure. Debra will be moving to Texas to be closer to her son and “GWC wishes her well in her next sphere of influence”.

Holley Coyle, Co-Chair of the Social Committee, informed the group that the Social Committee is actively seeking new members.

Following Holley’s announcement, Helena Wardlaw introduced our guest speaker, Anthony Price, Executive Director of Greenwood Pathway House.

Anthony Price gave a fascinating and highly informative presentation about homelessness, its root causes, and the many ways Greenwood Pathway House functions to address the root causes of homelessness in Greenwood and Abbeville counties. He noted during his talk that in 2023, 375 people were assisted and 62,207 meals were served. Additionally, the inclement weather shelter was open for 80 days.

He thanked GWC for the grants awarded to Greenwood Pathway House by GWC, the most recent being a large grant in 2022 toward the establishment of the Pathway Village. The Pathway Village is housing which serves homeless families. Thus far, Pathway Village has served 43 families with a total of 94 children. Of those, 14 families are now in their own home.

After Anthony’s remarks, Debra Coleman presented a children’s book “The Box” by Isabella Paglia, which is a story about reaching out to a new friend and “meeting others where they are”. This book will be donated to the Greenwood County Library’s Children’s Collection in honor of Anthony Price.

Laura Bachinski closed this portion of the meeting. She shared that our next meeting will be held on August 20 at the Greenwood Genetic Center and will be our celebration of GWC 2023 Grant recipients.

To conclude the presentation, Anthony Price led a tour of the grounds of the Pathway House, including a look at the Pathway Village and the “Furnishing a Future” woodworking shop.

GCCF Youth & Education Grants Awarded, April 2024

Greenwood County Community Foundation GCCF awarded a total of $31,000 to ten nonprofit organizations serving Greenwood County residents in our 2024 Youth & Education granting cycle.

Grant recipients are:

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lakelands — Rising Starz program

Emerald City Rotary Foundation — Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Greenwood Community Theatre — The Penguin Project

Greenwood Pathway House — Youth Carpentry Program

The Greenwood Promise — Career Coordinator

Healthy Learners — Staff salary support, transportation, medical fees

Next Level Lifestyles — Future Leaders Education Project

Palmetto Girls Sing! — 10-year anniversary choral festival

The Period Project — Hygiene products for low-income female students

PlaySafe — Athletic training services for Ware Shoals High School

We congratulate our Youth & Education grant recipients, and we are grateful for your continued service to our community!

Job Opening – CEO

Annual Celebration, “GWC: Attitude of Gratitude”, at Greenwood Community Theatre, March 18, 2024

GWC’s 2024 Annual Celebration was indeed a glorious one! The entirety of the evening exemplified our theme of GWC: Attitude of Gratitude. Appreciation for our blessings, each other, our organization, our community, and Greenwood nonprofits filled the air. Upon arriving in the Uptown Courtyard for the reception, members were encouraged to write something that they appreciated about GWC. In our program portion in Greenwood Community Theatre, each speaker and segment reiterated cause for gratitude for our organization, this community, and the people and places we share within them.

Let us begin by giving thanks to Betty Adams and Martha Ann Davis of our Membership Committee who welcomed members and guests at our sign in table; followed by heartfelt appreciation to our Social Committee Co-Chairs, Holley Coyle and Courtney Christensen, who, assisted by Cindy Logan and Carol Harley, truly outdid themselves to set a celebratory tone for our special evening. Shrimp, mini-quiches, wraps, petit fours, and more were elegantly served and enjoyed along with a flavorful punch (tinted GWC green), champagne punch, and wine. A veritable feast in the lovely environs of the Uptown Courtyard – thank you to all you made this happen for us!

Greenwood Community Theatre once again extended their gracious hospitality to us and provided a perfect meeting place for our Annual Celebration program. We were graced with the presence of at least 59 of our 150 members, some of whom are also among the nine GCCF Board Members who came, and no less than 30 other guests. Approximately 90 delightful souls were in attendance! The stage was (literally) set by Ryan Hewitt, GCT Artistic Director and, appropriately, was bathed in green light. We all knew we were in for a visual and sensory treat.

Mary Woodiwiss, Chair of GWC’s Advisory Board, delivered her opening remarks in her typical gracious and eloquent manner, welcoming members and guests and recognizing the GCCF Board members who joined us and reminding us “We are150 women, over a 70-year age range, and from many walks of life; 150 women: to build a Granting Fund with, to learn alongside, to get to know, to expand our understanding of ourselves and each other, to help each of us foster an attitude of gratitude.”  Mary closed with, “I truly believe that we come to love what we give attention to. May GWC continue to be a fellowship in which we can foster attention toward this place we call home so that we may learn more about her, give for her flourishing, and grow more abundantly as women and community members.” Truly, inspiring words.

Ryan Hewitt extended a warm and lively welcome to GCT. Mary then presented a children’s book on behalf of GWC in appreciation of Ryan for his help and support entitled, Eyes that Speak to the Stars, authored by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho. This book will be donated to the Greenwood County Library in honor of Ryan and GCT.

Tyra Murray and Morgan Bates of Next Level Lifestyles spoke of their gratitude to GWC as a 2022 GWC Grant recipient and noted that GWC awarded one of Next Level Lifestyles’ very first grants. Tyra also recounted the fact that her prospects in school did not seem very positive, as some of her teachers and school counselors discouraged her from attempting a college education. Tyra overcame their short-sighted expectations and has obtained both an undergraduate and a master’s degree. Her story illustrates the value of investing in and encouraging the development of youth, as exemplified by Next Level Lifestyles. Tyra then introduced Morgan Bates, another Next Level Lifestyles mentor who is helping younger students embrace the tenets of the program. What a beautiful story of “passing it on”!

Door prizes of delicious and decadent treats from Charming Gourmet Sticks, created by Helena Wardlaw, and handmade journals from Main & Maxwell, provided by Laura Bachinski, were delivered by Helena to members guests as our grantee speakers each drew two names submitted by attendees.

All were then reminded of what a wonderful organizational life GWC experienced in 2023 through a slide show filled with engaging images and meaningful quotes about gratitude (with accompanying music) 2023: A Year of Gratitude, created by Laura Stowe and edited by Mary Woodiwiss. You may view this slide show (without the music) here.

Nancy Hart Wicker, mother of Willow, then spoke movingly about GCT and The Penguin Project. This program pairs children and youth with one or more of an array of disabilities with peer mentors resulting in a full, beautiful stage production of a musical. Nancy Hart described how this program has greatly benefitted her daughter, Willow, and provided a brief video of Willow joyously dancing and singing with her mentor. What a gift the Penguin Project is to those performers, their families, and to our entire community! GCT has received three grant awards from GWC in support of this extraordinary program.

Our attendees then raucously enjoyed GWC’s version of  “Family Feud”, created and emceed by Laura Stowe. Special thanks to our two extremely capable and fun GWC members/scorekeepers, Rowan Pallis, and Taylor Haigler. This was followed by a poignant slide show recognition of our seven “Families Within Our GWC Family”, created by Rachel Strayer.

Lauren Boyd and Dana Baca represented Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries, also a three-time GWC Grant award recipient organization. Their 2023 grant was for the development of the MaxFit gym for their young residents and staff. Lauren spoke of how the equipment was specifically selected to help participants deal with anger, anxiety, and trauma. These include rowers, push sleds, ski machines, slam balls, and ropes. Establishing the MaxFit gym was a three-year vision for Connie Maxwell but, in part due to the GWC grant, they accomplished this feat in one year! Dana Baca is a current resident of Connie Maxwell, an enthusiastic beneficiary of the new Max Fit gym, and a recipient of an acceptance letter from The Citadel!

Debbie Coesens and Jan Puzar highlighted GWC’s 2023 grantees and gave an overview of our granting history since our first grant cycle in 2019 in the segment “Granting for Good”, which included a slide show compiled by Mary Woodiwiss. Their inspiring presentation was followed by the fun and organized chaos of our Grant Number Shuffle. $331,874 total to Greenwood County nonprofits through 51 grants in just five years of GWC Grant Awards!

Rachel Strayer, Vice Chair of GWC’s Advisory Board, delivered closing remarks suggesting we make room for more gratitude into our daily lives; “Instead of saying, ‘I have to’, try saying ‘I get to!’  i.e., ‘I get to see my friends and family.’ ‘I get to exercise’, ‘I get to experience new things’”, etc. She incorporated several of the comments of gratitude written on paper slips by members during our reception. Rachel ended her remarks by saying, “Personally, I am grateful for this group and the wonderful work we facilitate in our community. Imagine how much more support we could provide if we DOUBLED our membership! I challenge each of you to bring at least one guest to a GWC event this year. Let’s share our gratitude for what we’re a part of by introducing it to others!”

What a fantastic way to end a great celebration! The entire evening was emblematic of a grateful organization. Thank you to all who worked hard to make this a joyous and fun event for our members and guests!

GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Greenwood Woman Care – About the Environment”, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, February 13, 2024

GWC was blessed with 19 guests and 43 members attending our February 13th Quarterly Meeting, Greenwood Women Care – About the Environment, at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Rachel Strayer welcomed the enthusiastic group with a special recognition of guests and referenced our program on local land conservation efforts and sustainability, noting: “If we don’t take care of the planet, its climate, and ecosystems, we undermine how our societies function, worsen our lives and, perhaps most directly, harm our own well-being. Clearly, caring about the environment is in perfect alignment with our purpose as an organization!”

Rachel then introduced our host for this venue, the Reverend Caroline Dennis. GWC is proud to call Caroline a member, and she recently became the newest member of the Communications Committee. Caroline spoke of the beginnings of Westminster Presbyterian 42 years ago and of a special partnership between Westminster Presbyterian and The Toddler Learning Center. This alliance had its beginning at a GWC meeting when Teresa Goodman spoke of Community Initiatives’ need for space for this program and Caroline responded by offering facilities at Westminster Presbyterian!

Summer Booker, Chair of the Governance and Finance Committee and GWC Treasurer, gave a fascinating presentation that outlined the history and purpose of the GWC Endowment. Since GWC’s inception in 2018, $100 of every member’s annual membership contribution of $550 has been added to our GWC Endowment and invested and professionally managed with other endowed funds held by Greenwood County Community Foundation. The GWC Endowment is intended for the long-term sustainability of our organization. Currently, our Advisory Board has voted to allow this fund to continue to accumulate and grow.

Maureen Kilburn of the Programs and Education Committee introduced Kirby Elizabeth Self, Miss South Carolina USA and a student in Harvard Extension School’s Sustainability Master’s Degree Program. Kirby shared six guidelines for sustainability that we should be mindful of in our everyday life: considering our method of transportation, unplugging unused devices, avoiding single-use plastic containers, recycling, shopping at green businesses, and eating local by growing vegetables or shopping at farmers’ markets.

Laura Bachinski, Chair of the Programs and Education Committee, introduced Peggy Adams, founder of the Upper Savannah Land Trust (USLT) and a Charter Member of GWC, who spoke of the beginnings of the USLT, founded in 2000 with her husband, L.B. Adams. Peggy introduced Rossie Corwon, former Board Chair of USLT and a GWC Charter Member who spoke of her work on the board of USLT with Wade Harrison, USLT’s Executive Director. Wade spoke about conservation easements which help private landowners protect their waters and land. Greenwood County has 18 easements, managed by USLT that protect 17,936 acres of land  from unwanted development and ensure that the natural beauty of the land will be available for future generations.

Courtney Christensen and Margaret Conrad presented two children’s books donated in honor of our speakers to the Greenwood County Library. Kirby Elizabeth Self was honored with Because of an Acorn by  Lola Schaefer and Wade Harrison, Peggy Adams, and Rossie Corwon were honored with Slow Down; 50 Mindful Moments in Nature by  Rachel Williams.

Mary Woodiwiss, Chair of the GWC Advisory Board, thanked our speakers, our venue hosts, and our Social and Programs & Education Committees. She recognized our 23 new members (so far!) and also acknowledged “each one of you who have come to share in this  full, rich time together.”  Mary asked us to consider: “Who else would you like to see in the next room where we meet? Who are we missing? Consider how you can help spread the word.”  She encouraged members and guests to attend our Annual Celebration on Monday, March 18th, and to bring guests!

It was a lovely, enlightening, and educational meeting enjoyed by all!

GWC Winter 2024 Newsletter

New Members Soup Supper, February 1, 2024

In their biannual tradition, our Membership Committee welcomed our newest members on February 1 with a bountiful supper of appetizers, soups, salads, rolls, and desserts – all homemade by committee members, all delicious! Even more satisfying than the fare was the experience of sharing this enlivening evening with 14 of our (currently 21) new 2024 members!

Martha Ann Davis provided the perfect setting in her hospitable home, replete with her special touches. Betty Adams, Membership Committee Co-Chair, welcomed all and led us in introductions around the room and Rachel Strayer (Advisory Board Vice Chair) and Mary Woodiwiss (Advisory Board Chair) offered brief descriptions of our six standing committees and answered questions about GWC.

There was plenty of time to linger around each table and be enriched by our conversations with new friends. We look forward to being together again later this month!

GWC Social, “Silver and Gold”, at Stoney Point Lake Clubhouse, January 22, 2024

“Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”

It was a dark, cold, foreboding January night at Lake Greenwood made bright, inviting, and cozy by more than 80 caring souls who attended GWC’s first social of 2024 on Monday, January 22, in the beautiful Stoney Point Lake Clubhouse.

GWC enjoyed a near record breaking number of more than 30 guests and opportunities abounded for keeping with our Silver and Gold theme for the event: “make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.” Approximately 50 GWC members were thrilled to see each other and meet so many guests after a GWC December hiatus. Enthusiastic greetings filled the air!

Many thanks to our Social Committee and other members who secured the locale, created evites, documented our evening together, beautifully served our refreshments and beverages, and brought friends to share in the warmth! Guests and members were welcomed with lovely smiles and words! It was a remarkable kickoff to GWC’s seventh membership year of impacting Greenwood nonprofits!

GCCF Announces Open Granting Awards, December 2023

GCCF Announces Open Granting Awards, December 2023

Greenwood County Community Foundation GCCF awarded a total of $33,000 to nine local nonprofit organizations in our 2023 Open Granting cycle.

Grant recipients are:

Alston Wilkes Society — re-entry support services for former offenders

Alzheimer’s Association-SC Chapter  — ALZ CARES support and education program

American Red Cross-Upstate SC Chapter — financial assistance following disasters

BSA – Blue Ridge Council  — financial assistance for participation in Scouts

Faith Home  — Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous literature program

Food Bank of Greenwood County — Weekend Backpack Program – Ware Shoals Middle School

Lions Vision Services —Envision Greenwood County program for vision assessment and treatment

Next Level Lifestyles — mentoring program for Next Level youth participants

Tranquility Point — aqua therapy program

Congratulations to each grant recipient organization! Thank you for the many ways you serve and strengthen our community!

Greenwood Women Care logo

GWC 2023 Highlights, December 2023

GWC Highlights 2023

January 23, 2023   GWC Social, “New Year, New Friends”, held at Synergy Counseling of Greenwood, hosted by the Social Committee

February 7, 2023   New Members Soup Supper for new 2023 Members held at the home of Martha Ann Davis to welcome our 13 (now 18!) new members; hosted by the Membership Committee

February 14, 2023 and August 1, 2023   Half-Year Highlight: GWC Biannual Newsletter; edited by the Communications Committee

February 21, 2023   GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Serving the Community Through Safety in Schools”, held at Genesis Education Center and featuring a reception and presentations by Natalie Talbert, Greenwood School District 50 Safety Manager, and Lt. Will Stroup, School Resource Officer; hosted by the Programs & Education and Social Committees

March 13, 2023   GWC Annual Meeting, “GWC: The Place to Be!”, held at Greenwood Community Theatre and Uptown courtyard and featuring a reception, fun and games, door prizes, member testimonials, and the unveiling of Greenwood Women Care: Five Years and Growing, our wonderful and unique history conceived of, composed, and compiled by Laura Stowe, Advisory Board Co-Secretary; hosted by the Advisory Board and Social Committee

April 19, 2023   GWC Women’s 2023 Health Grant of $6,700 awarded to Helping Hands Women’s Organization to assist women receiving treatment for cancer with clothing, wigs, and other needed supplies

May 16, 2023   GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Serving the Community Through the Arts”, held at Greenwood Soup Kitchen and featuring a reception and presentations by Norm Fawcett, Board Chair of Greenwood Soup Kitchen, and Barbara Warner, Greenwood Area Studio Potters; hosted by the Programs & Education and Social Committees

July 13 and 18, 2023   GWC Grants Information Sessions for prospective applicants, held by the Grants Review & Awards Committee

July 25, 2023   Grant Writing 101 workshop for 18 participants from local nonprofits, held at West Side Baptist Church; hosted, prepared and presented by the Grants Review & Awards Committee

August 1 – 31, 2023   GWC 2023 Grant Applications received

August 14, 2023   GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Giving is in Our Genes” held at Greenwood Genetic Center, featuring a reception and our 2022 GWC Grant recipients, and including the premiere of a video produced by Rachel Strayer, Advisory Board Vice Chair, and Caleb Kidd Coy, volunteer, highlighting our grantees and their funded programs and projects; hosted by the Grants Review & Awards and Social Committees

August 29, 2023   New Members Welcome Dinner for our most recent new 2023 Members held at the home of Betty Adams, hosted by the Membership Committee

September 12, 2023   GWC Social, “Two Are Better Than One”, held at Emerald Trading Co.; hosted by the Social Committee

October 1 – 31, 2023   GWC’s Scarecrow, Ms. Carey Givings and the Caring Arms of GWC, on display in Uptown Greenwood; created by the Communications Committee

October 16, 2023   “Kick Off the Vote!” informational social for Members held at Harley Family Center; hosted by the Grants Review & Awards and Social Committees

October 16 – 18, 2023   Member voting on 2023 grant requests by anonymous, ranked, online voting

October 26, 2023   GWC 2023 Grants Announced! $75,000 awarded to 10 local nonprofit organizations

November 14, 2023   GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Serving the Community Through Second Chances”, held at the Arts Center of Greenwood and featuring a reception and presentations by: Jerry Blassingame, Founder and CEO of Soteria Community Development Corporation, and Denise Mock, Community Service Coordinator, Alston Wilkes Society; hosted by the Programs & Education and Social Committees

Also in 2023   GWC presentations in the homes of Betty Adams and Karen Smith and at Ivy Garden Club and Emerald City Rotary Club meetings

December 31, 2023   GWC 2024 renewal due date