Public and private high school students in 10th through 12th grade trade business cards at the first South Carolina Leadership Conference Wednesday at Lander University.

Conference prepares students for success after high school

This originally appeared in the Index-Journal.

Chad Foster was the guest speaker for Greenwood's first South Carolina Leadership Conference Wednesday morning at Lander University.

Chad Foster was the guest speaker for Greenwood’s first South Carolina Leadership Conference Wednesday morning at Lander University.

At 33 years old, Chad Foster sold a business he started as a young adult that turned recycled tires into a soft playground surface, which make up the floors of McDonald’s Playlands around the world.

The Louisiana native spoke to public and private high school students at Lander University on Wednesday about his experience, and how after selling his business at age 33, he had no idea what to do with his life.

“When it happened, I wasn’t very old. I was only 33 years old, and so I wasn’t sure what to do next, because if all of a sudden at 33 you look in the mirror one day and you say, ‘OK, now what do I do?’ That’s not an easy decision to make,” Foster said.

Foster told the students he decided to drive across the country for two years and ask the most successful people he could find what skills they had that made them successful.

About 85 public and private school students in Greenwood County attended the first South Carolina Student Leadership Conference where Foster spoke.

Foster told the students there are four things successful people have in common — passion for their dreams, good communication skills, the ability to get along with people and experience working a part-time job as a teenager.

“When you work part time at your age, you get to meet difficult people, you find yourself in unpleasant situations, you’ve got a boss who’s an idiot (and) you deal with people who are uncomfortable to be around, and that is incredibly valuable training for you,” Foster said. “Seventy percent of all people out there who lose or quit their job do so for one reason… because they can’t get along with people.”

Angelle LaBorde, president and CEO of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber was able to put on the conference because of a grant from the Greenwood County Community Foundation, as well as with help from a host of sponsors.

LaBorde said the intent of the conference was to provide leadership training to high school students because there is a void of programs in the county doing that.

“The purpose of our conference is to offer 21st century leadership skills to Greenwood County high school 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders so they can be productive in college and in their future careers,” LaBorde said.

The idea for the conference stemmed from a lack of leadership development opportunities for youth in the community after the chamber’s BRIDGES program ended in 2007. BRIDGES was an after-school program that got students involved with businesses and agencies in Greenwood.

Jeff Smith, president of the Greenwood County Community Foundation, said his organization has four grant cycles annually and one of them involved youth and education.

“We feel like it’s important that we, as a community, raise up students as young future leaders and sort of expose them early to other leaders and some of the expectations, I guess you would say, of leadership,” Smith said.

Justin Alford, a 10th-grader from Ninety Six High School, said he will take the information he learned at the conference back home with him.

“I like how he told us how successful people think, what we need to be working on and things we can be working on to become successful,” Alford said. “It’s been very interesting in helping me learn more about what I need to be doing, kind of directing me towards college and after.”

Public and private high school students in 10th through 12th grade trade business cards at the first South Carolina Leadership Conference Wednesday at Lander University.

Public and private high school students in 10th through 12th grade trade business cards at the first South Carolina Leadership Conference Wednesday at Lander University.

Students also attended breakout sessions that focused on interviewing skills, career goals and being finance savvy.

LaBorde said the chamber plans to make the conference an annual event, and Foster said it was one of the most organized conferences in which he has participated.

“Unfortunately, many of these skills are no longer learned at home, and so the environment now shifts to the business community and schools to teach young people workplace skills,” Foster said. “They’re going to work, they need workplace skills, and if they don’t learn them and then practice them — which is just as important — then they don’t improve.”

Students in attendance received business cards from community leaders and a free copy of one of Foster’s book, “Financial Literacy for Teens.”

Foster, now 51, wrote three books aimed at helping teenagers with their future careers along with a textbook he co-authored titled “High School 101.” He hosted his own television show on ESPN, “Fly Fishing America” and now travels the country speaking to students.

“I have always believed that if you know something or learn something or understand something, then you have an obligation to share that knowledge, especially with young people,” Foster said. “And often, what someone has to share is not something that might be learned in the classroom.”

GCCF Newsletter – Fall 2016

Download our newsletter from Fall 2016.

This file is a PDF and can be opened on nearly any computer with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

GCCF Sponsors Jammin’ for Genes Barbecue & Music Lawn Festival

GCCF was a music sponsor at the Jammin’ for Genes Barbecue & Music Lawn Festival for 2016. Below is a flier that promoted the September 2016 event.

Healthy Learners recipient of grant

This originally appeared in the Index-Journal.

From left are Jeff Smith, GCCF president; Becky McIntosh, Healthy Learners fund development coordinator; Mary Woodiwiss, GCCF projects and grands manager; and Elaine Copeland, Healthy Learners program manager.

The Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) gave a $5,000 grant to Healthy Learners in support of its services to school-age children in Greenwood County who have medical needs and are without resources to address them. Healthy Learners will host its annual fundraiser, an Adult Spelling Bee, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Emerald High School.

GCCF Grant Cycle Press Release

The Greenwood County Community Foundation will be accepting grant applications October 1-31 for funds to be awarded in the annual Open Granting cycle. Granting guidelines and application information can be found at www.greenwoodcf.org/grants.

To date, 13 area nonprofits have received a combined $90,425 in grants from the Foundation’s Community Impact Grants in this year alone. Awards between $775 and $50,000 (Innovation Grant) were disbursed, for purposes as wide-ranging as: establishing a behavioral therapy center for children with autism; scholastic and life skills training for young women in crisis; art, science, water safety, and music enrichment programs for children and youth; outreach stage performances; medical resources for school-age children with limited means; and a high school student leadership conference.

In its five year granting history, GCCF has allocated more than $2 million in grants, primarily for projects and programs in Greenwood County.

In the most recent granting cycle, Community Enhancement, funding was approved for community enrichment, service, and outreach projects through the Arts Council of Greenwood County, Festiva, Greenwood Community Theatre, Greenwood Festival Chorale, Greenwood Performing Arts, and Healthy Learners.

GCIF receives grant

This originally appeared in the Index-Journal.

The Greenwood County Community Foundation awarded a $3,000 grant to the Greenwood County Community Improvement Foundation to help establish a South Carolina Student Leadership Conference. This will be an approach to serving Greenwood County high school students, grades 10 through 12, interested in developing leadership skills to advance their future careers. The conference will be Sept. 28 at Lander University. Here, members of the Student Leadership Conference Planning Committee stand with an enlarged donation check.

A Place for Us check presentation

A Place for Us Check Presentation

Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) recently awarded a $3,300 grant to “A Place for Us” to support its learning center for APFU residents. The program ministers to the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of young women facing crisis situations.

From left are: Jeff Smith, GCCF President; Kathy Osborne, Learning Center Coordinator; Tammie Price, A Place for Us Founder and Executive Director; Nancy Manning, Administrative Assistant; Mary Woodiwiss, GCCF Projects & Grants Manager.

Greenwood County Community Foundation awarded a $2,000 Youth and Education Grant to the United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties for the purchase of 550 book bags for its annual Stuff the Bus campaign. This project helps purchase and distribute school supplies to children in need. This year’s event is from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Magnolia Park Aug. 13.

GCCF awards grand to purchase back packs

This originally appeared in the Index-Journal.

Greenwood County Community Foundation awarded a $2,000 Youth and Education Grant to the United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties for the purchase of 550 book bags for its annual Stuff the Bus campaign. This project helps purchase and distribute school supplies to children in need. This year’s event is from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Magnolia Park Aug. 13.

From left are Jeff Smith, GCCF president; Mary Woodiwiss, GCCF projects and grants manager, and Rachel Blair, United Way director of finance and coordinator of Stuff the Bus.

Greenwood County Community Foundation awarded a $2,000 Youth and Education Grant to the United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties for the purchase of 550 book bags for its annual Stuff the Bus campaign. This project helps purchase and distribute school supplies to children in need. This year’s event is from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Magnolia Park Aug. 13.

GCCF awards grant to YMCA

From left are: Sen. Floyd Nicholson, Gray Stallworth, YMCA executive director; GCCF projects and grants manager Mary Woodiwiss; Allison Mundy YMCA aquatics coordinator; Sondi Creglow YMCA senior program director, Jonathan Bass YMCA director of development and Jeff Smith GCCF president.

Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) awarded a $4,300 grant to the Greenwood Family YMCA to support its “Safety Around Water” program. The program targets kids, especially minority and underserved populations who are statistically at a higher risk of drowning.

Mary Kathryne Elliot, center, annual fund and grants manager for the SC Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics, accepts a check from the Greenwood County Community Foundation in support of CREATEng Engineering Camp.

GCCF donates to CREATEng

Mary Kathryne Elliot, center, annual fund and grants manager for the SC Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics, accepts a check from the Greenwood County Community Foundation in support of CREATEng Engineering Camp.Mary Kathryne Elliot, center, annual fund and grants manager for the SC Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics, accepts a check from the Greenwood County Community Foundation in support of CREATEng Engineering Camp.

CREATEng serves 60 Greenwood students, and is operated by the Governor’s School at Lander University.

The public is invited to attend the closing showcase of CREATEng Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in Room LC200 of the Carnell Learning Center on the Lander Campus. Presenting the check on behalf of GCCF are Jeff Smith, executive director, and Mary Woodiwiss, right, projects and grants manager.