2019 Philanthropy Award Recipients

Videos presented at GCCF’s annual ‘Celebrating A Giving Community’ Awards Gala honoring the ‘Spirit of Philanthropy,’ ‘Lifetime of Philanthropy,’ and Duke Energy ‘Citizenship and Service’ recipients.

The Community Foundation Grants for the Good of Greenwood

The Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) recently awarded $26,000 in grants to ten nonprofit organizations in Greenwood County in its Youth & Education granting cycle. Recipients are Alston Wilkes Society, Bowers-Rodgers Children’s Home, Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Community Initiatives, Greenwood Family Y, Healthy Learners, A Place for Us, La Puerta de Esperanza, SC Governors’ School of Science and Mathematics, and the United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties. All funding awards will support programs and projects that directly benefit residents of Greenwood County.

A diverse committee of community members reviews GCCF grant applications and funding determinations are finalized by the GCCF Board of Directors.

Applications for the GCCF Community Enhancement grant cycle will be received during the month of June, with awards to be given in August.

Since its founding in 2012, GCCF has awarded more than $2.5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.

This announcement was published in the Index-Journal on 5.2.2017.

2016 Open Granting Cycle Grant Awards Announced

The Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) awarded grants to nine nonprofit organizations in Greenwood County in their recent Open Granting cycle. Recipients are: Aviation Expo, Beyond Abuse, Community Initiatives, Greater Greenwood United Ministries, Meg’s House, The Museum, Ninety Six National Historic Site, Salvation Army, and the SC Festival of Flowers.

In 2016 alone, 21 area nonprofits have received a combined $115,425 in grants from the Foundation’s Community Impact Grants. Donor Advised and Designated Funds held by GCCF account for substantial support of many area nonprofits as well. These contributions totaled nearly $260,000 this year.

In its five year granting history, GCCF has allocated more than $2.5 million in grants, primarily for projects and programs in Greenwood County.

Andrews Family Moves into First House Built By Lander Chapter of Habitat for Humanity

This was originally published by GwdToday.com.

Christmas came early for Wendi Andrews and her children, Miracle and Chance, when they were handed the keys to the first house built by the Lander University chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Andrews, speaking during the Sunday, Dec. 11, dedication service, called the opportunity to own her own home “a dream come true.”

Posing on the front porch of the house, located in Kirksey Forest subdivision, are, from left, Sonny Nodine, residence life coordinator at Lander; Erin Garland, coordinator of Registered Student Organizations at Lander and adviser of the Lander chapter of Habitat for Humanity; Andy Benoit, Lander vice president for Enrollment and Access Management; Miracle Andrews; Chase Andrews; Mary Woodiwiss, grants administrator for Greenwood County Community Foundation; Wendi Andrews; and Chad Charles, executive director of the Greenwood-Abbeville chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

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.”

Community Foundation grants benefit Greenwood

This piece was originally published by the Index-Journal.

The Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) awarded $25,000 in grants to local organizations serving residents of Greenwood County. Receiving funds during the Foundation’s Open Granting cycle were Faith Home, Food Bank of Greenwood County, Greenwood Pathway House, Piedmont Agency on Aging, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, The Salvation Army and Greenwood County School District 51.

GCCF’s Youth and Education cycle begins in February, with grant applications to be accepted the entire month. Each of the four foundation granting cycles (Youth and Education, Innovation, Community Enhancement, and Open Granting) has specific criteria, outlined on the GCCF website (www.greenwoodcf.org). Application materials are available on the website. Submission deadlines for 2016 are: Youth and Education, Feb. 29; Innovation, April 30 (tentative); Community Enhancement, June 30; Open Granting, Oct. 31.

Merrill Joins Community Foundation Board

Linda Dolny, Chair of the Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) Board of Directors announced recently that Jane Merrill had been accepted as its newest member.

A Greenwood native and local attorney, Merrill is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of the University of South Carolina where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Juris Doctor. She clerked for the late Circuit Court Judge Wyatt T. Saunders, Jr., and has litigated cases in both civil and criminal courts.

Jane opened Hawthorne Merrill Law in 2013. She practices adoption and assisted reproductive technology law, criminal law, and represents Veterans before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, D.C.

Jane actively participates in her church community at The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. She enjoys playing mandolin and performing in community theater productions.

Jane is married to Albert Merrill and they have two bright and spirited daughters.

According to Dolny, Merrill represents a transition in the makeup of the Foundation’s Board. “Our current Board consists of individuals who were instrumental in getting GCCF up and running, and very successful, in a short period of time. These are true community leaders, people of vision who have made a tremendous impact. Jane is part of a new generation of Greenwood leaders who will step in as these current leaders begin to transition off of the Board.”

Foundation Refocusing on Greenwood Gives

This piece was originally published by the Index-Journal.

Mary Woodiwiss, left, and Jeff Smith of the Greenwood County Community Foundation are spearheading the effort to revitalize the foundation supported website Greenwood Gives. Greenwood Gives allows people to donate to local, specific projects online.

With the hopes of introducing the community to nonprofits, the Greenwood County Community Foundation is revitalizing the Greenwood Gives website.

Jeff Smith, Greenwood County Community Foundation president and CEO, said the website’s focus is primarily on smaller projects such as furnishing a room as a children’s center.

The website is already in place and has been used to fully fund 13 projects ranging from $250 to $1,500.

Smith said Greenwood Gives saves the more in-depth grant process for larger projects instead of smaller projects.

“It allows them to think bigger later on,” he said.

Visit the Greenwood Gives website at greenwoodgives.org.

The Greenwood County Community Foundation supports the website and PayPal portal, but the organizations are responsible for reaching out for support to fully fund the project within 90 days. All donations are direct, online donations and are not granted by GCCF.

The projects have a maximum budget of $3,000, and the organizations must submit an application, including a project description and details to GCCF. If a project is not fully funded in 90 days, the donations will be disbursed through GCCF’s general granting category for projects closely related to the underfunded project.

Mary Woodiwiss, Greenwood County Community Foundation projects and grants manager, said Greenwood Gives is a good way to encourage the community to become more aware of possibilities for helping nonprofits.

“I think it really serves everybody involved,” she said.

Operating as a way to let the community what the nonprofits are working on as well as nonprofits learning what other organizations are doing, Greenwood Gives allows people to donate to projects focused on five categories: youth, art and culture, education, human and health services and alternate causes.

Smith said it also lets the organizations learn more about their donor bases to help fund future projects.

GGCF is working on a soft launch for the beginning of 2016 by reaching out to boards and organizations. The site will officially launch when about five projects are approved.

Woodiwiss said the reaction has been positive so far.

“I think people will be pleased to know that’s an option, and people who have used it before successfully are very likely to come and post other projects,” she said.