Tara Jane Weese is the Director of Grants and Initiatives at The Spartanburg County Foundation. Ms. Weese is responsible for overseeing and implementing the Foundation’s grant making program and community leadership activities. She develops strategies for the Foundation’s community leadership activities, establishes and maintains relationships with area not-for-profit organizations and donors. Ms. Weese also leads the Foundation’s special initiatives and participates in collaborative projects and works to ensure that the Foundation’s annual program of work is effectively carried out while working closely with the executive management team, staff, the board of trustees, and volunteers.
Ms. Weese joined The Spartanburg County Foundation in 2011 as the Communications and Donor Engagement Officer and transitioned into her current role as the Director of Grants and Initiatives in 2013. Prior to her service with The Spartanburg County Foundation, Ms. Weese and her husband lived in Chicago where she provided development and donor services expertise to The Anti-Cruelty Society, a comprehensive humane society. Ms. Weese managed The Society’s giving programs, cultivated relationships with donors and prospects, and implemented new processes to promote fundraising and increase donor satisfaction.
Prior to relocating to Chicago, Ms. Weese spent several years in the community foundation sector, where she served as the Director of Communications and Development for the Midland Area Community Foundation in Midland, MI. During this time, Ms. Weese worked with individuals, professional advisors, and nonprofit organizations to establish and maintain funds; developed and managed production of marketing materials to support fund development, grants and other initiatives; provided public relations oversight for the Foundation; and developed and published the Foundation’s annual report and electronic/print newsletters.
Ms. Weese attended Evangel University where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism, a double minor in Advertising/Public Relations and Biblical Studies, and a concentration in Social Sciences. During her senior year, Ms. Weese spent a semester at the Focus on the Family Institute in Colorado Springs, CO.
Ms. Weese is very passionate about being involved in the community and has served in a number of leadership and volunteer roles. While in Chicago, Ms. Weese volunteered for Gilda’s Club Chicago, as well as coached 5th grade volleyball for Sacred Heart Schools. Ms. Weese has also coached volleyball for high school girls, coordinated young women’s retreats, and served in various leadership roles within her church.
Within the last few years, Ms. Weese has become very involved in working with horses and disabled children. In 2010, Ms. Weese provided consulting services to Dream Catcher Therapy Center and End of the Trail Horse Rescue in Colorado. During this time, Ms. Weese was also involved in their equine-assisted psychotherapy program. Working with the horses and seeing the transformation in the children left a deep impression on Ms. Weese’s life. Currently, Ms. Weese volunteers with H.A.L.T.E.R. (Handicapped Athletes Learning To Enjoy Riding) where she offers her time working with individuals of all ages and assisting in their therapeutic riding program.
Ms. Weese is a member of the Council on Foundations, Leadership Midland Alumni Association, and Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society. Her past memberships include the Association of Fundraising Professionals (International and Chicago Clubs), Donors Forum, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, ROCK Youth Center (Board Member), Midland Morning Rotary Club and Rotary International, and the Council of Michigan Foundations.
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