Spartanburg Receives National Recognition as a Winner of the 2018 Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Council on Foundations announced today the 2018 winners of the Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. The awards are given to place-based funders for initiatives that recognize exemplary partnerships between foundations and government that have been critical in transforming communities and improving lives. The Spartanburg County Foundation is recognized as one of 10 award winners for the work being done through the Northside Initiative.

The Spartanburg County Foundation, along with the Mary Black Foundation, applied for the award to demonstrate the effective public and private partnerships formed around the Northside Initiative. The Northside Initiative, led by the Northside Development Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit community development corporation, is an effort to fundamentally transform a 400-acre, once blighted and forgotten neighborhood into a sought-after community of choice. The Northside Development Group and its many community partners have and continue to work toward a shared vision – to create a vibrant cradle to career education pipeline, affordable housing options, and a stable, safe, and healthy environment that supports all stages of life through comprehensive social and community services.

“It’s exciting for the community to receive national recognition for a public and private partnership that is making such a huge difference,” said Bill Barnet, CEO and Board Chair of the Northside Development Group.

From the onset of the project, the Northside Development Group formed public and private partnerships with neighborhood residents, government agencies, local businesses, healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and the philanthropic sector – partnerships that continue to remain strong eight years after the project’s initiation.

“It’s this collaborative approach to service that will lead us to find solutions to help the most vulnerable in our communities,” Secretary Ben Carson said. “I’m pleased to recognize these award winners for the important work they do to serve the housing, health, safety, and educational needs of their fellow Americans.”

This year’s winners were presented today by Secretary Carson as part of an event at HUD Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The winners of the 2018 Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships are:
• Anthem Foundation
• Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation
• Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
• The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
• Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
• The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and The Leonard & Helen R. Stulman Foundation
• Michael Reese Health Trust and Polk Bros. Foundation
• Rasmuson Foundation
• The Spartanburg County Foundation
• U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities

“The cross-sector partnerships demonstrated among the winners of this year’s awards highlight the power of collaboration,” said Gene Cochrane, interim president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. “Through innovative, bold ideas and unique partnerships, these foundations are shining examples of philanthropy’s ability to promote the common good.” To learn more about 2018 winners and their initiatives, visit:


The Spartanburg County Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging community engagement and responding to community needs. Established in 1943, The Spartanburg County Foundation is the oldest community foundation in South Carolina. Additional information about the Foundation is available at

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available at and You can also connect with HUD on social media or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.

The Spartanburg County Foundation Recognizes 75 Years of Impact in Spartanburg County

For 75 years, The Spartanburg County Foundation has been committed to improving the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging community engagement, and responding to community needs.

We invite you to join us throughout the year as we share impact stories, present new and unique grantmaking opportunities, and offer exciting outreach programs in recognition of this milestone.

Visit our special 75th Anniversary website for more details on the total impact of the Foundation and its donors.

Thank you for your generosity, support, and partnership!


Citizen Scholars Receives $7,400 OneSpartanburg Grant

The Citizen Scholars Institute was awarded a $7,400 grant from OneSpartanburg Tuesday, June 26, 2018, during the second annual Citizen Scholars Summit at the Spartanburg Community College Downtown Campus. The grant will be used to allow all eighth-graders enrolled in Citizen Scholars to participate in a yearlong robot building course as part of the group’s Seminar Saturdays program.

“The Citizen Scholars STEM Seminar directly addresses low educational attainment within underrepresented students in Spartanburg as identified in the OneSpartanburg plan,” Betsy Sikma, the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s vice president for talent and economic inclusion, said in a statement.  “We recognize that in order to raise standards to develop our homegrown talent to be the best and brightest they can be, we have to start with high-impact programs like this one.”

Citizen Scholars has more than 200 children and teens from Spartanburg County public schools enrolled in its program, which helps the students develop the attitudes and skills to reach their college and career goals.

Building an Inclusive Economy

We were pleased to partner with the Council on Foundations to host the first Inclusive Economic Prosperity Convening in the South May 23rd-24th.  Over 125 leaders from across the country gathered at Milliken and Company’s global headquarters to engage in dialogue and discussion around philanthropy’s role in creating a healthy, innovative, and equitable economy.  Learn more about the subject matter experts and review resources on the full line up of topics.  Click here to view photos from this significant convening.

Read more about why Spartanburg hosted this important regional/national convening in the article below written by Mary Thomas, Chief Operating Officer of The Spartanburg County Foundation.

By Mary Thomas
Chief Operating Officer
The Spartanburg County Foundation

Our economic landscape today looks very different than it did 25 years ago. This pattern of change will inevitably continue as technological advancements are rapidly introduced to the world.

To adapt to this new landscape, foundations must be willing to shift and evolve with the changing communities we serve. Seventy-five years ago, our founder— Walter Scott Montgomery—had a vision of introducing community philanthropy to Spartanburg County to meet the needs of the entire area. His vision began with a $10,000 investment that has evolved into a $213 million philanthropic organization that is continuously working to improve the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging local engagement, and responding to community needs.

A great thought leader in our community, Roger Milliken, lived by this motto, “Innovate or die.” Community institutions would do well to live by those words to ensure that our organizations continue to think ahead and maximize community impact by deploying innovative solutions to the issues facing our region. The success that the Spartanburg County Foundation has seen over the years is partly because of its ability to look ahead, remain flexible, and change when necessary to address local issues.

This is an exciting time for Spartanburg. Last year, our county was selected to participate in Manpower Development Corp.’s (MDC) Network for Southern Economic Mobility, which focuses on building pathways of prosperity for low-income young people between the ages of 14 and 24, by deepening, accelerating, and aligning strategic investments for systemic change. Because of our focus on this important topic, we are pleased to partner with the Council on Foundations in hosting the first Inclusive Economic Prosperity Convening in the South on May 23-24 in Spartanburg. We are happy to see the region setting the context for future national discussions that will take place over the next two years.

During the convening, funders of all types will gather together to explore how philanthropy can be a driving force that promotes broad prosperity. The robust program that will be presented will explore idea exchanges with both peers and subject matter experts on topics such as community leadership, impact investing, resource alignment, and competitive talent development.
Economic mobility is inextricably linked with economic prosperity and is the common thread that helps to propel communities forward. We believe that continued education around these issues is necessary at both the staff and board levels and this convening is designed for both audiences. Register your staff and board members today. You don’t want to miss this opportunity for innovative idea-sharing and peer-expert learning!



Pictured from Left to Right: Katherine Goble Moore, Joylette Goble Hylick, and Mary Thomas speaking at Determined to Rise, May 30th at the Chapman Cultural Center

Determined to Rise, presented by Breakfast Business and Professional Women of Spartanburg in partnership with The Spartanburg County Foundation, was a powerful evening of inspirational storytelling.

Over 200 guests heard stories from local women, like Susan Lea and Tammie Hoy Hawkins, who spoke about the importance of education for all ages and breaking stereotypes. Special guests Katherine Goble Moore and Joylette Goble Hylick, daughters of famed NASA scientist, Katherine Johnson, delivered inspiring dialogue about strength, perseverance, and science and math education.  Learn More

Additionally, the Goble sisters visited students in Districts Six and Seven to challenge them to develop a passion for math and science.  Click here to view photos from all three events!

Proceeds from the community event benefited the Spartanburg Breakfast Business and Professional Women Club Scholarship Fund held at The Spartanburg County Foundation.

Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance – A Pilgrimage of Peoples

Forty Spartanburg residents from various faith groups embarked on a Pilgrimage of Peoples to Washington, D.C., on April 15th.  This four-day interfaith trip,  hosted by the Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance in partnership with The Spartanburg County Foundation, was designed to foster greater understanding between faiths and create a greater sense of community.  Participants visited the Holocaust Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Museum of the Native American.  Read the first-hand experience of Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz of Temple B’nai Israel below.


A Pilgrim of Peoples Reflection by Rabbi Yossi J. Liebowitz D.D.

In these divisive times, it is more than noteworthy when a contingent of the faithful join in an effort to promote understanding and unity. Over two millennia ago, the Psalmist wrote: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133) Such was the intent and successful pilgrimage of forty members of the religious community in mid-April 2018. A gathering of ministers of different faiths, lay leaders and youth left Spartanburg one Sunday rainy afternoon and headed to the nation’s capital. More than an adventure, this pilgrimage to three special museums facilitated a common effort to further understanding of one another’s pains and joys. The pilgrimage made possible visits to the United States Holocaust Museum, the Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian. Additionally, their tour included some short visits to national sites like the Capitol Dome and most importantly to the Martin Luther King Memorial.

Each day ended with personal reflections and exchanges during a dinner at two Presbyterian churches. The honest and informative conversations provided new insights and appreciation of the common struggles of different faiths and peoples, their wants, hurts and joys. They learned that they have more in common and less than what separates them.

The three day pilgrimage culminated in a visit to Senator Graham’s office in which a conversation took place with the Senator and his Colleagues Senator Tim Scott and Representative Trey

Gowdy. Well suited to the conversation was the Congressman’s discussion of his new book Unity co-written by Senator Scott. For the young people especially, this positive encounter with their government’s representatives formed what was surely a lasting impression. While the trip began by contending with rainy weather it concluded with one and all bringing back light, knowledge, and a renewed sense of optimism in humanity or in short much needed sunshine of the heart.

Read more from the participants!  Want more information?  Click here to read the news article from the group’s departure from Spartanburg.  Click here to view the complete Pilgrimage of Peoples photo gallery.