Ball4Good Presents Gift to Boys and Girls Club and Establishes a Fund at the Foundation

Adom Appiah, a seventh-grade student at Spartanburg Day School and founder of Ball4Good, presented a check to Boys and Girls Clubs of the Upstate today. On March 26, 2017, Ball4Good held its first Celebrity Basketball Tournament with the help of several community volunteers, sponsors, and his mentor Mary Thomas, chief operating officer of The Spartanburg County Foundation. The event featured local celebrities including Spartanburg Day School junior Zion Williamson. The event drew a crowd of 800 individuals and raised over $7,600 for Boys and Girls Clubs of the Upstate.

Appiah founded Ball4Good as part of the Day School’s 20 Time Project. Ball4Good’s mission is to support nonprofits and the community through ball tournaments. The Celebrity Basketball Tournament was the first of many fundraising events to be held by Ball4Good. Appiah will organize four fundraising events each year to benefit nonprofits devoted to youth development and homelessness.

Ball4Good has established a fund at The Spartanburg County Foundation to help Appiah fulfill his philanthropic activities. The Spartanburg County Foundation has awarded a $1,000 Just Because grant to the Fund.

“Because of the tremendous outpouring of community support, The Spartanburg County Foundation wanted to help Adom perpetuate his goals by establishing the fund,” said Mary Thomas. “The community foundation exists to allow individuals of all ages fulfill their charitable endeavors.”

Building The Ball4Good Fund is key for Adom’s success. He has secured $4,500 for the Ball4Good fund to date. Anyone interested in supporting Ball4Good may donate here.

Gloria Close Receives the 2017 Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership & Community Change

Spartanburg educator Gloria Close recognized for work helping families living in motels

By Alyssa Mulliger, Staff Writer, Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
The Spartanburg County Foundation recognized Gloria Close as the recipient of the 2017 Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change at the foundation’s annual meeting Tuesday evening.

The award honors individuals who are not typically in the limelight but who perform valuable public service at the community level.

Close, an educator with Spartanburg School District 7, was selected to receive the award for her efforts to help families who live in Spartanburg-area motels.

“These motels are not the Marriott — there is no restaurant, no room service, no sauna,” Close said. “These are the least expensive rooms anywhere, rooms that have not seen renovations or new mattresses in 30 years. Often, incidents of drug use, prostitution and domestic violence are simply part of the life seen by these children and their parents.”

Close knew about families who live permanently in motel rooms around the country, but it wasn’t until she saw it firsthand in Spartanburg and got to know the families that she felt she needed to take action.

Close is the founder of C.A.S.T. (Care, Accept, Share, Teach), a program that aims to alleviate poverty by facilitating self-sufficiency. The program is what Close calls an “initiative for the forgotten.”

Through the program, Close and a team of volunteers provide families with groceries and meals, offer a three-week educational summer camp for the children and assist the parents in finding employment and affordable housing.

Pauline Morrison, a woman who has lived at a Spartanburg motel with her family, thanked Close in a video played during the award announcement.

“Now I feel more hopeful for the future, for my kids especially,” Morrison said in the video. “I see a brighter future for them now.”

District 7 Superintendent Russell Booker also praised Close for her work in the community.

“We have 260 kids classified as homeless in our school district alone,” Booker said in the video. “Gloria has really brought to light the challenges that these young people face.”

Since its start in 2015, C.A.S.T. has helped four families move out of motels and into permanent housing. Close’s award included a $5,000 grant, which she intends to use to further the work of C.A.S.T.

“(Children) will be told that they matter and that they can do something with their lives. They can change the direction of their lives,” Close said. “They will no longer be invisible.”

 

Watch the video below to learn more about Gloria’s work with C.A.S.T.

Spartanburg County Criminal Justice Youth Institute

Spartanburg students eager to delve into justice system

By Allison M. Roberts, www.goupstate.com

High school students from Spartanburg and their parents gathered Thursday night to help launch the Spartanburg County Criminal Justice Youth Institute.

The program is a collaboration between the Spartanburg County clerk of court and the Spartanburg County Foundation. The foundation is providing support for the program and a $15,000 matching grant.

The students who are participating will go through four sessions that introduce them to different areas of local government. They’ll have sessions at Spartanburg City Hall, the Spartanburg County Detention Center, the Sheriff’s Office and the courthouse.

Clerk of court Hope Blackley said she hopes the participants will come away with a positive view of the criminal justice system.

“That’s my goal for them,” Blackley said.

Mary Thomas, chief operating office with the Spartanburg County Foundation, said she wants the students to gain a deeper understanding of the criminal justice system. Ultimately, she hopes their exposure to law enforcement, attorneys and other professionals will spur their interest in a career in the field.

“We hope they get to have a clear understanding of how the system works, because there is so much in social media and in the media in general that portrays it in such a negative light,” Thomas said. “We want to build a community, and the young people is where we have to start.”

David Goodson, 18, a Broome High School student, is an aspiring politician, which is what inspired him to take part in the program. Goodson said politics is an exciting field, and he’s hoping his experiences in the criminal justice youth institute will help prepare him for that.

Goodson said he’s especially looking forward to being in the courtroom. He wants to see the “law and order” of the system and the challenges judges face while trying to make decisions.

Ameera Surka, 16, from Spartanburg Day School, is also looking forward to observing court proceedings.

The criminal justice system and its inner workings are interesting, Surka said, and she’s looking forward to learning more. She said she hopes when the program is over, she can educate people about the criminal justice system and dispel some of the misconceptions.

“Not many people under the age of 18 are going to be able to see things like that because we can’t do jury duty,” Surka said. “I’m really excited to be part of this.”

Sara Hawkins, 16, from Chapman High School, is planning for a career in law enforcement when she’s older. She’s given some thought to being a homicide detective and is eager to see how each branch of local government works.

Like Surka, she wants to leave the program with enough knowledge about the process to educate people who may distrust law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

“I think nowadays law enforcement has a negative view,” Hawkins said. “That’s really disappointing to me, because to me, it’s about making a difference and making the world a better place. I think the biggest thing that will come out of this is people seeing that a lot of these people seriously want to help other people and change the world for the better.”

Welcome Bert Barre, New Trustee!

bert-barreThe Spartanburg County Foundation is pleased to announce the election of Bert D. Barre to the Board of Trustees for a term of seven years.

Mr. Barre is a graduate of Spartanburg High School and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Washington and Lee University. Currently, he serves as a principal of Colonial Trust Company. Colonial Trust is a privately owned trust company and wealth management firm with offices in Spartanburg, Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston and has over $1 billion in assets under advisement.

Mr. Barre brings expertise in finance and accounting to The Spartanburg County Foundation Board of Trustees. He previously worked as an Equity Research Analyst at Wachovia Securities, Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Barre was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation by the Association of Investment Management and Research® (now CFA Society®) in 2003 and the Certified Trust Financial Advisor® designation by the Institute of Certified Bankers in 2004.

Barre has served on Fidelity Investments’ Trustee Referral Program Advisory Committee and is a graduate of Leadership Spartanburg. He has served on several boards including the Chapman Cultural Center, the Spartanburg Little Theatre, Spartanburg Community College Foundation, Pine Street School Foundation, TOTAL Ministries, and the Rotary Club of Spartanburg. He has also served as Deacon and Elder at First Presbyterian Church Spartanburg.

Bert and his wife Katherine have three children – Sallie (11), Martha (9), and Dixon (6). When he’s not working and keeping up with three children, Bert enjoys Clemson sports, fitness, and any outdoor activity.

Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance

Interfaith Alliance Logo Final
Background
The Spartanburg Community Thanksgiving Service has provided an annual opportunity for people of faith to gather together in celebration and gratitude for over fifteen years. Following the 2013 Service, a group of Foundation staff and clergy met to discuss how the faith community could come together more than once a year. The group researched various faith community networks and formed the Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance in 2014.


The Purpose
The Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance is a network of clergy, lay leaders, and faith communities joining together for the purpose of contributing to the common good. The Alliance was formed as a partnership between area clergy and The Spartanburg County Foundation. In 2016, the Alliance began hosting an annual program of events focused on different community issues and opportunities to connect and serve together. A schedule of Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance Meetings is listed below.


The Goal
The central goal of The Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance is to serve as a resource hub for community engagement and create a network to leverage the faith community and its many assets to meet the needs of the greater Spartanburg County community.


The Compassion Fund
In 2014, the Alliance established The Kirk H. Neely Spartanburg County Compassion Fund to honor the Reverend Dr. Kirk H. Neely for his instrumental work in uniting the faith community to charitably and collectively meet the needs of worthy causes through the offerings collected each year at the Spartanburg Community Thanksgiving Service. The Alliance is currently working to build this fund and has not yet reached the point of awarding grants. Once fully funded, The Compassion Fund will award grants to faith-based and community-based organizations meeting the immediate needs of the poor in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. This access to additional resources will provide the Alliance the opportunity to come together to meet needs in the Spartanburg community. If you would like to contribute to the Compassion Fund, click “Give Now” on the left side of the screen and type in “Compassion Fund.” All contributions are tax-deductible.

 

Are you interested in becoming a part of the Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance?

Join us at any of the 2017 Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance Meetings!  Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance 2017 Schedule

OR

Please click here to download a partnership form and mail it to “Attention: Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance, The Spartanburg County Foundation, 424 E. Kennedy Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302.”  Please call The Spartanburg County Foundation office if you have any questions at (864) 582.0138.