A Special Message from Wes Moore

The Spartanburg County Foundation would like to share an important message from
New York Times Bestselling Author Wes Moore.


Good afternoon, Spartanburg!

I hope all is well and you are getting ready to enjoy a restful and relaxing Labor Day weekend. We as a family are coming off of a fantastic summer and the kids are getting ready to start school. Mia (5) is now a kindergartener, starting her new school and James (2) is in his second year at Pre-K. I continue to be the most blessed husband and father around!

"An Evening with Wes Moore," Cornerstone Baptist Church, March 8, 2016

“An Evening with Wes Moore,” Cornerstone Baptist Church, March 8, 2016

“An Evening with Wes Moore,” Cornerstone Baptist Church, March 8, 2016
I am also writing to share a few professional updates as Fall approaches. A few months ago I was honored that Oprah Winfrey selected my book The Work to be featured on her show Super Soul Sunday. This Sunday, Sept 4, the show will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). My conversation with Oprah will focus on my book, which you helped make a New York Times Bestseller, as well as our work at BridgeEdU. I am thankful for the chance to sit down with her to share more about the work we are doing and the challenges we strive to solve.

And speaking of BridgeEdU, we are incredibly excited to have just started our most recent school year. As you are aware, BridgeEdU was founded to address the college completion crises by creating technologies and hybrid services that resolve the main obstacles preventing students from persisting in college. Our initial platform has grown from a small pilot group of students to this year where we will serve hundreds of students, with close to 20 employees, and we are very excited about both our efficacy and tremendous growth prospects going forward. Our next product, a financial aid technology platform named “YesU” is targeted to launch next month and is already generating real buzz and excitement. You will hear more about both soon, but you can learn more at www.bridgeedu.com.

Finally, a third way we are looking to raise awareness about the education challenge is through film, and I am excited to Executive Produce (alongside my mom!) a documentary entitled “All The Difference” which will have its national premiere on PBS on Sept 12. The film follows two African American young men as they graduate from high school and try to navigate higher education. The persistence problem in higher education is real, and we want to shed a light on the topic and generate a national dialogue that moves us to action.

Thank you for your consistent love and support. I could not be more grateful.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!


Foundation Grants Land to City of Spartanburg Along Mary Black Rail Trail

In 1949, The Spartanburg County Foundation received title to a 2.3-acre tract of land on South Pine Street from what was then the Spartanburg County Children’s Home. The vacant tract, situated across the street from the entrance of Crystal Drive, is a crucial greenspace adjacent to the popular Mary Black Rail Trail. The space provides an important buffer between the trail and South Pine Street. Today, the parcel is valued at $100,000.

On August 18, 2016, The Spartanburg County Foundation granted the property to the City of Spartanburg in order to aid in the enhancement of the Rail Trail. While city officials report there are no immediate plans for the parcel, having it under city control is important.

“We are very grateful to The Spartanburg County Foundation, its executive team, and its board for this important contribution,” said City Manager Ed Memmott. “We have an incredible amount of momentum in Spartanburg today, and everywhere you look, The Spartanburg County Foundation is playing a crucial role in moving our community forward. This particular contribution will further strengthen the future of our City’s most popular recreational amenity, ensuring that thousands of our residents are able to live healthier, happier lives.”

The Rail Trail is the most-used recreational amenity in the City of Spartanburg, with approximately 70,000 annual users, and it is an important connector between several neighborhoods and businesses.

“The Spartanburg County Foundation is honored to play a part in the development of our community. We are proud to partner with the City of Spartanburg, and it is our hope that this grant will improve the lives of Spartanburg County residents by providing a versatile space that will help further develop the Mary Black Rail Trail,” said Troy Hanna, President and CEO of The Spartanburg County Foundation.

2015 Annual Reports are Available!

The Spartanburg County Foundation recently released its 2015 Annual Report entitled Shaping Community, Defining Philanthropy.  Click below to view an online version or request one by mail.  Contact Caroline Goodman, Communications Officer, at (864) 582.0138 or cgoodman@spcf.org to receive your copy of the 2015 Annual Report today!


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The Spartanburg County Foundation Awards More Than $87,000 to Eight Nonprofit Organizations

The Spartanburg County Foundation awarded $87,931 in grants to 8 nonprofit organizations working to improve the overall well-being of Spartanburg County residents – Adult Learning Center, Inc.; City of Spartanburg; Hope Remains Youth Ranch; Mental Health America of Spartanburg County; Mobile Meal Service of Spartanburg County, Inc.; Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of Spartanburg Foundation, Inc.; New Day, Inc. of Spartanburg; and South Carolina Hunters and Land Owners for the Hungry.  Recipients were recognized at an awards ceremony Thursday, May 12, 2016, at The Spartanburg County Foundation.

Each year, The Spartanburg County Foundation trustees set an unrestricted budget from the Community Fund and a partnership of other funds to award responsive grants to nonprofit organizations and institutions providing services to the residents of Spartanburg County.

Having awarded nearly $140 million in grants since its inception, the Foundation’s President and CEO Troy Hanna, shared, “The funds granted today will benefit the essential work of these eight nonprofits, will further programs, and help fulfill their missions. We are proud to partner with these organizations that will make a lasting impact on the residents of Spartanburg County and that serve six of the Community Indicators: Education, Economy, Social Environment, Public Health, Civic Health, and Cultural Vitality. ”

1. Adult Learning Center, Inc.
Adult Learning Center, Inc., is the recipient of a $14,196 grant to establish a digital marketing campaign to reach students, volunteers, donors, and the community as a whole. This project has two main components, which involve search engine and social media optimization.

2. City of Spartanburg
The City of Spartanburg is the recipient of a $15,000 grant to implement Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, a collaborative, neighborhood-based art-making process that will enhance community policing and public safety efforts aligned with the annual National Night Out program. The grant will specifically be used for the educational, training, and community engagement components of the project.

3. Hope Remains Youth Ranch
Hope Remains Youth Ranch is the recipient of a $4,000 challenge grant to implement Project Hope, an after-school program that focuses on at-risk, behavioral, and trauma based youth in Spartanburg County. This program contains character education, life skills, mentoring, and equine therapy components. The grant will specifically be used for volunteer/mentor training, equine therapy, and educational supplies.

4. Mental Health America of Spartanburg County
Mental Health America of Spartanburg County is the recipient of a $7,000 grant to implement Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour certification course that educates participants on mental illness, reduces stigma, and provides suicide prevention training.

5. Mobile Meal Service of Spartanburg County, Inc.
Mobile Meal Service of Spartanburg County, Inc., is the recipient of a $9,135 grant that will be used to purchase a new server, four volunteer computers, a computer for the Director of Production, and the wiring necessary to connect all areas to the network server.

6. Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of Spartanburg Foundation, Inc.
Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of Spartanburg Foundation, Inc. is the recipient of a $6,600 grant to hold its Community Health Awareness Day in June 2016. This one-day educational event and health walk is designed to remove barriers to health care, such as access and money. It offers a variety of free health screenings, health resources, and health education classes at one easily accessible location within the community.

7. New Day, Inc. of Spartanburg
New Day, Inc. of Spartanburg is the recipient of a $17,000 grant to secure an Adult Educator for its Ed-YOU-cation Initiative. This initiative helps New Day Clubhouse members achieve meaningful academic success and gain skills vital to achieving employment.

8. South Carolina Hunters and Land Owners for the Hungry
South Carolina Hunters and Land Owners for the Hungry is the recipient of a $15,000 challenge grant to purchase and install a 10 foot by 20 foot freezer and refrigeration unit at their new location in the former Pacolet Armory. The unit will be used to store frozen venison and wild boar meat, as well as perishable food items.

These grants are made possible in partnership with The Spartanburg County Foundation Community Fund; Jim D. and Johnnie G. Adams Trustee Initiated Fund; William Stuart Allen Memorial Fund; The Balmer Foundation, Inc. Trustee Initiated Fund; Morris B. and Harriet S. Chesney Trustee Initiated Fund; Frank H. and Rosie C. Cunningham Fund; John and Kate Dargan Trustee Initiated Fund; Founder’s Fund; Tracy and Thomas E. Hannah Trustee Initiated Fund; Harriet Smith Harris, Philip Guy Harris, and Philip Guy Harris, Jr. Memorial Fund; The J M Smith Foundation, Inc. Trustee Initiated Fund; The R. E. and Marion Littlejohn P Trustee Initiated Fund; The Powell Family Fund; Harry W. Sanders Fund; and The John and Jean Williams Trustee Initiated Fund.


Women Giving for Spartanburg (WGFS) reached a milestone in its nine-year history– over $2 million in grants – awarded to Spartanburg County nonprofits.

“It is a momentous time for Women Giving,” Chair Susan W. Floyd said at the annual meeting. “Through the generosity and dedication of our members, we’ve been able to make an impact on our community in the areas public health, education, the arts, and social environment.”
The group’s grants committee of twenty-two diverse women request grant proposals from local nonprofit organizations each year for innovative projects focusing on areas highlighted by the Spartanburg Community Indicators Project. After review, site visit, and a grants showcase, the members then vote on the organizations to receive money.
“I am incredibly proud of our 229 members of Women Giving for demonstrating the transformative power of collective giving,” Floyd said. “By uniting our contributions, we are advancing Spartanburg.”
This year the following seven nonprofits will receive a combined total of $214,000 in financial assistance: Project Hope Foundation (Project HOPE Foundation Spartanburg Clinic), Partners for Active Living (Transforming the Spartanburg Community through Play), St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic (Eat Smart), Upstate Warrior Solution (Rally Point: Spartanburg Homeless Warrior Program), Charles Lea Center Foundation (Charles Lea Outdoor Center), West Gate Training and Consultation Network, Inc. (Behind a Happy Face: A Behavioral Health Initiative), and The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg (Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light).
Women Giving for Spartanburg is a group of passionate women who have joined together to enhance the quality of life in the Spartanburg community through collective giving. This women’s giving circle pools its money, energy and ideas in order to create a measurable impact on the organizations it funds annually. Women Giving for Spartanburg was founded in 2007 as a special project of The Spartanburg County Foundation.

If you would like more information about Women Giving for Spartanburg, please contact Women Giving for Spartanburg at 864.699.2511 or email at womengiving@spcf.org.

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Support Spartanburg County Raises $365,700 for 78 Area Nonprofits

On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, The Spartanburg County Foundation hosted and facilitated the second annual Support Spartanburg County – an online giving day event from midnight to 11:59 p.m. EST. Support Spartanburg County raised $365,700 in unrestricted funds, increasing the 2015 giving day total by nearly $40,000. The funds raised through this online crowdfunding event will benefit the 78 participating organizations by furthering their missions and addressing Spartanburg County’s most pressing needs.

Support Spartanburg County was held in conjunction with a national giving day hosted by Give Local America. Giving days across the country experienced technical difficulties throughout the 24-hour online event. The Spartanburg County Foundation responded to the technical glitches and provided alternative giving methods to donors in support of the 78 participating nonprofit organizations, such as taking credit card donations through its website, accepting checks, and extending the giving period to May 4th at noon.

While technical glitches were unplanned on the national level, donors continued to support the participating organizations, raising unrestricted funds to help further the impact of these nonprofits in Spartanburg County.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the 2016 Support Spartanburg County giving day. Not only did the community rally around nonprofits, the day brought both awareness and an innovative philanthropic opportunity that increased fundraising networks and helped build capacity and sustainability for participating organizations,” said Troy Hanna, President & CEO of The Spartanburg County Foundation.




Congratulations Marlanda Dekine and Scott Neely, Co-recipients of the 2016 Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change!

Speaking Down Barriers co-founders recognized for leadership in Spartanburg

Recipients to use award funds to expand services

Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 10:17 p.m.

Marlanda Dekine and Scott Neely, co-founders of Speaking Down Barriers, were recognized by the Spartanburg County Foundation as co-recipients of the 2016 Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change at the foundation’s annual meeting Tuesday evening.

Two community leaders were recognized Tuesday evening for their work to create a dialogue on race and social issues.

Marlanda Dekine and Scott Neely were co-recipients of the 2016 Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change at the Spartanburg County Foundation’s annual meeting.

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

Dekine and Neely are the co-founders of Speaking Down Barriers, an organization that works to combat social and racial divisions and unify the community. The pair hosts programs that bring people of diverse backgrounds together to talk about discrimination and provide healing.

“I was excited and shocked at the same time,” said Dekine when she was first told about the award. “(The foundation) told us to come to their office and that they wanted to hear more about our work. We came prepared with this presentation but they stopped us and told us about getting the award.”

Neely also said he was stunned, but was glad to be hearing the news of the award with Dekine.

“The award itself is a wonderful honor, but I felt very grateful that the committee had seen the way that we work together and wanted to publicly recognize that,” Neely said. “In the gatherings that we facilitate and the trainings that we host and the presentations and speaking that we offer, we challenge participants to not only face the past, but also to choose the future.”

In the past, the foundation has selected one recipient each year. This year the foundation’s award selection committee wanted to recognize both Dekine and Neely for their vision, courage and leadership in the community.

“Since the inception of the award, eight recipients have been recognized for their great passion and pioneering efforts in serving others in our community,” said John E. Bauknight IV, secretary of the foundation, who presented the award. “Tonight’s winner is no different and joins the ranks of those community leaders who work tirelessly to make life better for everyone.”

The award included a $5,000 grant, which will be used to further the work of Speaking Down Barriers. Dekine said the funds will help launch a new program that will include healing retreats for social workers, counselors, journalists, poets, teachers, volunteers and activists who work hard to fight racism.

“These people endure risk, criticism and strain, often with very little support. They are physically threatened and emotionally battered for the work they do,” Dekine said. “We will offer them a time set apart, to step away from their challenges and heal so that they can do their work with even greater power.”

Follow Alyssa Mulliger on Twitter @AMulligerSHJ

Spartanburg Academic Movement Releases Annual Report


Chapter 2: Collective Impact

Spartanburg, SC March 2, 2015— The Spartanburg Academic Movement will release its third annual report, “SAM Chapter 2 – Collective Impact,” at an event on Wednesday afternoon at the Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters.  Executive Director John Stockwell will discuss Chapter 2, telling the story of how collective impact is working across Spartanburg County to advance academic achievement for every child, cradle to career.

Two years ago, in spring 2014, SAM published “SAM Preface:  Framing the Academic Movement,” making the case for change in academic achievement ambitions across Spartanburg County.  “SAM Preface” established baselines and projected targets for increasing achievement at six stages of learning over the coming years:  kindergarten readiness, early grades reading, middle grades math, college/career-ready high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment, and post-secondary persistence and completion.

In spring 2015, SAM published “Chapter 1 – Faces of Change,” addressing rapidly changing high-stakes assessment practices driven by state and federal guidelines that have threatened to impose excessive testing challenges on schools, teachers, and students, here and across the country; challenges that have made it difficult for SAM to track academic achievement progress from year to year.

This year’s report, “SAM Chapter 2 – Collective Impact,” begins by documenting the scale of the education enterprise in Spartanburg County.  Counting the nearly 50,000 public school students, teachers, staff, parents, child development centers, colleges, and educational non-profits, over 50% of the County’s 290,000 residents are directly engaged.   And the remaining 50% have deep stakes in the achievement of this generation of students.

Now entering its third year, “SAM Chapter 2” explains what collective impact means for academic achievement across Spartanburg County.  It also documents the work of the Kindergarten Success Collaborative Action Network and schedules the launch of similar networks that will address each of the five other stages of learning.  Chapter 2 also anticipates a more rational assessment framework with the passage of the federal “Every Student Succeeds” Act putting more authority in the hands of the states, and the continual refinement of assessment practices in South Carolina.


The collective impact work in kindergarten readiness and the changes forthcoming in assessment and accountability are the themes of “SAM Chapter 2,” available for download at www.learnwithsam.org.


For more information about SAM, contact Director of Communications, Lindsay Moore at 864-573-5804 or lmoore@learnwithsam.org

About Spartanburg Academic Movement

SAM is committed to increasing the importance we place on academic achievement for every child, from cradle to career; and it is a commitment to assure that the young people of Spartanburg County gain the education required for life and work in an economy that requires specialized knowledge to be successful.


An Evening with Wes Moore

New York Times bestselling author Wes Moore told a Spartanburg audience that there is an underdog, proud spirit in Spartanburg that reminds him of his native Baltimore.

Moore was the featured speaker at an event at Cornerstone Baptist Church Tuesday evening. The youth advocate and motivational speaker shared his experiences growing up in Baltimore and the importance of standing up for others.

Moore said Spartanburg, like Baltimore, is a city of collaboration where community members feel a responsibility to take care of one another.

“If we are all God’s children, by definition we are brothers and sisters. God asks us to take care of each other,” Moore said. “While we’re (living), let’s actually take care of each other. Let’s actually act like brothers and sisters.”

Moore referenced his first book, “The Other Wes Moore,” which tells the story of two boys with the same name who grew up under similar circumstances in the same city, but who ended up on very different paths. It’s more than a book about two kids sharing a name from the same neighborhood, Moore said.

“It’s about all of us,” he said. “There are Wes Moores that exist in every one of our communities, in every one of our schools and in every one of our homes.”

The book seeks to explore the thin line between one life and another, and “between those we congratulate and those we castigate,” Moore said.

Moore said the more he learned about the man who shared his name, the more he found he had in common with him. Moore recalled asking the man if he believed people are products of their environments, to which the man answered that people are products of their expectations.

“Expectations for ourselves come from others’ expectations for us,” Moore said. “If we don’t raise levels of expectations and alter the hopes and realities for our kids coming up, we are doomed to repeat the same tragedies over and over.”

Moore said while society is full of “others,” they are people whose destiny matters as much as the next person’s. He told attendees the most important question they will ever be asked is, “Who did you choose to fight for?”

“Who did you choose to stand up for when it wasn’t easy or simple?” Moore asked. “We fight for those people who oftentimes are voiceless. We fight for those people who can’t be heard. We fight for those people who need and deserve a champion.”

Allen Smith, president and CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said having someone of Moore’s caliber visiting the community highlights the momentum in Spartanburg.

“I’m glad to be part of a community that is always doing something for what Jesus called ‘the least of these.’ I challenge (everyone) to think about people in our midst every day who are struggling and slipping through the cracks,” Smith said. “I hope we are inspired to recommit ourselves to rebuild a Spartanburg that is not for some, but that is for all.”

Mary Thomas, chief operating officer of the Spartanburg County Foundation, said Moore is a living example of what can happen when people are supported and encouraged to make successful decisions.

“This is a wonderful representation of our community,” Thomas said. “What we hoped to accomplish tonight was to have a true community gathering.”

In his closing remarks Moore said that a person’s, and a community’s, success will be defined by who the person chooses to fight for.

“Our success means nothing if the person next to us is failing miserably,” Moore said. “We will succeed as a team or fail as a team and the choice is completely ours.”

By Alyssa Mulliger

Published in Spartanburg Herald Journal

March 8, 2016

Foundation Welcomes Booker as New Trustee

Sheryl Booker b&wThe Spartanburg County Foundation is pleased to announce the election of Sheryl Booker to the Board of Trustees for a term of seven years.

Mrs. Booker received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance from Wofford College and a Masters and Education Specialist Degree in Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina. Currently, she serves as support specialist for the Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM).

Mrs. Booker brings extensive knowledge and experience to The Spartanburg County Foundation Board of Trustees. She formerly held positions as a Professional and Executive Banker with Bank of America and school counselor at Dorman High School. Mrs. Booker currently serves on the board of directors for The First Tee of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties and the community advisory board for Nurse-Family Partnership. Mrs. Booker is a member of the United Way of the Piedmont’s Women’s Leadership Council and Women Giving for Spartanburg. She is a 2014 graduate of the Spartanburg Regional Fellows program and has previously held positions on the board of directors for the Greenville Rape Crisis Center, The Greenville Symphony Orchestra, the YWCA of Greenville, and Glenn Springs Academy.

Mrs. Booker is an active member of Mount Moriah Baptist Church, where she volunteers with the media ministry and serves as church school teacher. Sheryl and her husband, Dr. Russell Booker, reside in Spartanburg and are proud parents of two sons, Grant and Maxwell.