“I want to leave some little part of the world better,” said Gail Swofford Hackett. “Most importantly, I want to help somebody in the same way that the scholarship I received helped me.”
That’s what Gail had in mind when she established The Gail Swofford Hacket Scholarship Fund at The Spartanburg County Foundation in 2011.
Inspired by her teachers and her father who always called her his “little school teacher,” Gail knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a teacher. A scholarship that she received on graduation night provided her with the exact amount she needed to attend Winthrop University and fulfill her dream.
Gail spent 33 years teaching in schools throughout South Carolina and Connecticut before retiring in 2001 and returning to Spartanburg. She and her husband, Linwood, had always known about the Foundation and decided a long time ago that they wanted to give back in the form of a scholarship. “The Spartanburg County Foundation was a natural fit,” said Gail. “They made it very easy.”
The Foundation has worked alongside many donors, like Gail, to establish scholarships funds, and in 2011, awarded 455 scholarships, totaling over $585,000, to individuals whom, in many cases would not otherwise be able to attend college.
In addition to setting up funds with donors, the Foundation has a Scholarship Program that provides four-year scholarships for Spartanburg County graduates to attend institutions of higher learning. Valerie Douglas, a graduate of James F. Byrnes High School, received a Foundation scholarship.
“The Foundation’s scholarship enabled me to attend Wofford, which was my first choice,” she said. Valerie graduated Wofford College in 2009, and immediately accepted a position at Byrnes High School where she teaches English and journalism. She continues to give back, not only through teaching, but through her volunteer involvement both at the school and in the community. “Being able to stay in the community and learn that lesson from the Foundation of giving back has been very beneficial,” said Douglas. “The Foundation does a wonderful job and I am very grateful.”