About

Highlights of our History

  • In 1956, a group of approximately 125 citizens voted to organize the Greenville County Foundation with an initial contribution of $5,675.  The Foundation’s seven founding Trustees were Ernest Patton, Eugene E. Stone III, Roger C. Peace, Francis M. Hipp, J.P. Williamston, Harold R. Turner, and Eugene Bryant.  
  • The Foundation’s first grant was to fund a survey for the long-range water, sewer and fire protection needs of Greenville County.  This resulted in unified water and sewerage systems in Greenville County and led to orderly development of both residential and commercial areas during a period of tremendous economic and population growth in Greenville during the 1970s.
  • For its first twenty years, the Foundation operated with no paid staff and concentrated on seed grants for community projects that helped establish the Greenville Urban League, Greenville Blood Assurance Plan, Greenville Council on Aging, Senior Citizens’ Center, Metropolitan Arts Council, Volunteer Greenville, Community Food Bank, and Junior Achievement.
  • The Foundation funded the first mass immunization campaign ever conducted in Greenville County to immunize children against polio, measles, tetanus and other diseases.
  • In 1981, the first Executive Director was hired.  During this time the Foundation served as a conduit for private investments in the downtown revitalization initiative known as Greenville Commons which included the Hyatt Regency hotel and provided an impetus for the redevelopment and beautification of Greenville’s downtown business district.
  • In 1985, the Francis Hipp Founders Society was formed and all 36 of the Society’s members provided gifts of $25,000 to the Foundation to create an additional $1,000,000 in unrestricted assets.
  • In 1986, Foundation was selected as one of eight community foundations (out of 28 applicants) for the Ford Foundation’s Leadership Program for Community Foundations.  Greenville was the smallest of the eight chosen cities.  Under this program the Ford Foundation provided $500,000 to the Foundation to fund a comprehensive community-wide effort to improve local childcare services over the next five years.  The Greenville’s Child program was launched in July of 1987. (Greenville’s Child and Success by 6 merged in 2003.)  
  • The Community Foundation was challenged by the Ford Foundation grant to raise an additional one million dollars locally for its permanent endowment and achieved the goal in only nine months.  The Community Enrichment Grants Program is now funded by the income from a $2,000,000 endowment seeded by the matching gifts made in response to the Ford Foundation grant.
  • Falls Park is the gem of downtown Greenville and has served as the catalyst for revitalization of the West End.  The Community Foundation made a $100,000 gift to Falls Park and manages the permanent endowment fund that was established as part of the private support of this public/private partnership.
  • In recognition of its 50th anniversary in 2006, the Foundation provided major funding for several community initiatives including The Kroc Center, Greenville Women Giving, Greenville Forward, and Lake Conestee Nature Park.  The Foundation's commitment to the Kroc Center is $1 million over a ten-year period and is the largest single investment in it's history.
  • The Foundation helped provide initial funding for Greenville Early College which began in the summer of 2012 and has been involved in the planning stage for the Reedy River Park.
  • In 2013, the Foundation partnered with Clemson University in developing the vision for the Clemson Center for Visual Arts-Greenville in the Village of West Greenville and provided operating cost support for its start-up phase. 

    Throughout its history the Community Foundation has served as a tax-efficient and cost-effective means for individuals, businesses and charitable organizations to provide the financial resources critical to improving the lives of Greenville County residents.