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Harper Corporation receives 2022 Philanthropic Spirit Award

Building Philanthropy

by John Jeter

With its legacy of giving and culture of service, Harper General Contractors builds up community projects in and beyond Greenville

Click here to watch the video that accompanies the article from TOWN’s November Giving Issue!

Doug Harper is roughly the same age as his family’s fourth-generation company, Harper Corporation, where he recalls starting his career at age twelve, earning twenty-five cents an hour, and picking up his forebears’ commitment to community, family, and philanthropy.

“It goes back to my earliest memories of the company. It just started with the spirit of my grandfather and father, and we feel like we’ve been blessed by the community. It’s a great place to live and work. And so, there was always that discussion of how we can give back,” says Harper, chairman of the company headquartered in the heart of downtown Greenville.

That spirit led to the award honoring Harper and his 300-some employees. Of the honor, he says, “I want to make the point, it’s not me. It’s the company, our team, our people—that what we’ve done is acknowledged, and I’m happy for the Harper team and the employees.”

He reflects on the culture of the company that has built, largely at cost, what he calls community service projects, including Greenville’s Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, chapels for two state correctional facilities, and—its first such project in Greenville—the American Red Cross headquarters on Grove Road. The firm also donates money to any number of charitable organizations, while its employees, most of them thirty-somethings, volunteer for the likes of Little League and Meals on Wheels.

“Our saying is, we build up our clients, our communities, and each other,” he says.

Steve Navarro, president and CEO of The Furman Co., a real estate firm founded in Greenville in 1888, underscores that as he reflects on the builder he has known since 1987.

“He established a culture within the company about giving and about caring, about community and about leaving things better than we found them,” Navarro says, calling Harper “probably one of the most outstanding community-minded people I know that can mix business acumen and community and social conscience.”


Doug Harper has hiked all over the world, from Patagonia to Nepal, where, with fellow Greenville native Ward Stone, he trekked to Kala Patthar. Rising more than 18,000 feet, Kala Patthar offers stunning views of Mount Everest.

Started in Williamston, South Carolina, the company is now headquartered in downtown Greenville, with offices in Spartanburg and Conway, South Carolina, and Asheville and Charlotte, North Carolina. Projects extend to the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee.

The company and its employees are Involved with H.O.P.E. Ministries House, in partnership with Miracle Hill Rescue Mission of Spartanburg, Mobile Meals of Spartanburg, Youth Villages Asheville, Wheels for Meals Charity Ride, and the annual Toys for Tots drive, among other charitable organizations and events.

Harper contracted with Greenville on the city’s newest, biggest gem, the $66 million Unity Park.

The Harper team built the 44,000-square-foot clubhouse at the Greenville Country Club, the fourth since the club opened in 1905.

Harper General Contractors built the Red Cross headquarters on Grove Road in the mid-’60s and did a major addition in the ’90s.

Pictured above from top to bottom: Doug Harper, Chairman, and David Wise, President


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