Foundation News

President’s Message: 2020 Report to the Community

When I think about the work of the Community Foundation, I often think of Falls Park and the Carolina Foothills Garden Club. Over decades the garden club was a perennial advocate and fundraiser for the acquisition of the property that is now an award-winning public space. Garden Club members recruited a prominent landscape architect and selected a wide variety of native plants, annual and perennial flowers, as well as ornamental grasses. They continued to add to their footprint with the addition of Pedrick’s Garden and the purchase of adjoining acres on the Reedy River. In addition, they ensured the long-term sustainability of Falls Park by establishing an endowment fund with the Community Foundation. Passion, vision, planning, persistence and continuity are the hallmarks of the beautiful place enjoyed by all people who live and visit here.

In the same manner, the Community Foundation has tended to the civic, cultural and charitable ligatures that connect us. In this report, you will learn about how a seed project to improve the experience of children in foster care was germinated by David White with our help. In addition, you will read about a family with deep roots in Greer who is holding up generations of their family tradition with their service to the community. You will meet an incredible professional who, sustained by tendrils of community support, is living out a life of service.

As I write this, Greenville is in its sixth month of the pandemic. It is a massive disruption with clear lessons about disparities experienced by minority families. The Community Foundation has been able to respond quickly by making grants from a variety of funds and our unrestricted assets. Our compassionate response is a reflection of our current donors and the families that have entrusted us with endowments. In that sense, their values are perennial blooms affirmed long after their generous bequests.

I am stunned by the artwork Dorothy Shain has provided for us to use. In addition to being an exceptional visual artist, Dorothy has been very generous in the use of her work to provide financial support for the Cancer Survivors Park. Her mother, Michelle, was the Interim President of the Community Foundation just prior to my hiring. Her father, Michael, serves as one of our investment advisors and his client and great friend Margaret Southern created a large endowment to support the Greenville Humane Society and programs to support special needs and early childhood initiatives. When I moved to Greenville, a 10-year-old Dorothy and her friend Laurel Gower took my daughter, Wynne, ice skating. Over time, such personal acts of kindness serve to refresh the soil and sow the seeds of connection for all of us.

One theme we chose to emphasize this year is that of resilience. People, nonprofits and our country will demonstrate the ability to respond effectively to change and adapt successfully to new and unforeseen circumstances while staying true to mission. The partnerships we form in good times provides the strength, focus, and compassion that will enable us to recover as a community and work towards an equitable future for all.

Read the Report

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