Sustaining a Vibrant Community

It's gratifying to plant something--a seed, an idea, a volunteer effort-- and watch it grow into something bigger and better than you could have ever imagined."

"Working with the community to help 10,000 families in Greenville move up and out of poverty over the next 10 years...I know we can accomplish this if we all work together."

Meghan Barp

President and CEO, United Way of Greenville County

It’s gratifying to plant something—a seed, an idea, a volunteer effort—and watch it grow into something bigger and better than you could have ever imagined. That’s exactly what happened with the partnership between the United Way of Greenville County and the Community Foundation of Greenville (CFG) when they established an Endowment Fund.

Back in 1981, the United Way started its fund at the Community Foundation with an original gift of $70,000. Its purpose was to provide the United Way and its member agencies a sustainable method to carry out their work in the greater Greenville community. Like other local nonprofits, they chose to do this at the Community Foundation so they could better focus on the work of their mission while their fund is professionally managed and administered by the Community Foundation.

It’s cost-effective, too, considering the expenses of establishing a trust with its legal and accounting fees, and annual tax filings.  Endowment Funds at the Community Foundation also provide investment expertise over a broadly diversified portfolio with nationally recognized institutional investment managers. The Community Foundation currently manages $75 million in assets, including endowment funds.

No wonder the United Way has been working with the Community Foundation for nearly 40 years in its various initiatives.  One of the best and most recent examples is OnTrack Greenville which is the beneficiary of CFG’s second largest investment ever of $750,000.

OnTrack Greenville is a community initiative aimed at keeping middle school students on track toward high school graduation. Middle school is not only a critical time in a young person’s development, but also a time when students who are struggling or facing challenges may lose focus in school.  OnTrack Greenville is grounded in research that shows kids have a higher rate of dropping out unless evidence-based interventions are put in place to keep them engaged.

And this partnership continues to flourish, now as the new president and CEO of the United Way Meghan Barp leads the organization forward. The first female chief to head the United Way in Greenville is a veteran of the United Way of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. At the top of Barp’s to-do list is an ambitious goal, “Working with the community to help 10,000 families in Greenville move up and out of poverty over the next 10 years.  I know we can accomplish this if we all work together,” she says.

CFG president Bob Morris has great confident in Barp’s abilities to reach this goal.  He notes, “Meghan completely embraces the importance of building endowments to continue a donor’s, or in this case an organization’s, ability to impact their community long after their lifetimes,” he says, “as together we rally for community change.”

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