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Community Action Projects

Bridge Builders

Bridge Builders studied how Upstate legislators address their constituencies and explored tensions that exist within communities. By using a sample size composed of community leaders with differing genders, political parties, race, etc., Bridge Builders found that their sample reflected a desire to be involved in politics and were specifically interested in education as a primary issue. They also found that legislators felt they had been excluded and isolated from their constituencies.

Bridge Builders

The Bridge Builders of The Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative Class XX, will provide career exposure to students in Furman University’s Bridges to a Brighter Future program, which is a seven-year college access and success program for Greenville County high school and college students. It is designed to not only expose students to college, but to address and eliminate the personal, social, and cultural barriers that often prevent low-income and first-generation students from achieving college graduation.

Bridge Builders (Bridges to a Brighter Future)

Bridge Builders will serve as a catalyst and initially develop the program components to create a mentoring Diversity Leadership Initiative (DLI) program. DLI graduates will volunteer to serve as mentors to the Bridges to a Brighter Future program graduates in their junior and senior years of college. Mentors will be paired with students based on their professional career/experience and the student’s major and intended or desired career.

Bridge Builders (Upstate Diversity Forum)

Upstate Diversity Forum – Building Inclusive Organizations and Communities Discussions about diversity are occurring in small silos in limited industries and community organizations. Bridge Builders created the Upstate Diversity Forum to provide an opportunity for diversity leaders from private corporations, non-profit groups, and government organizations across all industries and areas of interest to discuss diversity and inclusion progress and challenges within their respective entities and the community.

BridgeSpan - RNE - Learning from Each Other

BridgeSpan.RNE will develop a program that will help to bridge the gap between Hispanic and non-Hispanic students at Richland Northeast International World Baccalaureate High School.  Hispanic students have had lower graduation rates, higher drop out rates, poorer attendance and problems associated with inappropriate behavior.

Bridging Diversity GAPS in the UPSTATE

G.A.P.S. focused on the extension of effective emergency services to minority groups, specifically the growing Hispanic minority in the Upstate. G.A.P.S. noted that emergency services' ineffectiveness in responding to specific crises is often related to language barriers, as well as the general reluctance of the Hispanic minority to use emergency services for (1) fear of INS or deportation, (2) fear of losing U.S.-born children, or (3) prior negative experiences with authorities. G.A.P.S.

Bridges to Success

While there is a variety of well-established interventions and programs for families living in poverty, many parents lack the individual support needed to change their economic circumstances. Bridges to Success is partnering with the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition and the Greenville Literacy Association to address obstacles commonly faced by parents living in poverty, such as low educational attainment, unemployment, and incarceration.

The project’s goal is to combat generational poverty by creating a path for parents to become more economically secure.

Broad Bandits

Broadband usage, access and affordability is increasingly becoming a hurdle for some families who understand the benefits all can experience from its availability. While technology improves all areas of life, its impact on the lives of students is becoming increasingly more crucial as the need for Internet access to even do homework outside of school hours is becoming a necessity.  Access is also crucial in law enforcement, emergency medical situations and other aspects of public safety.  Economic development efforts in local communities can sometimes hinge on the availability of high-speed broadband.   Seeing this need and hoping to bridge the gap and level the playing field, especially for low income families, the Broad Bandits partnered with a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Connect South Carolina, which is a state affiliate of Connected Nation. 

Building Bridges

The team objective was to bring together and, in turn, build bridges between groups of students from two different worlds. With this passion and vision in hand, the Building Bridges team, which included Carolina High School’s principal Mr. Michael Delaney and St. Joseph Catholic School’s headmaster Mr. Keith Kiser, developed and launched this new cultural bridge program.

Capitol Kids

Goal: Provide a diverse group of seventh-grade students with the opportunity to shadow their state representatives for a day at the State Capitol.

As a project of Furman's Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI), a group of eight community leaders is piloting Capitol Kids in the Lowcountry for the 2015-2016 academic year. A statewide program, the purpose of the DLI is to raise awareness of diversity issues, engage in meaningful dialogue, and develop relationships to help move South Carolina forward.