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Community Involvement

Bill's Walkabouts

“Where would you go if you were homeless tonight?”

Each night in Upstate South Carolina there are hundreds of individuals and families that have no place to call home. Bill’s Walkabouts partnered with the Upstate Homeless Coalition (UHC) to present an evening program to highlight the issues of homelessness in the Upstate.

Blue Tie Club Connections

The Blue Tie Club Connectors unanimously decided to reach out to young people early in their lives to make community connections and provide engaged learning opportunities to make a positive impact on the children’s lives. The group met with Thomas Webster, the principal of Jesse Bobo Elementary, a Title I school in Spartanburg, and we discovered the “Blue Tie Club.” The Blue Tie Club is a group of 20 fifth graders - all young men previously identified by the school’s faculty as being in need of extra attention and opportunity for success - who meet after school for various character-building exercises. This team found the group lacked resources and community support, so the goal became to expose these kids to unique opportunities they might otherwise never experience through the group’s passion and efforts as Blue Tie Club Connectors. 

Board Link

BoardLINK is a searchable database intended to make community service opportunities available to DLI alumnae. It is hoped this will increase Board participation and representation, particularly in local government, by DLI alumnae who appreciate the importance of diversity and can offer different perspectives on issues. BoardLINK’s intended purpose is to broaden the pool of candidates available to serve on local government boards, which may lack a diverse pool of qualified candidates.

Through this process the group have/will:

Board Link

Board Link-Lowcounry created a database to aid organizations in finding qualified and diverse candidates for board and commission appointments. Corporate, nonprofit, and governmental entities will be able to search through this database when trying to develop boards that accurately reflect the diversity of our state and nation. Board Link-Lowcountry is targeting graduates of many of the state’s prominent leaderships programs (like DLI) to take an online questionnaire that will then register these graduates into the database.

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.

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.