by Dewey Evans
Thousands descend upon downtown Pickens, SC each spring for the Blue Ridge Fest, an effort created and operated by Blue Ridge Electric Co-op employee volunteers to raise money for local charities within their four county service area.
Blue Ridge Electric, which has long championed charitable community causes, decided in 1998 to combine the company’s philanthropic efforts and energies into one large, vibrant community event. An employee committee reviews over 100 applications annually, and must make the tough decisions on which charities will receive funding from the event. Visit the 2019 Blue Ridge Fest Charities webpage to view this year’s funding recipients.
Jim Lovinggood, President & CEO of Blue Ridge Electric Co-op, had this to say:
“On behalf of Blue Ridge Electric Co-op employees, I would like to invite you to the 22nd annual Blue Ridge Fest. This year promises to be one of the most entertaining with performances by The Oak Ridge Boys, The Tams and Jim Quick and Coastline! Over the past 21 years, Blue Ridge Fest has generated over $2.8 million dollars to support local Upstate communities. The proceeds from this event will be given to 12 local charities serving Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens counties. We hope you enjoy this night of great times for great causes.”
In addition to the live musical entertainment and delicious food, festivalgoers enjoy the largest Classic Car Cruise-in in the Upstate— classics such as Model A Fords, Studebakers, hot-rods, and more.
After the highly anticipated performance of The Oak Ridge Boys (and perhaps a little dancing), the evening culminates with a raffle drawing of three cash prizes, with first prize winning $10,000! A raffle ticket can be purchased for $5, or 5 tickets for $20. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets, or you can get tickets at the Blue Ridge offices in Pickens and Oconee.
Ten at the Top is seeking an individual to serve as Collective Capacity Coordinator.
Job purpose: The mission of Ten at the Top is to foster collaboration and increase collective capacity across the 10-county Upstate SC region around issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life. The Collective Capacity Coordinator is responsible for coordinating, facilitating and implementing meetings, initiatives, activities and programs focused around key regional issues within the five driver areas of the Our Upstate Vision.
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Minimum of five years of full-time work experience in a professional setting
- Experience coordinating work groups, volunteers or committees
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office products (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Writing proficiency (please provide samples)
- Attention to detail and the ability to produce quality work in a timely manner
- Ability to manage multiple projects or initiatives at one time
- Ability to work independently and accomplish tasks with minimal daily supervision
- Knowledge of South Carolina’s Upstate
- Strong organizational and customer service skills
1. Coordinate regular meetings, activities and initiatives for task forces and committees around the five driver areas of the Our Upstate Vision.
2. Regularly communicate with task force, committee members and other volunteers.
3. Conduct research related to projects, initiatives and driver areas.
4. Write reports, white papers, summaries and support material as needed.
5. Regularly update web site components with information related to task forces and committees.
6. Facilitate committee and task force meetings.
7. Conduct presentations and represent organization in a professional manner at meetings and community events.
8. Become familiar with key stakeholders within task force areas and across the ten Upstate counties.
9. Flexible schedule that allows for occasional attendance at early morning or late afternoon meetings as well as travel across the Upstate and occasionally to other parts of South Carolina.
10. Writing and coordinating the mailing of correspondence to funding partners and stakeholders across the Upstate.
11. Manage mailing lists including task forces, elected officials, board of directors and other stakeholder groups.
12. Coordinate community workshops and regional forums.
13. Regularly share TATT information through social media.
14. Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.
- Full-time 40-hour per week salaried position
- Salary Range: $40,000-$50,000 (depending on experience and background)
- Benefits include company health insurance, paid vacation, cell phone stipend and paid holidays
- Applications will be considered when received until position is filled
Interested candidates should send cover letter (including specific experience as a capacity builder), resume and support materials by e-mail or standard mail to:
Ten at the Top
150 Executive Center Drive, Suite 202
Greenville, SC 29615
Jonathan Irick, Director of Main Street Laurens since 2006, has worked hard to make downtown Laurens a place that locals can be proud of and that visitors will want to return to, and he was recently awarded the Main Street America Revitalization Professional Credential. Congratulations, Jonathan!
A press release from Main Street America said of Irick and Main Street Laurens, “During his tenure as the Director of Main Street Laurens, Jonathan has continued to lead the program and its many volunteers to become a model program both across the state and nationally. Main Street Laurens is a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote, improve and preserve the unique character and economic vitality of downtown Laurens.”
In 2014, Main Street Laurens won a Hughes Investment Elevate Upstate grant, presented by Ten at the Top, for the Finally Friday on the Square program. It was billed as a “celebration of all things Laurens,” with live music to bring people into the historic downtown area from April through September. The $5000 grant allowed Laurens to pay for the music artists for all of 2015, but the music was just the beginning—other attractions include free trolley rides, extended business hours, and special treats like an ice cream social.
Main Street Laurens’ Facebook page lists events, including the upcoming Sip ‘n’ Stroll Wine Tasting on April 25, and promotes local businesses. If you haven’t visited downtown Laurens recently, check out one of their events, visit their businesses, and be sure to tag any photos you take with #upstatevibe365!
All photos courtesy of Main Street Laurens
Photo credit: Mark Susko Visual Design
There is an oasis in the heart of downtown Greenville that was created specifically for the purpose of healing and renewal—of hope and moving forward.
That place is Cancer Survivors Park, and it is open to anyone who has been touched by cancer—which, let’s face it, is just about everyone. The park’s vision is to “change the way we live with cancer.”
Conceived originally by a group known as Patients First, the idea was for cancer patients to have a space outside of a clinical setting to reconnect with themselves, with nature, and with their loved ones—but also a space that would give those patients and their families access to resources, information, and support.
As the space became a reality in the Cancer Survivors Park, Patients First changed its name to Cancer Survivors Park Alliance (CSPA). Once the park was complete, it was turned over to the city of Greenville to be maintained as part of the Parks Department, but the CSPA still actively hosts a variety of exercise and wellness programs for cancer patients and survivors at the park and other venues as part of their mission.
The park, situated off of the Swamp Rabbit Trail between Church and Cleveland Streets, features a boardwalk to connect the park to Church Street, a pavilion/education center, a labyrinth for meditation and contemplation, an outdoor amphitheater, and a suspension footbridge.
If you have been touched by cancer, or if you know someone who is dealing with cancer, be sure to stop by the park, check out the education center, and take advantage of the support offered by the CSPA.
Photo credit: Mark Susko Visual Design