Finalists Announced for 2017 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grants

Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to foster collaboration, partnerships and strategic planning across the Upstate, has announced the finalists for the 2017 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The five finalists were chosen from a total of 22 applications submitted for the two grants available in 2017. Hughes Investments is contributing at least $10,000 per year to the program with two recipients each year receiving $5,000 to support a new vibrancy initiative in the Upstate. The program began in 2013 in conjunction with a series of Community Vibrancy Workshops hosted by Ten at the Top. Since the inception of the grants program, Hughes Investments has contributed a total of $57,000 to community vibrancy initiatives in 17 communities across the Upstate.

During the Ten at the Top Celebrating Successes Brunch on November 16th the five finalists will each provide a brief overview of their initiative before the 2017 recipients are selected and announced. The cost to attend the brunch is $35, prior registration is required. The event will be held from 11:30 am -1:30 pm at the Greenville Marriott. To register go to www.tenatthetop.org.

Here are the five finalists (applying organization, project name and brief summary):

Art of the Horse – City of Landrum – In celebration of the 2018 World Equestrian Games being held in nearby Tryon, NC, the city will be displaying as public art a life size painted fiberglass horse. The city is looking to use the Elevate Upstate Grant to allow for the display to become a permanent component of the public art in the City of Landrum.
Farm to Fork Dinner – Abbeville County Farmers Market – The Abbeville County Farmers Market is looking to host a “farm to fork” dinner to highlight the vital role of local farming and farmers markets in creating local vibrancy in Abbeville.

Food Truck Plaza – Main Street Laurens USA, Inc. – As a part of a larger Downtown Master Plan for the City of Laurens, the Food Truck Plaza would be a dedicated space within the city where food trucks would be located for residents and visitors to enjoy a variety of dining experiences. The plaza will include colored shade sails, brick pavers and picnic benches as well as power and water for the food trucks.

Art Wall at Monarch Park – City of Seneca and Blue Ridge Arts Council – As part of the Eagle Scout project for a local student an art wall has been created in Monarch Park, located within walking distance of Main Street Seneca. The Elevate Upstate Grant would be used to commission three-dimensional butterfly art for the wall and park.

Bee smART – Greenwood Arts Center – The City of Greenwood received the Bee City USA award in 2016 and would use the Elevate Upstate Grant to develop educational and interactive art programs designed around the Bee City designation.

The selection committee for the Elevate Upstate Grants Program includes Phil Hughes (President, Hughes Investments), Ingo Angermeier (SmartPulse), and Terence Roberts (Mayor, City of Anderson).

Creating a Sense of Place Helps Grow Economic & Community Vibrancy

Creating a Sense of Place Helps Grow Economic & Community Vibrancy

By Dean Hybl, Executive Director, Ten at the Top

There was a time in America when regardless of the size of the community, the commercial heart of any town or city was its downtown or main street. These commerce centers were typically oozing with energy and vibrancy as they included stores, banks, restaurants, the post office, local government buildings and many other components of an active community.

As communities began to spread out in the 1960s and 1970s, many main streets and downtowns went from being the epicenter of the community to a forgotten and often dangerous place where few good things happened and most dared not venture.

Having only lived here in the Upstate since 2010, I have a hard time imagining a time when Downtown Greenville was not a vibrant showpiece. However, I have heard from many who did grow up in this area that for many years the main street was little more than a vehicle thoroughfare for people passing from one part of town to another.

Of course, today Downtown Greenville is lauded as a national model for creating both community and economic vibrancy and is a one of the more attractive features for making the Upstate a tourist and business destination.

Many main streets, downtowns and neighborhoods of all sizes across the Upstate have a rich history of being the local epicenter for their community. When Ten at the Top developed the Our Upstate Vision through the engagement of more than 10,000 Upstate residents in 2010 and 2011, one of the areas identified as being important for the Upstate was to maintain and grow the vibrancy of our individual communities, downtowns and neighborhoods.

While not every downtown has prospered to the level of Downtown Greenville, there are many other places across the Upstate that have recognized that returning vibrancy and commerce to their downtown core and neighborhoods is a key strategy in growing their economic base as well as developing a “sense of place” for their local residents and visitors.

In 2013, Ten at the Top and USC Upstate partnered to develop “Great Ideas for Community Vibrancy”, which highlighted 50 examples from across South Carolina and the United States of communities and neighborhoods of all sizes that had cultivated their local vibrancy through a project, event or initiative. We then brought representatives from 10 of those programs to the Upstate and held four community vibrancy workshops across the region.

In conjunction with those workshops and to help with creating new vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate region, local developer Phil Hughes established the Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy grants. The original commitment was for $10,000 per year (two grants of $5,000 each) for five years.

Since the first grants were awarded in 2013, Hughes has actually provided $57,000 in funds for vibrancy initiatives in 17 communities across the Upstate.

Because vibrancy, sense of place and local needs are different in all communities, the projects funded through the program have also been very different, but all have helped reinvigorate main streets, neighborhoods or even organizations across the Upstate.

Included amongst the projects was creation of the Greer International Festival, which though it was funded only once through Elevate Upstate has become an annual event in Greer with an estimated economic impact of more than $100,000 for the local community. The City of Laurens created their Finally Friday music series in 2015 through an Elevate Upstate Grant and the monthly event has become a key component of the Main Street program in Laurens.

Though Ram Cat Alley has long been a staple of Downtown Seneca, it was through a grant to the Blue Ridge Arts Council that they were able to create a series of artistically painted cast iron cats that now dot the landscape of the community and have become a favorite scavenger hunt for children in the area as the cats are regularly moved from place to place in town.

Those projects represent only a handful of the vibrancy initiatives that have popped up across the Upstate due to Phil Hughes and the Elevate Upstate program.

For 2017 the grant process brought 22 applications that have now been narrowed to five finalists. Those potential projects are for new vibrancy initiatives in Landrum, Seneca, Abbeville, Laurens and Greenwood. Each finalist will make a final “pitch” during the Ten at the Top Celebrating Successes Brunch on November 16th and then the 2017 grant recipients will be announced that day.

If you would like to learn more about the Elevate Upstate Grants, Ten at the Top’s Community Vibrancy initiatives or register to attend the November 16th Celebrating Successes Brunch, please visit the Ten at the Top web site (www.tenatthetop.org).

Town of Due West and Anderson Free Clinic Receive Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants

Upstate, SC [November 30, 2016] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to enhance economic vitality and quality of life across the Upstate by fostering collaboration and strategic partnerships has announced the recipients for the 2016 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The program, which began in 2013, annually provides “seed funds” to support vibrancy initiatives in communities across the Upstate region. There were 19 applications for the 2016 grants and five finalists gave brief presentations before the selections were made during the Our Upstate Vision Forum on November 29th.

The two recipients of $5,000 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grants were the Town of West Pelzer for their Expand Your Wings project and the Anderson Free Clinic for their F.R.E.S.H. project. In addition, Hughes Investments presented each of the other three finalists (City of Pickens, Hub-Bub in Spartanburg and Children & Choices/Hello Saville in Union and Spartanburg) with $1,000 to be used to help start their vibrancy initiative.

“The goal of the Elevate Upstate program is to get communities thinking about what types of initiatives or programs might help spark vibrancy within their area and then provide some seed money to get some of them started,” said Hughes Investments President Phil Hughes. “In the four years we have done this program, I have been amazed by the great ideas and passion of communities across the region to grow their vibrancy and sense of place. It was a real challenge to narrow the field to five finalists and to select the recipients.”

In the four years of the Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grants program, Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments has provided a total of $56,000 to help with 17 different vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate region.

The two $5,000 recipients for 2016 are:

F.R.E.S.H. (Food Resources Ensuring Satisfactory Health) – Anderson Free Clinic – Healthy communities are vibrant communities. The “Farm to Table” style event will promote awareness of food insecurity in low access communities in Anderson County while featuring local farms and food products.

Expand Your Wings – Town of West Pelzer – The Town of West Pelzer is established and declared to be a wild bird sanctuary. “Expand Your Wings” is both an educational venture and an art installation that will allow residents, visitors and passersby to West Pelzer to “Become like a bird, expand your wings, learn new things and fly high as you can.”

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Finalists Announced for 2016 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grants

Upstate, SC [November 3, 2016] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to foster collaboration, partnerships and strategic planning across the Upstate, has announced the finalists for the 20165 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The five finalists were chosen from a total of XX applications submitted for the two grants available in 2016. Hughes Investments is contributing $10,000 per year to the program with two recipients each year receiving $5,000 to support a new vibrancy initiative in the Upstate. The program began in 2013 in conjunction with a series of Community Vibrancy Workshops hosted by Ten at the Top.

During the Ten at the Top Regional Forum on November 29th the five finalists will each provide a brief overview of their initiative before the two 2016 recipients are selected and announced. The cost to attend the forum is $10, prior registration is required. The forum will be held from 3-5 pm at the Greenville Marriott. To register go to www.tenatthetop.org.

Here are the five finalists (applying organization and project name):

Under the Pickens Historic Water Tower – City of Pickens – The City would use the Elevate Upstate Grant to create a social gathering spot in downtown under the historic water tower, which would better serve our local businesses, who have expressed an interest in utilizing this space.
F.R.E.S.H. (FOOD RESOURCES ENSURING SATISFACTORY HEALTH) – Anderson Free Clinic – The event would feature local farms and food products. By working with local partners, the clinic could lead collaborative efforts addressing the nutrition needs of our patients and community.

Hub Crawl Interactive Games (Spartanburg) – Hub-Bub – As a part of HUB-BUB’s Downtown Programming Initiative, local artists will design an inventory of interactive games that can be used in partnership with the Hub Crawl series, a recurring event meant to inspire creative interactions and promote the Downtown Spartanburg area.

Family Fun Day (Union & Spartanburg) – Children & Choices/Hello Saville – The Family Fun Day Project will serve as a safe opportunity for families to gather for positive fun, an exchange of information as well as a time for youth to have increased exposure to positive and caring adults. It will include a series of fun activities including; Trivia, Movie Family Skate Nights. This project will also serve as an opportunity for participants to gain access to community and academic programs as well as provide a platform for families to share their ideals about community recreational offerings.

Expand Your Wings – Town of West Pelzer
The Town of West Pelzer is established and declared to be a wild bird sanctuary. “Expand Your Wings” is both an educational venture and an art installation that will allow residents, visitors and passersby to West Pelzer to “Become like a bird, expand your wings, learn new things and fly high as you can.”

The selection committee for the Elevate Upstate Grants Program includes Phil Hughes (President, Hughes Investments), Ingo Angermeier (SmartPulse), and Terence Roberts (Mayor, City of Anderson).

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Four Communities Receive ELEVATE UPSTATE Community Vibrancy Grants

Upstate, SC [November 23, 2015] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to enhance economic vitality and quality of life across the Upstate by fostering collaboration and strategic partnerships has announced the recipients for the 2015 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The program, which began in 2013, annually provides “seed funds” to support vibrancy initiatives in communities across the Upstate region. There were 26 applications for the 2015 grants and five finalists gave brief presentations before the selections were made during the Our Upstate Vision Forum on November 19th.

The commitment from Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments is to annually provide two grants of $5,000 each. However, for 2015, Hughes provided an additional $5,000 with the third grant being split amongst two communities.

The two $5,000 recipients are:

celebrate agriCULTURE: Greenwood – The Arts Council of Greenwood County plans to celebrate national farmers market week with several activities: tailored pieces of art to exhibit and family fun day focused on our agricultural heritage, cooking demonstrations, etc. throughout the six week celebration.

Music at the Museum: Greenville – In a partnership between the Children’s Museum of the Upstate and the Furman University Partners in the Arts Program, student and faculty ensembles will perform a series of mini concerts.

Two other finalists will receive $2,500 towards their project:

Art in the Park: Woodruff – The Woodruff Living Arts Festival will be a downtown event which will bring art to life in the Upstate.
Walkable Cultural District: Spartanburg – The Art Partnership (TAP) in collaboration with the Spartanburg Arts Museum (SAM) aims to create a temporary public art installation to uniquely launch the newly designated Spartanburg Downtown cultural District.

“The goal of the Elevate Upstate program is to get communities thinking about what types of initiatives or programs might help spark vibrancy within their area and then provide some seed money to get some of them started,” said Hughes Investments President Phil Hughes. “In the three years we have done this program, I have been amazed by the great ideas and passion of communities across the region to grow their vibrancy and sense of place. It was a real challenge to narrow the field to five finalists and to select the recipients.”

Finalists Announced for ELEVATE UPSTATE Community Vibrancy Grants

Upstate, SC [November 9, 2015] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to foster collaboration, partnerships and strategic planning across the Upstate, has announced the finalists for the 2015 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The five finalists were chosen from a total of 26 applications submitted for the two grants available in 2015. Hughes Investments is contributing $10,000 per year to the program with two recipients each year receiving $5,000 to support a new vibrancy initiative in the Upstate. The program began in 2013 in conjunction with a series of Community Vibrancy Workshops hosted by Ten at the Top.

“The goal of the Elevate Upstate program is to get communities thinking about what types of initiatives or programs might help spark vibrancy within their area and then provide some seed money to get some of them started,” said Hughes Investments President Phil Hughes. “In the two years we have done this program I have been amazed by the great ideas and passion of communities across the region to grow their vibrancy and sense of place. It was a real challenge to narrow the field to five finalists.”

During the Ten at the Top Regional Forum on November 19th the five finalists will each provide a brief overview of their initiative before the two 2015 recipients are selected and announced. The cost to attend the forum is $10, prior registration is required. The forum will be held from 3-5 pm at the Greenville Marriott. To register go to www.tenatthetop.org.

Here are the five finalists (applying organization and project name):
Art in the Park: Woodruff – The Woodruff Living Arts Festival will be a downtown event which will bring art to life in the Upstate.
Greer Made – A new project designed to honor Greer’s history and revitalize the maker’s spirit of our community, Greer Made will focus on highlighting companies and products that are made right here in the Greer area.
celebrate agriCULTURE: Greenwood – The Arts Council of Greenwood County plans to celebrate national farmers market week with several activities: tailored pieces of art to exhibit and family fun day focused on our agricultural heritage, cooking demonstrations, etc. throughout the six week celebration.

Music at the Museum: Greenville – In a partnership between the Children’s Museum of the Upstate and the Furman University Partners in the Arts Program, student and faculty ensembles will perform a series of mini concerts.

Walkable Cultural District: Spartanburg – The Art Partnership (TAP) in collaboration with the Spartanburg Arts Museum (SAM) aims to create a temporary public art installation to uniquely launch the newly designated Spartanburg Downtown cultural District.

The selection committee for the Elevate Upstate Grants Program includes Phil Hughes (President, Hughes Investments), Ingo Angermeier (SmartPulse), and Terence Roberts (Mayor, City of Anderson).