Guest Speakers, Tom Allen, Director of Safety, Transportation, and Emergency Response, South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, Jim Stritzinger, Founder, President & CEO, Revolution D, Inc., and Shannon Sears, Director of Commercial Operations, West Carolina Tel on Broadband in the Upstate
Please see video recording to view presentations and comments. View presentation here.
Q & A and Links
Q: Who is eligible to apply for the grants?
A: Providers are eligible and entities are encouraged to advocate local providers to apply.
Q: Do you know if USAC is going to expand E-rate to include another category for home? Can we use the grant to provide for our 20% match?
A: This is the link to the new funding available from ORS and the Department of Commerce -https://ors.sc.gov/broadband/funding/rural-broadband-grant-program
Here is the link to the map. Please keep in mind that there are errors and we are working with ISPs and vendor to correct – https://ors.sc.gov/broadband/funding/rural-broadband-grant-program
Thank you to our funding partners:
3/9/21 UEE Workshop: Conversations to Avoid Intellectual Property Calamities:
3/24/21 at 10:00 am: UPP Workshop: Northside Community Update:
Check out the Upstate Vibe calendar:
Please join us for the next TATT CHAT on March 18 at 3pm: Maintaining Mental Health:
The EJ Small Grants and EJ CPS RFAs are now live. Closing date is May 7, 2021.
Eligible entities include:
- U.S. territories
- Tribal Governments (both federally recognized and state-recognized)
- Native American Organizations
- Small grants are for $50,000 each. Looking to fund approximately 56 nationwide with about 5 per region.
CPS awards are for $160,000 each. Looking to fund 20 nationwide with approximately 2 per region.
Areas of emphasis include projects focusing on:
- COVID-19 impacts on underserved communities (both)
- Climate/Disaster Resiliency (both)
- Ports Initiative projects (small grants)
- Projects from small non-profits of 10 or fewer employees (small grants)
- New applicants and grantees (both)
Abbeville County – Stephen Taylor, Economic Development Director
- Our unemployment numbers have improved greatly: 13.9 to 4.8
- As a rural community we are glad to see infrastructure growth
- Upper Savannah Virtual Workforce Day was a success (link); WCTEL participated
- Abbeville is looking closely at public transportation options
Union County – Taylor Atkinson, Executive Director, Union County Library
- We have recently hired a full time social worker at the Library (SC Native; has connections and is aware of the local resources) who is doing outreach in our area
- As a workaround to broadband, the library is an “anchor institution” mandated to have internet access by the FCC. In rural parts of Union County they can provide internet to at little to no cost to the community and are working on expanding several other sites in Union County
- Open up for limited library browsing hours and pick ups
Marina Lewis, Mauldin High School – Social Worker
Written By: Marina Lewis, Mauldin High School – Social Worker
March 13, 2020. Seemed like any other Friday, everyone was ready to get out the doors of Mauldin High and start the weekend. The weekly food pantry backpacks were lined up for students in need to grab on their way out the door. I was busy wrapping up my emails for the week and didn’t get to speak to several of the students. Little did I know that was the last time I would see them pick up their packs for the school year!
The following Monday we were in a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus, schools were closed and in 72 hours teachers converted their classes to eLearning. Everyone was so busy making virtual learning available. All I could think is what in the world could I do? My job as a school social worker is tied to my students being at school! The Backpack program, all the small groups, OnTrack meetings, Mentor program, Social-Emotional Learning trainings, activities, and events all came to a screeching halt.
Quarantine stopped daily living as we knew it but life continued. Our students needed the connection to the school that provided them stability in what was often a very chaotic and unstable home life. That next Friday when our students normally would have picked up their extra food supply for the weekend I knew what I had to do. I needed to bring the food to them. With an amazing co-worker (Kelly Yanity), we packed up the bags and delivered them to our 20 students in need.
As the weeks stretched on and the state was shut down, with support of our Principal, Michael Peake, and the blessing of my husband, my three teenagers packed up the pantry and moved it to our garage. We continued to make weekly supply deliveries to our families in need, as well as new families that were struggling due to the pandemic. Everyone pitched in to assist making our little Mauldin High food pantry not only survive but thrive. Brookwood Church continued to collect donations and PTSA donated all the items from the student school store that was going unused and sponsored a sign-up genius to collect needed household and cleaning supplies. We switched from backpacks to boxes left them at the door to have as little physical contact as possible and followed all COVID protocols.
In the end, it became less about the food being delivered and more about the relationships strengthened and the trust earned. The food became more of an excuse to check in with our students. It wasn’t just for them either. It brought peace to myself and my co-workers being able to lay eyes on them knowing they were OK. It gave me structure and purpose to my quarantine days. Assisting them with all the changes that had been thrown at all of us. Helping them learn to do this eLearning thing. Sharing resources and providing hotspots. They felt heard. They felt seen. I felt relieved. These students gave me more than I could give them, reminding me not to take things for granted. The hugs, the laughs, and the check ins we usually shared throughout the halls and classrooms were missing. We realized the importance of relationships.
The silver lining of this pandemic is it made us slow down and focus on what is truly essential, connecting with others. Being there for one another, that’s what will get us through. My hope is that through all the changes, grief, and chaos 2020 has brought, that it brought us something greater that can live past this pandemic, gratitude. Gratitude for each and every person that impacts our days. Greenville will get through this stronger by focusing on each other. I am privileged to have the opportunity to continue to serve our students, teachers, and community and will let that be my lasting memory of this pandemic.
Ten at the Top recently hosted their Celebrating Upstate Unsung Heroes Virtual Event on Wednesday, November 18th. At this event, they honored 10 county representatives and 130+ additional unsung heroes that have kept the Upstate region alive and well during this pandemic. Click here to view all 132 nominee listings.
The 10 county representatives that were present at the day-of event were:
- Abbeville: Ethan Cornick – Dreams with Open Arms, Volunteer
- Anderson: David Baker – Anderson County, Emergency Services Director
- Cherokee: Carol McFadden – Know(2) Neighborhood Association, Volunteer Director
- Greenville: Marina Lewis – Mauldin High School, Social Worker
- Greenwood: George McKinney – Greenwood County, Emergency Management Director
- Laurens: Joey Avery – Laurens County, Emergency Management Director
- Oconee: Vanessa Earle – Prisma Health, Community Health Worker
- Pickens: Lesa Howard – 5 Point Church Food Pantry, Director
- Spartanburg: Charlene Cheeks – Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Upstate, CEO
- Union: Shanna “Nikki” Burgess – SC Works Greater Upstate, Talent Development Specialist Supervisor
Following a series of four meetings convened through Ten at the Top (TATT), the Creating a Safer Upstate Discovery Committee has announced a series of recommendations designed to promote collaboration among stakeholders in fostering a culture in the Upstate that respects and values the lives of all officers and residents. To view the list of recommendations, click here.
The Discovery Committee was originally convened by Terence Roberts, Chairman of the Ten at the Top Board of Directors and the Mayor of the City of Anderson, following a number of highly publicized instances of police force across the country.
“While our region has been fortunate not to have seen the violence and social unrest that has occurred in other parts of the country, we do recognize that not every Upstate resident feels safe or trusts our law enforcement officers, Roberts said. “We felt with the platform already established by Ten at the Top to be a neutral convener, that we had an opportunity to proactively engage stakeholders across the region around the topic of creating a safer region for all residents.”
The Creating a Safer Upstate Discovery Committee consisted of more than 50 representatives from local governments, law enforcement, community organizations, faith leaders and Upstate businesses. The committee met virtually four times to discuss opportunities for how to create a united Upstate region where all stakeholders work collaboratively to ensure that we foster a culture that respects and values the lives of our law enforcement officers and all residents.
As the primary strategy, the Discover Committee recommends the development of a Safer Upstate Steering Committee to represent, support and communicate local efforts to improve relationships between law enforcement and community residents across the region. The Safer Upstate Steering Committee will focus on the following three goals:
1. Engage law enforcement ofﬁcials, community leaders and residents to work together to build healthy working relationships that elevate mutual respect, value cultural differences, and acknowledge the roles and responsibilities that each play in creating safer Upstate Communities.
2. Provide regular opportunities for law enforcement and community leaders to convene to proactively discuss community issues and emerging law enforcement topics while exploring approaches that can be implemented across the Upstate Region.
3. Enhance public trust by identifying, sharing and implementing best practice approaches for developing a sustainable, healthy relationship between law enforcement ofﬁcials and the greater Upstate Community.
The Steering Committee will be under the leadership of co-chairs Sheriff Rick Clark and Stinson Ferguson. Both Upstate natives, Sheriff Clark has been the sheriff of Pickens county since 2013 while Ferguson is Special Counsel for Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. in Greenville.
More information about the Safer Upstate initiative can be found at www.tenatthetop.org. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Safer Upstate Steering Committee is invited to reach out to Justine Allen, TATT Program Manager, at email@example.com or 864-283-0346.
ABOUT TEN AT THE TOP
Comprised of public, private and civic leaders from across the ten-county Upstate South Carolina Region, Ten at the Top was created to connect and encourage regional collaboration through data-driven research and regular convening of leaders and citizens to address key issues facing the region. Ten at the Top works with regional partners to foster collaboration and strategic planning to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for Upstate residents both today and as the region continues to grow. For more information, visit www.tenatthetop.org.
To view the list of recommendations, click here.
Creating a Safer Upstate Discovery Committee Members
Market Leader, Environmental Planning
Barnet Development Group
United Way of Anderson County
Vice President for Advancement
City of Greer
Urban League of the Upstate
Ripple of One
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd
City of Abbeville
Office of Congressman William Timmons
Chief Operating Officer
Senator Scott Office
Upstate Warrior Solution
City of Greer
Upstate Mobility Alliance
Director of Inclusion & Diversity
Cultural Diversity Director
City of Inman
Ten at the Top
Harris Flooring America
Future Product Portfolio Leader
City of Spartanburg
Assistant City Manager
City of Clinton
Director of Inclusion & Diversity
Maddrey & Associates
City of Anderson
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
University Center Executive Director
Laurens County Chamber
SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
City of Anderson
Marsh & McLennan
Vice President of Human Resources
United Way of the Piedmont
City of Anderson
City of Union
City of Spartanburg
Upstate Warrior Solution
Associate Vice President
Deputy Campus Police Chief