Upstate, SC– Ten at the Top (TATT), through a funding commitment from Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments Inc., has established the Hughes Investments Vibrancy Initiative: ELEVATE UPSTATE Grants (EU). The program is being announced in conjunction with the Ten at the Top Community Vibrancy Workshops being held at four locations across the Upstate this week.

    The purpose of the ELEVATE UPSTATE Grants is to identify and provide initial funding support for community based programs that promote community and economic vibrancy in local areas across the Upstate. The initiative will award two grants annually with each being for up to $5,000 (total of $10,000 per year for five years) from 2013-2017 to entities including neighborhood associations, civic or community based organizations, non-profit organizations or local governments that are committed to developing and implementing programs designed to increase local vibrancy in communities within the Upstate. The TATT Community Vibrancy Task Force will provide some guidance through the project implementation process if it is needed.

    “Communities often have great ideas for things they want to do to increase their local vibrancy,” Hughes said. “However, they often don’t have the seed money that can get an idea moving toward an action. We want ELEVATE UPSTATE to provide that initial support so communities can create new projects and grow the vibrancy within their community and thus within the Upstate region.”

    Applicants must be located in and do their work within communities in one of the ten Upstate counties: Abbeville, Anderson, Gaffney, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, or Union. Successful proposals for projects funded by EU should be able to clearly demonstrate how the implementation of the initiative that they propose will benefit and provide vibrancy in the local community. These proposals may seek to produce a physical result, such as a mural, sculpture or signage that will increase the vibrancy and sense of place within a community, or implement the first of a reoccurring or annual event or program that helps grow vibrancy within a community. Examples of projects that have provided vibrancy within communities across South Carolina and the United States are being highlighted as part of the Community Vibrancy Workshops and a list of nearly 50 vibrancy projects is available on the TATT web site (www.tenatthetop.org).

    “We are very fortunate to have leaders within our region like Phil Hughes who recognize not only the importance of promoting community vibrancy, but who are also willing to help provide funding support to help communities take projects from idea to action,” said TATT Executive Director Dean Hybl.

    The application for the first ELEVATE UPSTATE Grants will be available on the TATT web site by June 1st and the application deadline is September 15th. Recipients will be announced at the final TATT Forum of 2013 to be held in late November or early December.