2022 Elevate Upstate Grant Summaries – Finalists

    2022 Elevate Upstate Grant Summaries – Finalists

    “I” Marks the Spot Scavenger Hunt – City of Inman (Inman)

    “I” Marks the Spot will be a scavenger hunt in our downtown/Historic district. Our vision for this project is to develop an interactive scavenger hunt in our downtown. We believe that this will be of value to our community in many ways. The plan is to use a combination of bronze peach place markers and “vanishing” paint to create an interactive scavenger hunt for people to use to explore our downtown and learn about important pieces of our history, along with current places of importance. 


    Children’s Art in the Park – The Shaw Center (Clemson)

    Neighborhood children will be invited to participate in painting individual boards to create a fun, diverse, and eclectic picket fence. The fence will serve as a backdrop for the park located in the middle of the neighborhood. They will be provided with a single board (already painted with primer), a variety of paint colors, a protective apron, and brushes and other painting supplies. They will be instructed to paint to represent their family, themselves, their neighborhood, things they love to do, Monarch butterflies – endless possibilities. We will also include educational information for them about Monarch butterflies and the recent recognition of Clemson as a Monarch City, so butterflies will be an option to include in their artwork. To incorporate an educational opportunity in collaboration with the SC Botanical Gardens, we plan to offer a field trip offered through the Littlejohn Community Center and CatBUS. The kids can apply what they learned by illustrating through painting on the fence boards. The Arts Center staff will also provide artists to help the kids brainstorm and sketch ideas before actually painting their boards. 


    Honea Path’s Got Talent – Town of Honea Path (Honea Path)

    The Honea Path Planning Committee plans to reinstitute a successful one-time event that happened over 6 years ago: Honea Path’s Got Talent. This one-season event was very popular, but the event organizer only intended to provide the event for one year. The Town of Honea Path is under new leadership for the past 3 years and has placed a high priority on revitalizing the downtown by adding and enhancing events that draw tourists from surrounding areas to Honea Path. Honea Path’s Got Talent will be a reinvented 6-week event allowing people of all ages and backgrounds in Honea Path and the surrounding areas to showcase their talent. 


    Open Doors Studio Tours Spartanburg – Artists Collective of Spartanburg (Spartanburg)

    The Open Doors Studio Tour is a chance to showcase the unique talents and diversity of the visual arts community of Spartanburg County. The Artists Collective Spartanburg is working with a committee of arts professionals and organizations from the area to establish the event. None of these organizations are funding Open Doors, and the event could be coordinated by any of these organizations in the future. The Open Doors Studio Tour is a self-guided 2-day event that is free to the public. Participating artists will open their studios to show and sell their work from 10 AM – 5 PM on Saturday, April 22, and from 12 – 5 PM on Sunday, April 23. Visitors will be directed by a map on the Open Doors Website, and a printed map inside the Open Doors catalog. 


    Polar Experience – City of Clinton (Clinton)

    With the closest movie theater being over 30-minutes away, many children in Clinton will never get to experience what it is like to see a movie on the big screen. However, by bringing the big screen to the depot, they could finally get to experience something magical.  The Polar Express is all about a magical experience that will be brought to life, not only for the children but also for the adults. With hot cocoa all around and the chairs nicely spaced out with a chill in the air, nothing says winter is here like the Polar Express. 

    Upstate Warrior Solution

    Upstate Warrior Solution

    Upstate Warrior Solution (UWS) is celebrating 10 years of service to our local veterans!

    Founded in 2012, this community-based, 501(c)3 nonprofit provides holistic services to veterans, first responders, and their families in the Upstate of South Carolina. UWS’ mission is to connect their clients to the services they need to thrive, lead them through the process of self-empowerment, and inspire the community to embrace them as valuable neighbors.

    UWS takes a holistic, collaborative approach to achieving their ultimate goals of eliminating veteran suicide, homelessness, and unemployment. Their case managers work with a robust network of community partners to provide wrap-around services for housing, employment, mental health, recreation, VA benefits, and more. Through their referral pipelines with health care systems, law enforcement agencies, churches, nonprofits, and businesses, UWS works to build an environment where there’s no wrong door for veterans to access the help they need.

    According to UWS President, Charlie Hall, those needs are often complex. “Our experience shows that there’s always a need beneath the need,” says Hall. “A veteran may come to us for help with housing, but we also find that they have untreated PTSD or legal issues that are keeping them from holding down a job. Our team takes a knee-to-knee approach to get to know our clients and understand their needs as a whole person.”

    In 2023, UWS will take their community collaboration to the next level with the opening of the Rupert Huse Veteran Center in Greenville. The first of its kind in the region, this center will bring service providers together under one roof to help streamline services. “The idea to have a one-stop shop where clients can address a range of needs without having to travel to multiple locations,” says Charlie Hall. At this new resource center, veterans and their families will be able to apply for VA home loans, access legal services, connect with mental health resources, attend art therapy classes, and much more.

    Currently, UWS is gearing up to serve local veterans and their families through the holidays and winter months. This includes engaging the community for their Operation Christmas Blessing, a sponsorship program where individuals or groups can help provide presents and necessities to local veteran families in need. It also includes supporting Operation Stuff the Duffel, Greenville County Veterans Affairs’ drive to collect hygiene items for homeless veterans.

    Since 2012, UWS has connected with over 9,000 veterans and their families, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg with an estimated 100,000 veterans living in the Upstate. There’s still much work to be done to improve access to care for veterans, but UWS is committed to the work and excited to see what the next decade of service will bring.

    Connect with UWS:


    Facebook: @UpstateWarriorSolution

    Instagram: @upstatewarrior

    Veteran One

    Veteran One

    Finding top talent for your business – where to hire veterans and why

    COVID-19 has dramatically altered the face of the job market both for employees and employers. Many businesses are struggling to find skilled workers to fill open positions across industries, including hospitality, food, tech, and construction.

    But every business owner knows that it’s not enough just to fill open positions – they need to hire individuals with the right skills, temperaments, and work ethics to see consistent success. That’s why the best way to find good talent for open jobs isn’t to widen the applicant pool. Instead, it’s a better idea to specifically hire veterans.

    With their practical skills, hard-earned experiences, and shared codes of conduct, the growing pool of military veteran job seekers is oftentimes the best place to find candidates for your business’s open jobs.

    The value of veterans’ skills and experiences

    Why hire veterans in the first place? Every veteran, regardless of their rank or position, learns several key skills and develops personal characteristics that they share with their veteran brothers and sisters. All of these skills are vital to corporate America, no matter the industry or niche. For example, transitioning military veterans are trained in core skills and values like:

    • Problem-solving
    • Excellent work ethics
    • Leadership
    • Adaptability
    • High performance, even under pressure
    • And more

    It’s easy to see how these qualities can be valuable for any civilian job. But veterans also bring their experiences from their military postings to their new careers.

    When you hire a veteran, you aren’t just hiring an appropriate candidate. You’re hiring a go-getter, a self-starter with leadership skills, and a team player through and through. For business owners that only want the best for their companies, veterans are the obvious choice for future job openings.

    Where to hire veterans

    Fortunately, the federal government and various nonprofit organizations make it easy for any business to hire veterans, if they choose.

    For example, July 25th is National Hire a Veteran Day. Since 2017, National Hire a Veteran Day has been an opportunity for veterans and employers to connect through

    promotional programs, online job boards, and more. Business owners looking to hire vets should double down on their hiring efforts on and around this important date.

    Additionally, companies can take advantage of several resources to connect to veteran job seekers, including:

    Does hiring vets make sense for your company?


    In fact, looking for vets to fill the open positions at your company makes more sense than looking for civilians in many cases. Their skills and shared work ethic combined make veterans the ideal choice for new civilian jobs in all industries.

    Perhaps most important of all, hiring veterans helps America’s bravest men and women find a place in civilian life. The transition from active service to civilian life can be difficult for many. Hiring a veteran is great for your company’s bottom line, but it’s also good for America as a whole.

    If you’d like to learn more about Veteran One and their scientific approach to helping veterans find their purpose and corporations find valuable talent, reach out here.

    Resources accessed on July 10th 2021 –

    US Department of Labor – Hire a Veteran

    US Department of Labor – RVEC

    National Labor Exchange – Indexing Request

    US Department of Veterans Affairs – Veteran Readiness & Employment