Ten at the Top Announces 2014 Recipients of the Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants

Ten at the Top Announces 2014 Recipients of the Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants

Upstate, SC [November 17, 2014] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to foster collaboration, partnerships and strategic planning across the Upstate, has announced the 2014 recipients for the Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

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There were five finalists chosen from a total of 22 applications that were submitted for the two grants available in 2014. 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.

During the Our Upstate Vision/Ten at the Top Forum on November 13th the five finalists provided a brief overview of their initiative. After all presentations were given, Phil Hughes, President of Hughes Investments and a member of the Ten at the Top Community Vibrancy Task Force, announced the two recipients of the grants.

The recipients are:

Let’s Keep Travelers Rest Beautiful – Before I Die Wall – The ‘Before I Die’ wall concept has been implemented all over the world to encourage healthy discussions regarding dreams and hopes. Travelers Rest will construct several different walls to spark discussion and actions across the community.

Main Street Laurens – Finally Friday on the Square – Finally Friday on the Square will be a monthly celebration of all things Laurens with live music hosted in the historic downtown.

“I was absolutely amazed by the number of great ideas submitted for the program. It was a real challenge to narrow the field from 22 applications to five finalists, to two winners”, said Hughes. “While we cannot fund all of the finalists, I would like to provide $1,000 to the other three projects in the hopes that this will allow your projects to come to fruition.”

The other three finalists that will each receive $1,000 towards their project are:

City of Gaffney – Unforgettable Gaffney – The Unforgettable Gaffney project will create a coherent and engaging system for communicating the esthetic and historic value of properties in two historic districts in the city.

City of Clinton – Rhythm of the Rails – Rhythm of the Rails will be an annual celebration to be held the last Saturday of April as a finale of the Celebrate Clinton Month.

Pickens Revitalization Association – Pickens Main Street Challenge – The Pickens Main Street Challenge is designed to attract new businesses into downtown Pickens by providing reduced rent in currently vacant storefronts.

“The Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants are a great opportunity to provide seed funds to help communities increase the vibrancy and sense of place within their community,” said Ten at the Top Executive Director Dean Hybl. “Phil Hughes has been a great champion of the community vibrancy task force since the beginning and the idea for the grant program was his.

“Last year he surprised everyone by presenting a third grant and this year he decided to give all of the other finalists $1,000 to help get their projects started. It just illustrates how committed he is to helping our local communities grow their vibrancy and sense of place”

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Ten at the Top Passes 400 Regional Engagements

Upstate, SC [October 27, 2014] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to foster collaboration, partnerships and strategic planning across the Upstate, recently conducted the 400th regional engagement (presentations, forums, meetings, surveys) since the organization began its current phase in January 2010. The activities have included more than 22,500 participants from across the Upstate region.

Ranging from issue-based task force meetings to presentations for community organizations or gatherings of hundreds of elected officials, community & business leaders and Upstate residents discussing key issues around the economic vitality or quality of life in the Upstate, each session has helped grow the spirit of collaboration and partnerships across the Upstate region.

The issues on which TATT has convened regional meetings and encouraged collaboration focus around the five driver areas of the Our Upstate Vision (which TATT developed through feedback from more than 10,000 Upstate residents). The specific topics on which TATT has convened meetings and forums include the value of education, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, senior issues, air quality attainment, water planning, transportation & infrastructure, workforce & skill development and local community vibrancy.

In September, Ten at the Top hosted its largest event, the Upstate Regional Forum, which brought together more than 800 leaders and interested residents from across the Upstate to look at where we have been as a region, where we are now and where we are going.

“Ten at the Top has strived to elevate the conversation about how working collaboratively across the Upstate region isn’t just a ‘good idea’, but is crucial if our local communities are all going to reach their full potential,” said current TATT Chairperson Carol Burdette. “Reaching 400 meetings and activities is significant because it illustrates that TATT is actively engaging stakeholders from across the Upstate to build regional trust and grow the capacity of the region to strategically address key issues that impact our economic vitality and quality of life.”

Ten at the Top was originally formed under the name Upstate Together in 2005 as an ad hoc regional committee with the goal of encouraging regional discussions on cross-jurisdictional issues. In 2009, the group hosted the Upstate Reality Check event that brought together more than 400 leaders from across the region. It was at that point that the name of the organization was changed to Ten at the Top and it was incorporated as a non-profit.

In 2009, Upstate leaders identified a lack of regional collaboration as a barrier toward future growth and success for the region. Of respondents to a survey conducted in advance of the September 2014 Regional Summit, 94% said that they believe regional collaboration is stronger today than it was in 2009, though 60% said it is still a potential barrier if we do not continue working to build regional capacity and partnerships.

The current work plan of community activities, meetings, forums and presentations began in 2010 following the hiring of Dean Hybl as executive director. Irv Welling served as the chair of Ten at the Top through 2011, followed by Neal Workman for 2012-2013 and Burdette for the current two year term. The board of directors includes more than 50 leaders from across the ten counties of the Upstate region.

Outreach Highlights:

• TATT has hosted three Regional Summits and nine Regional Forums on topics including: regional communications, senior issues, workforce & skill development, transportation & infrastructure and natural resources. The most recent summit, in September 2014, included more than 800 participants from across the Upstate.

• In partnership with other regional organizations, TATT has convened eleven Upstate Elected Officials Meetings that bring together city, county and state elected officials as well as business and community leaders to discuss key regional issues. Among the topics that have been addressed are: economic development, transportation, city/county/state/federal communications and water resources.

• Within the five driver areas of the our Upstate Vision (Human Potential, Economic & Entrepreneurial Vitality, Sustainable Growth, Natural Beauty & Resources and Community Vibrancy), TATT has convened meetings of stakeholders from across the Upstate on many topics including: identifying barriers to educational success, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, senior issues, air quality attainment, water planning, workforce & skill development, tourism and preventive health care.

• TATT helped facilitate the development of the first long-term regional transportation partnership in the Upstate between GPATS (Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study) and SPATS (Spartanburg Area Transportation Study).

• TATT convened the seven United Ways in the region in an effort that has led to a region-wide messaging campaign around early childhood education. This marks the first-ever region-wide partnership by all the United Ways in the Upstate.

• In partnership with the Barbara Stone Foundation, TATT convened the first meeting of organizations that work with individuals with disabilities and special needs. The result has been a year-long effort to enhance communications amongst organizations and to increase programs available for individuals with disabilities and special needs.

• In 2010 TATT held a community workshop in every county in the region. In 2013 it held four Community Vibrancy Workshops across the region. Presentations have been made to organizations in every county in the region.

2014 Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grant Applications Now Available

Upstate, SC [June 18, 2014] – Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants, which are designed to provide communities in the Upstate with seed money to help develop a local initiative that promotes community or economic vibrancy. The grant program was established in 2013 by Ten at the Top (TATT) utilizing a funding commitment from Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments Inc. In 2014 two grants will be awarded with each project receiving up to $5,000 in grant support.

Organizations eligible to apply for the funding support include 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.

During the first year of the program, grants were awarded to the City of Greer Parks & Recreation Department to develop an international festival; the Blue Ridge Arts Council for a public art project in Seneca; and the City of Anderson for a public art project in their Wren Park.

Applicants must be located in and do their work within communities in one of the ten Upstate counties: Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, or Union. Successful proposals for projects funded with Elevate Upstate grants 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.

The applications are now available on the Ten at the Top website (https://tenatthetop.org/elevate-upstate-grants). Interested candidates are asked to complete an interest form by August 1st and the completed applications are due by September 15th. Interest forms and completed applications can be sent to Dean Hybl (dhybl@tenatthetop.org).

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TEN AT THE TOP ANNOUNCES FIRST RECIPIENTS OF THE HUGHES INVESTMENTS ELEVATE UPSTATE COMMUNITY VIBRANCY GRANTS

Upstate, SC [November 20, 2013] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to foster collaboration, partnerships and strategic planning across the Upstate, has announced the recipients for the first-ever Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

There were five finalists chosen from a total of 30 applications that were submitted for the two grants available in 2013. Hughes Investments is contributing $10,000 per year over the next five years to the program with two recipients each year receiving $5,000 to support a new vibrancy initiative in the Upstate.

During the Our Upstate Vision/Ten at the Top Forum on November 19th the five finalists provided a brief overview of their initiative. After all presentations were given, Phil Hughes, President of Hughes Investments and a member of the Ten at the Top Community Vibrancy Task Force, announced the two recipients of the grants.

The recipients are:

City of Anderson – Transforming utility and traffic signalization boxes and crosswalks into public art based around the book “Little Wren Lost and the Teakettle Call.”

City of Greer Parks and Recreation – Greer: An International Destination Festival will be a one-day event in Downtown Greer as part of Upstate International Month. The festival is scheduled for March 29, 2013.

Phil Hughes then surprised the attendees by announcing a third grant recipient for 2013.

“I was absolutely amazed by the number of great ideas submitted for the program. It was a real challenge to narrow the field from 30 applications to five finalists, to two winners”, said Hughes. “In fact, we couldn’t, so I am pleased to announce a third recipient.”

The third recipient is:

Blue Ridge Arts Council – “3 Part Public Art” project includes murals, custom and hand built street furniture and interactive sculptures in downtown Seneca.

“The Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants are a great opportunity to provide seed funds to help communities increase the vibrancy and sense of place within their community,” said Ten at the Top Executive Director Dean Hybl. “Phil Hughes has been a great champion of the community vibrancy task force since the beginning and the idea for the grant program was his. That he took it up a notch by announcing a third recipient just speaks to his commitment to the region and to the value growing vibrancy can have for communities in the Upstate.”

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FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR FIRST-EVER ELEVATE UPSTATE COMMUNITY VIBRANCY GRANTS

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

The five finalists were chosen from a total of 30 applications submitted for the two grants available in 2013. Hughes Investments is contributing $10,000 per year over the next five years to the program with two recipients each year receiving $5,000 to support a new vibrancy initiative in the Upstate.

The program was announced earlier this year in conjunction with the Community Vibrancy Workshops conducted by Ten at the Top across the Upstate. The workshops showcased examples from across the state and nation of communities that have created innovative programs to enhance community and economic vibrancy.

“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. “I was absolutely amazed by the number of great ideas submitted for the program. It was a real challenge to narrow the field from 30 excellent applications to five finalists.”

During the Our Upstate Vision/Ten at the Top Forum on November 19th the five finalists will each provide a brief overview of their initiative before the two 2013 recipients are announced. The forum is free and open to the public and will be held from 3-5 pm at the Embassy Suites in Greenville.

Here are the five finalists:
City of Anderson – Transforming utility and traffic signalization boxes and crosswalks into public art based around the book “Little Wren Lost and the Teakettle Call.”
Town of Calhoun Falls – Lighting project in the Blue Hole Recreational Area on Lake Russell.
Greenville County Parks, Recreation and Tourism – Swamp Rabbit Trail Mural project.
City of Greer Parks and Recreation – “Greer: An International Destination Festival” would be a one-day event in Downtown Greer as part of Upstate International Month
Blue Ridge Arts Council – “3 Part Public Art” project includes murals, custom and hand built street furniture and interactive sculptures in downtown Seneca.
The selection committee for the Elevate Upstate Grants Program includes Phil Hughes (President, Hughes Investments), Betsy Fleming (President, Converse College), and Terence Roberts (Mayor, City of Anderson).

TEN AT THE TOP AND HUGHES INVESTMENTS CREATE COMMUNITY VIBRANCY GRANT PROGRAM

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.