Ten Counties. One Upstate. Stronger Together

Elevate Upstate Grants

Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grants

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 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.

How To Apply

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 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.

2018 Elevate Upstate Grant Applications are now open. Interest forms will be due August 1st, with applications due September 15th.
Please find links to both the interest form and application below.

2018 Elevate Upstate Interest Form
2018 Elevate Upstate Grant Application

If you have any questions, contact Dewey Evans at devans@tenatthetop.org or 864-283-2317

2017 Grant Recipients
The two $5,000 recipients for 2017 are:

Main Street Laurens USA | Food Truck Plaza– As a part of a larger Downtown Master Plan for the City of Laurens, the Food Truck Plaza will dedicate space within the city where food trucks will 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.

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

In addition to providing $10,000 to the two winners, Hughes also pledged a $2,000 matching grant to each of the three other finalists. If they raise $2,000 towards completing their project, he will provide a matching $2,000 contribution. The other three finalists were the City of Landrum for their Art of the Horse project, the Abbeville County Farmers Market for their Farm to Fork Dinner and the City of Seneca and Blue Ridge Arts Council for their Art Wall at Monarch Park.

2016 Grant Recipients

2016 Elevate Upstate Grant Recipients

The 2016 Award Recipient:
Expand Your Wings - Town of West PelzerThe 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."

Watch the video below for an update on the 2016 winner:

*Phil Hughes, creator of the Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants, was extremely impressed with the all of the finalists that he announced he was donating $1,000 to those finalists projects that were not chosen and they include, City of Pickens, Hub-Bub in Spartanburg and Children & Choices/Hello Saville in Union and Spartanburg).

2015 Grant Recipients
2015 Elevate Upstate Grant Recipients

2015 Elevate Upstate Grant Recipients

The 2015 Award Recipients Recipients include:
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.

*Phil Hughes, creator of the Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants, was extremely impressed with the all of the finalists that he announced he was donating $2,500 to two additional finalists projects that were not chosen and they include, 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.

Click the image below to watch a video about the 2015 grant recipients.
2014 Grant Recipients
2014 Elevate Upstate Grant Recipients

2014 Elevate Upstate Grant Recipients

The 2014 Award Recipients Recipients include:
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.

*Phil Hughes, creator of the Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants, was extremely impressed with the all of the finalists that he announced he was donating $1,000 to those finalists projects that were not chosen and they include, the City of Gaffney – The Unforgettable Gaffney project to create a coherent and engaging system for communicating the esthetic and historic value of properties in two historic districts in the city. The City of Clinton – 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. And Pickens Revitalization Association – The Pickens Main Street Challenge is designed to attract new businesses into downtown Pickens by providing reduced rent in currently vacant storefronts.

Click the image below to see the 2014 Elevate Upstate Grant Recipient Updates and how their initiatives have impacted their communities.
Elevate Upstate Grant icon

2013 Grant Recipients
2013 EU Grant Recipients

2013 Elevate Upstate Grant Recipients

The 2013 Award Recipients include:
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 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.*

*Phil Hughes, creator of the EU Grants, handed out three awards this year due to the impressive amounts of applications received.

Click the image below to watch a video about the 2013 grant recipients.
Elevate Upstate Grant icon

Need ideas?

Click on the image below to download the Community Vibrancy Booklet from the 2013 Community Vibrancy Workshops.