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.
• 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.