Community Foundation honors its first “Community Hero” recipient

Jeff Smith, left, and Clay Sprouse.

Clay Sprouse will be the first to say that many people were involved in the #TeamGreenwood initiative to provide assistance to furloughed restaurant and bar workers in the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic. But if you ask those who were involved, they all say that the spark started with Sprouse.

An active presence on the music scene in Greenwood, Sprouse realized as soon as the Governor announced that many small businesses would have to close indefinitely that many restaurant workers and wait staff would need a way to replace the earnings they would lose from tips and other gratuities.

At the same time, Steve Riley, owner of Emerald Ink and Stitches had created the #teamgreenwood concept where people could buy a t-shirt emblazoned with the hashtag, and the proceeds from each sale would go to area restaurant workers to help make up for lost tips and wages. Clay piggybacked on that concept with a series of nightly live streamed concerts featuring area musicians. The “Until Further Notice” series of virtual concerts raised awareness of the #teamgreenwood project with artists encouraging people to go to their favorite restaurants, buy t-shirts, and support the staff. Artists who depend on performing live for their income were also invited to use their live stream shows to seek donations either for themselves or to assist other charitable efforts. Sprouse was also a concept partner in the very successful viral remake of Don McClean’s “American Pie” single that also featured numerous local artists putting their unique spin on one of the country’s most enduring rock anthems.

Because of his ingenuity and initiative, the Greenwood County Community Foundation felt that Clay Sprouse was deserving of its first “Community Hero” honor. “Clay represents what is so good about our community,” said GCCF President Jeff Smith. “People pull together and support one another. This is a classic example of that support.”

The Community Foundation will have an eye and ear out to learn about other Greenwood Community Heroes. If the public knows of anyone performing good deeds or acts of kindness, they are encouraged to call the Foundation office at 223-1524 or email Jeff Smith at jsmith@greenwoodcf.org.

Submitted by Jeff Smith