The Greenwood Promise is pleased to announce three Co-Chairs for The Power of Promise endowment campaign in support of expanded college access initiatives. Retired Capsugel Executive Ron Millender, former South Carolina State Senator Floyd Nicholson, and Eaton Plant Manager Brent Parris have agreed to serve as co-chairs with the launch of the campaign's quiet phase this month The Promise raised more than $5 million during its first campaign led by Jim Pfeiffer of Self Regional Healthcare in 2016.

"The Greenwood Promise represents the future for our community," says Co-Chair Floyd Nicholson. "Education is the pathway to success for our youth." In addition to providing tuition-free community college for all eligible Greenwood County high school students, the campaign will add a new component partnering with Lander University to provide scholarships for an additional 45 to 50 students annually to obtain a 4-year degree.

Phase I of The Greenwood Promise provided funding for students enrolled at Piedmont Tech or the first two years at any other South Carolina technical institution if PTC did not offer their field of study. Students must be enrolled full-time and maintain a 2.0 GPA. The Power of Promise initiative will build on the success of Phase I and address the challenges of attracting and retaining businesses, increase the candidate pool of skilled workers and positively impact economic growth by increasing earning potential. "The Greenwood Promise is more than a scholarship program," says Promise Board Chair and Campaign Co-Chair Ron Millender. "By empowering students and parents as early as kindergarten with the promise they can go to college, we are giving them the hope to realize their dreams."

Executive Director Katie Davenport notes, "It takes a dedicated volunteer to be a Campaign Co-Chair. They are the advocates who have dedicated their time, energy, and talents to enable our students to succeed and our community a better place for every person who calls Greenwood County home. We are honored to have these community leaders serve the campaign and thank them for their commitment to our organization."

With the campaign's projected success, the Greenwood Promise holds the potential to strengthen the local workforce since students enrolling in and graduating from local institutions tend to remain in the region. Moreover, the powerful influence of geographic proximity on college enrollment and the additional opportunity for internships or apprenticeships with local employers offer increased opportunities to train and retain.

According to Co-Chair Brent Parris, "The Greenwood Promise will over the long term serve to develop a strong, highly educated pipeline of technical, medical, and manufacturing talent that will propel the County's local industry into the future."

Submitted by Peggy Shriver