Building an Inclusive Economy
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of the Council on Foundations (COF). SECF has partnered with COF and The Spartanburg County Foundation on a two-day convening in Spartanburg, Inclusive Economic Prosperity in the South, where we will consider the factors that make up a healthy local and regional economy that strives to be inclusive and promotes innovation. Learn more and register here!
Our economic landscape today looks very different than it did 25 years ago. This pattern of change will inevitably continue as technological advancements are rapidly introduced to the world.
To adapt to this new landscape, foundations must be willing to shift and evolve with the changing communities we serve. Seventy-five years ago, our founder— Walter Scott Montgomery—had a vision of introducing community philanthropy to Spartanburg County to meet the needs of the entire area. His vision began with a $10,000 investment that has evolved into a $213 million philanthropic organization that is continuously working to improve the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging local engagement, and responding to community needs.
A great thought leader in our community, Roger Milliken, lived by this motto, “Innovate or die.” Community institutions would do well to live by those words to ensure that our organizations continue to think ahead and maximize community impact by deploying innovative solutions to the issues facing our region. The success that the Spartanburg County Foundation has seen over the years is partly because of its ability to look ahead, remain flexible, and change when necessary to address local issues.
This is an exciting time for Spartanburg. Last year, our county was selected to participate in Manpower Development Corp.’s (MDC) Network for Southern Economic Mobility, which focuses on building pathways of prosperity for low-income young people between the ages of 14 and 24, by deepening, accelerating, and aligning strategic investments for systemic change. Because of our focus on this important topic, we are pleased to partner with the Council on Foundations in hosting the first Inclusive Economic Prosperity Convening in the South on May 23-24 in Spartanburg. We are happy to see the region setting the context for future national discussions that will take place over the next two years.
During the convening, funders of all types will gather together to explore how philanthropy can be a driving force that promotes broad prosperity. The robust program that will be presented will explore idea exchanges with both peers and subject matter experts on topics such as community leadership, impact investing, resource alignment, and competitive talent development.
Economic mobility is inextricably linked with economic prosperity and is the common thread that helps to propel communities forward. We believe that continued education around these issues is necessary at both the staff and board levels and this convening is designed for both audiences. Register your staff and board members today. You don’t want to miss this opportunity for innovative idea-sharing and peer-expert learning!
Mary Thomas is chief operating officer of The Spartanburg County Foundation.