For more than 160 years, Furman has been a vital part of Greenville’s culture, history and economy. Summer programs for children, public arts events, lectures and workshops, and continuing education opportunities enrich the lives of residents. Numerous university organizations and programs make measurable impacts on Greenville’s economy, public health, education and quality of life. They include the Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Institute for the Advancement of Community Health (IACH), the Collaborative for Community Engaged Learning, the Riley Institute, Heller Service Corps and the Shi Center for Sustainability.
The Furman Advantage is furthered by partnerships with Prisma Health, Bon Secours, the Greenville Drive and more than 70 nonprofits who serve the Upstate, creating environments where students, faculty, staff and alumni collaborate across academic disciplines to gain and apply knowledge for the public good.
A sound investment
A recent study conducted by Furman Associate Professor of Economics Jason Jones and student Dyson Robinson ’18 measured the university’s annual economic impact on Greenville County and the surrounding Upstate counties. Furman’s economic contribution to Greenville County in 2017-18 was $288.1 million, with another $9.1 million impacting the economies of Anderson, Laurens, Pickens and Spartanburg counties.
Furman’s Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is focused on developing innovative leaders who are adaptable to a workforce that demands them to either be entrepreneurs creating new ventures or entrepreneurially minded leaders driving innovation within existing organizations. Partnerships with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s NEXT SC program and angel investor group VentureSouth have laid the foundation to extend these contributions to the greater Greenville community. In addition to talent-development programs, such as Furman’s inaugural Business and Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, Furman is collaborating with regional and local entrepreneurial networks to develop an innovation hub and business incubator space that will bring together civic, corporate and academic institutions to colocate and accelerate the development of ventures.
This year The Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) gained its 2,143rd Riley Fellow with the graduation of 153 leaders from the Upstate, Midlands and Lowcountry classes. DLI participants are identified through a rigorous process including a nomination, application and interview and are selected based on their capacity to impact their organizations and communities. Graduates become members of a powerful, cross-sector, statewide network that includes business leaders and corporate CEOs; national, state and local elected officials; school superintendents, nonprofit heads, and faith and creative leaders; and many other community leaders.
This year’s classes launched 20 community action projects across the state, part of 260 to date. These projects, connected to countless needs and people – from public education to transportation or homelessness to foster care – make a collective impact that drives immediate and lasting benefits throughout the state.
Heller Service Corps students volunteer their time and services at 70 organizations that assist Greenville residents. Students support local schools by raising money for supplies and improvements to facilities, serving the hungry in local food banks, working with the homeless in shelters and job-search programs, mentoring Greenville’s youth and enriching the lives of residents with special needs. Heller Service Corps is the largest student group on Furman’s campus, involving more than 1,800 students in service projects annually.
Senior Leaders Greenville, a program of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Furman, graduated its fifth class in May. The program empowers participants to become active in fostering better lives for seniors in the Upstate and equips them to be advocates for the senior population. Senior Leaders is a natural extension of OLLI, which has provided opportunities for learning, creativity, health and well-being, and personal connection to Greenville retirees for more than 25 years.