GREENVILLE, SC – Think Up Consulting (Think Up) has announced a partnership with TreesUpstate to launch a reforesting initiative in underserved communities in celebration of the firm’s 20th anniversary. The partnership will provide the Upstate business community with a framework for addressing tree coverage disparities in the Upstate through “NeighborWoods,” a project designed to address intersecting issues related to equity, environment, and education. To launch the project, Think Up has provided, and planted, over 20 trees to enhance green space at Robert E. Cashion Elementary School.
Think Up will continue to partner with TreesUpstate throughout 2023 in efforts to engage Upstate businesses in a large-scale NeighborWoods planting initiative to advance the educational and environmental benefits of tree canopy in low-to-moderate income areas. NeighborWoods is based in research showing that low-income areas have an average of 25% less tree coverage than mid-to-high income communities. Additionally, the program supports the proven cognitive and developmental benefits associated with tree cover, including a link to higher academic performance.
The Principal of Robert E. Cashion Elementary, Ryan Streetman, approached TreesUpstate in 2022 with a plan to promote the well-being of his students, and the surrounding community, through nature. Beyond the aesthetic and environmental benefits derived from tree-filled greenspace, mounting data linking tree canopy in communities to developmental benefits for children motivated Streetman to realize his vision.
TreesUpstate saw Streetman’s proposal as a natural extension of the organization’s NeighborWoods initiative which is focused on addressing tree disparity in underserved communities. The next step for TreesUpstate was to find the right resource to provide funding for an initiative that could make a significant impact.
“Research shows that there are cognitive, developmental, and mental health benefits to having additional trees. This prompted me to reach out to TreesUpstate to see if there were able to help Robert E. Cashion Elementary add more trees to our school. Thanks to the generosity and resources of TreesUpstate and Think Up, our campus is filled with new trees. TreesUpstate and Think Up provided the trees, materials needed for planting and even the volunteers. Both were amazing to partner with,” said Streetman.
“We are proud to announce that TreesUpstate has now planted a total of 78 trees alongside over 200 volunteers and nearly 500 students at Robert E. Cashion. Soon after Principal Streetman approached us with a place for more trees, Think Up contacted us to find out how we could partner. When we heard about Think Up’s focus on enriching the lives of others, sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, we knew they were the right partner to launch this initiative,” said Joelle Teachey, Executive Director & Certified Arborist at TreesUpstate.
Historically, TreesUpstate has focused on using the organization’s general funding for similar projects. The partnership with Think Up provided a way to create a new model for funding the NeighborWoods initiative that allows the business community to engage in a shared mission to strengthen the Upstate while addressing racial and economic disparities in environment, education, and wellness.
“Think Up’s philosophy centers around transformative outcomes that are only possible when we invest in the core of each person, each community, and each organization. Our partnership with TreesUpstate, and investment in Robert E. Cashion Elementary’s greenspace, is a symbol of that approach. The values that have brought us to this 20-year milestone are well-represented in this project’s focus on sustainability, equity, and learning,” said Ron Doney, Founder and CEO of Think Up.
TreesUpstate and Think Up will use Robert E. Cashion Elementary as a model to seamlessly roll out NeighborWoods as a reforesting initiative that seeks to empower underserved communities through tree equity.
Think Up Consulting integrates brand, talent, and culture to fuel sustainable growth for organizations ranging from mid-sized, rapidly evolving companies to Fortune 500 brands. For over 20 years, Think Up has delivered customized solutions that elevate customer experiences and lead to high-impact business outcomes by activating internal cultures. Think Up’s unique process connects the people of an organization to the brand and strategy of an organization through a holistic approach combining strategy, brand, change management, events, and learning. To learn more, visit thinkupconsulting.com.
TreesUpstate is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by concerned citizens. Our mission is to plant, promote, and protect trees in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens County. We plant trees in parks, schools, and neighborhoods; promote the benefits of trees; and protect our urban forest by providing education and technical support to help inform policy and systems change.
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