Pickens, SC – Upcountry Fiber Foundation, the philanthropic arm and permanent endowment of internet service provider Upcountry Fiber, gave $24,320 to three Upstate non-profit organizations. This is the first time the foundation, which was created in September 2022, has awarded grants. Upcountry Fiber Foundation supports non-profit organizations in Anderson, Northern Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and Northern Spartanburg counties that serve the community with education, youth, culture, arts, and health and human services.
The three Upcountry Fiber Foundation inaugural grant recipients are:
• Golden Corner Food Pantry of Seneca, SC, which received $10,000 to provide much needed groceries for individuals and families dealing with food insecurity.
• Lakes and Bridges Charter School of Easley, SC, which received $5,000 for its LEAP (Learn, Experience, Apply, Participate) Program which offers students with dyslexia opportunities to develop and strengthen their creative interests and natural gifts through weekly clubs that could lead to future vocational and professional pursuits.
• Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc. of Seneca, SC, which received $9,320 to provide pre-college and career explorational programming to first-generation, limited income high school students and their parents in Oconee County.
“We could not be prouder to have these three charitable organizations to be our first grant recipients,” said Jim Lovinggood, president and CEO, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and co-chair of Upcountry Fiber Foundation. “Our goal is to support local organizations that will make an immediate and direct impact on the people they serve, which we know each of them will do with the Upcountry Fiber Foundation grant awards.”
Upcountry Fiber, which bridges the digital divide by bringing broadband internet service to rural and other under and unserved communities, was created in 2020 through a partnership between Blue Ridge Electric Co-op (BREC) and WCFIBER, a subsidiary of WCTEL. These two utility cooperatives are known for their long history of giving back to their local communities. They launched the foundation to continue the 23-year legacy of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative’s Blue Ridge Fest, an annual event that raised more than $3 million for area non-profits by bringing people together around their love of classic cars, music, and family.
Upcountry Fiber Foundation held its first charity golf tournament in September 2022, which raised $124,655 to start the fund. On July 28, 2023, the foundation will hold its first charity concert, Southern Fried Circuit, featuring country music stars Darius Rucker and Lindsay Ell at the William A. Floyd Amphitheatre at the Anderson Civic Center in Anderson, SC, to continue to raise funds for the foundation’s endowment for its long-term growth.
“When you support Upcountry Fiber Foundation, you are lifting up your neighbors who need a little more help to thrive,” said Jeff Wilson, president and CEO of WCFIBER and co-chair of Upcountry Fiber Foundation. “Every donation to the foundation, and every Southern Fried Circuit charity concert ticket and sponsorship sold makes a difference right here where we live.”
About Upcountry Fiber Foundation
The Upcountry Fiber Foundation (UFF) is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as the philanthropic arm of Upcountry Fiber. Founded in Spring 2022 by Upcountry Fiber’s two governing organizations: Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and WCFIBER, UFF established a permanent endowment that will enrich the lives of residents in the Upcountry Fiber and Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative service territories. UFF will proudly offer financial support to philanthropic organizations that serve the community in the interests of education, youth, culture, arts, health, and human services.
About Upcountry Fiber
Upcountry Fiber is a high-speed fiber internet provider to the five counties of Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg. Established in Fall 2020, Upcountry Fiber is the product of a partnership between Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and WCFIBER, a subsidiary of West Carolina Telephone Cooperative. Founded by organizations created to electrify and connect rural areas of South Carolina; decades later, Upcountry Fiber’s mission is to bridge the digital divide. Offering symmetrical internet speeds up to 1 Gbps over a fiber network, Upcountry Fiber has the fastest and most reliable high-speed internet in the area. To learn more about Upcountry Fiber, visit us at www.UpcountryFiber.com.
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