Upstate Mediation Center Announces 2023 Peacemaker

Greenville, SC – The Upstate Mediation Center (“UMC”) is delighted to announce Gregory Ward as the UMC’s 2023 Peacemaker. Mr. Ward was nominated for his extraordinary work in founding Bridge City Coffee, a transformative coffee shop and roaster that redefines the concept of a “for profit” business. He accomplished this with a people-centric, three-tier impact-based business model: fostering meaningful relationships with coffee bean farmers, prioritizing staff development with a growth mindset, active empathy, and a pursuit of excellence, and serving as a bridge for non-profit community partners. The name “Bridge City” symbolizes Mr. Ward’s unwavering commitment to fostering healing, unity, and community building through diverse initiatives. This vision is encapsulated in Bridge City’s slogan “meet in the middle,” which aims to create a more vibrant and inclusive Greenville for all.

Mr. Ward is truly living Bridge City Coffee’s mission to build value and hope in people through coffee. Mr. Ward recently stated, “Seeing the impact of what we do on people’s lives has honestly been the fuel that keeps me going through all the fears, failures, and challenges.” The UMC Board of Directors feel Mr. Ward’s work in the community exemplifies the purpose of the Peacemaker Award.

The Peacemaker Award is designed to recognize a member of the community who has made a significant difference in promoting tolerance, building good will and understanding, resolving conflict, and striving for peace.

Mr. Ward’s name will be added to a plaque recognizing past Peacemakers at the Peacemaker Bench in Cleveland Park. The Peacemaker Bench was commissioned in 2019 by UMC and created by Greenville artisan blacksmith Ryan Calloway.

The Peacemaker Award will be presented at UMC’s Peacemaker Celebration on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at Endeavor.

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The Upstate Mediation Center is a non-profit organization that offers a voluntary alternative to the adversarial Court process by resolving disputes through use of mediation. The Upstate Mediation Center aims to promote the use of mediation and other non-adversarial means of resolving conflicts and to nurture peace by restoring and strengthening family, business and community relationships. For more information about the center and the Peacemaker Celebration, see

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