Anne Ellefson works to help Upstate families, children


Current position: Deputy general counsel for academics and community affairs for the Greenville Health System

Area of practice: Formerly commercial real estate; now in-house with health care institution

Education: Salem College, University of South Carolina Bachelor of Arts (English), University of South Carolina School of Law JD

Community involvement: Currently on board at Hollingsworth Funds, Verdae Development, SCTAC and its subsidiary ITIC, Greenville Local Development Corporation, Southern First Bank, and South Carolina Education Communications Inc. (related entity to SCETV Endowment)

During Anne Ellefson’s nearly 40-year career, she has touched many aspects of Greenville. She began her legal work at Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., where she focused on commercial real estate development and was a part of many iconic Greenville developments such as RiverPlace and the ONE building. She now serves as general counsel for academics and community affairs for the Greenville Health System, where she is working with universities in South Carolina to better the community’s health.

She has served in leadership positions at numerous organizations and groups in the Upstate, including Junior League of Greenville, where she was one of the first to fund the initiative for a performing arts center downtown, now the Peace Center. She was also the chair of the first United Way campaign in South Carolina to raise more than $10 million. Ellefson is a former president of the South Carolina Bar Association.

Despite her countless commitments and leadership positions, Ellefson makes time to ensure that she is doing good in the Upstate community. She has worked with these groups to create better legislation for children, victims of abuse, at-risk-after-school students, and substance abuse victims. Ellefson is a recipient of the Lifetime of Charitable Giving Award, which further solidifies all she has done for the community.

What is the importance of public service to you?

I grew up in a family where public service was important, so I learned that lesson very early. We are fortunate to live in a great community, and I strongly believe I should do my part to help keep it that way and to help improve it where needed. And, I enjoy it!

You have worked to pass legislation including penny-taxes to fund daylong kindergarten and other child-focused issues. Why are children and family issues important to you?

I am not normally very political, but where I can join in to advocate for initiatives that will help to better the education of our children I feel I should. To be trite, our children are the future for Greenville — we need to do everything that we can to help educate them properly and to help them lead healthy, stable lives.

How has working on family and children’s legislation impacted your work in the community?

I have been drawn to work with nonprofit organizations that are impacting the lives of children and families in the Greenville area.

You have also focused on real estate development law for much of your career and touched many core pieces of Greenville development. How do you feel that your work in development has affected the Greenville community?  

It was exciting to be involved in projects that provided economic development advancements in the area. I’m amazed at how much development has occurred in Greenville during my career.

You have served on the board of countless groups and organizations such as United Way of Greenville County, the Junior League of Greenville, the South Carolina Bar Association, and more. What is the importance of giving back to the community through leadership?

I am lucky enough to have the things in life I need: a stable and wonderful family; education; economic stability; and a great job, to name the big ones. It seems only right that I should work with organizations who are trying to better the lives of those who are not so lucky.

How does your work as deputy general counsel for academics and community affairs benefit the community of GHS?

I am working on the development of a shared health sciences center where GHS is partnering with Furman, Clemson, and USC to work toward improving the health of our community. We will be working hard at workforce development to meet the health care needs of the area, as well as innovation and economic development.

You have received a lot of recognition for your efforts in the community. How do you stay grounded and focused on the issues you are passionate about without getting caught up in the politics?

As I said before, I am not very political and try to keep the big picture in mind; trying to focus on what is good for our community.


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