Elevate Upstate grant winners announced

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The Ninety-Six Mill Village Association and Spontaneous Productions have been named the winners of the 2017 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The grant program, which was launched by Ten at the Top in 2013, provides “seed funds” to support vibrancy initiatives in communities across the Upstate, according to a news release.

Greenville’s Hughes Investments contributes at least $10,000 a year to the program with two recipients receiving $5,000 each, the release said.

“The goal of the Elevate Upstate program is to get communities thinking about what types of initiatives or programs might help spark vibrancy within their area and then provide some seed money to get some of them started,” said Hughes Investments President Phil Hughes, in the release. “In the six years we have done this program, I have been amazed by the great ideas and passion of communities across the region to grow their vibrancy and sense of place. It was a real challenge to narrow the field to five finalists and to select the recipients.”

In the five years of the Elevate Upstate Grants program, Hughes and Hughes Investments have provided a total of $80,000 to help with 24 different vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate. The five finalists for 2018 were selected from 26 applications.

The Ninety-Six Mill Village Association plans to use its Elevate Upstate grant to offer “Movie Night at the Park,” a series of free outdoor events to showcase a community park.

Spontaneous Productions plans to use its grant to to launch the inaugural Charles Townes Art and Technology Experiment, which is designed to generate awareness and gratitude for Charles Townes, a Greenville native and graduate of Furman University who won the Nobel Prize in physics. The project also aims to be a catalyst for the acceptance and encouragement of experimentation and curiosity — in technology as well as the arts — reflecting some of Townes’ ethics, the release said.

In addition to providing $10,000 to the two winners, Hughes has also pledged a $3,000 matching grant to the Piedmont Physic Garden in Union County to launch an “Environmental Arts Festival.”

For more information, visit www.tenatthetop.org.

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