GREENVILLE, S.C. – Officials with Greenville County, Greenville Health System (GHS), Furman University, United Way of Greenville County and 2-1-1 unveiled a community information map today called imap that provides users an interactive look at essential services available throughout Greenville County.
“Our goal with imap is to increase community members’ awareness of and convenience of access to essential life services such as food, housing, health care, and even recreational opportunities in Greenville County,” said Shannon Herman, assistant county administrator of strategic advancement for Greenville County.
Officials said imap can also be used by decision-makers, such as health and public safety officials and county planners, or by private businesses and residents to analyze the spatial distribution of community assets and service areas to identify where services need to be added or enhanced.
“Being able to identify where there is little or no access to healthcare services, for example, enables us to make better, more informed decisions about where and how we allocate our resources,” said Jennifer Snow, director of accountable communities at GHS. “The insight gleaned from this map is invaluable as we work together with our partners to meet the healthcare needs of the greater Greenville community.”
The map was developed by Greenville County with help from students and professors at Furman University. Together, the team spent months meeting with local organizations to identify essential services across Greenville County and then used geocoding – an automated process that compares a list of addresses against a database to calculate coordinates – to plot more than 1,000 individual services on the map.
“The community information map exemplifies Furman’s philosophy of integrating hands-on, high-impact collaborative experiences as part of our students’ education,” said Dr. Charles Davis, first gentleman at Furman and a member of the United Way Board of Trustees. “Throughout this process, our students have been able to learn from and collaborate with community leaders, while also helping to develop an innovative tool that will benefit the health and well-being of the greater Greenville community. This is The Furman Advantage, the engaged learning experience we promise our students.”
Before going live today, imap underwent testing. During the testing phase, the partners saw some positive results. For example, an agency that helps the homeless was able to inform a young mother about childcare options close to her home and a library staff member was able to connect a homebound resident to a local food pantry. Additionally, local realtors have used the map to show buyers services near properties of interest.
“When people feel empowered to seek out and obtain the services they need to succeed, good things happen,” said Richard LaPratt, executive vice president of contact center services for 2-1-1. “We see numerous stories of success every year through 2-1-1, and we believe the same results are possible with imap.”
“We all want Greenville County to be a thriving community where everyone can have a safe, stable and successful life,” added United Way Board Chair Michael Cinquemani. “The community information map is yet another valuable tool in our quest to make Greenville County a place where everyone has the opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.”
To access imap, visit the United Way of Greenville County’s website or go directly to greenvilleimap.com.
About Furman University
Furman is a private, undergraduate liberal arts and sciences university of 2,800 students in Greenville, S.C. The university is noted for its rigorous academic program and strong faculty, and its 750-acre campus is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful in the nation. The university recently unveiled The Furman Advantage, a strategic plan that combines learning with immersive experiences outside the classroom, creating a personalized pathway that prepares students for lives of purpose, successful careers and community benefit.
About Greenville Health System
Greenville Health System (GHS) — an academic health system that is the largest not-for-profit healthcare delivery system in South Carolina — is committed to medical excellence through research, patient care and education. GHS offers patients an innovative network of clinical integration, expertise and technologies through its eight medical campuses, tertiary medical center, research and education facilities, community hospitals, physician practices and numerous specialty services throughout the Upstate. The 1,358-bed system is home to 15 medical residency and fellowship programs. GHS is also home to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, a joint effort of USC and GHS. Visit ghs.org for more information.
About United Way of Greenville County
United Way of Greenville County works with the entire community to build resources, focus investments, and foster partnerships that create lasting solutions to community problems. United way brings people and resources together to help individuals and families build a Cycle of Success, where children start school prepared to learn and go on to graduate, well-educated graduates find good jobs and create stable homes, and children from stable homes continue the cycle by starting school on track and prepared for success. Visit unitedwaygc.org to learn more.