Women’s Leadership celebrates generosity, impact with United Way of Greenville County


Furman University President Elizabeth Davis helped celebrate the charitable impact of Greenville County women Thursday at United Way Women’s Leadership’s 18th annual Women Make a Difference Luncheon.

Davis delivered the keynote address at the event, which is held each year to honor local women donors who contribute $1,000 or more annually to United Way.

The luncheon recognized the group’s philanthropic efforts to build a “Cycle of Success” for all in Greenville County.  Women’s Leadership Chair Diana Watson said last year more than 1,700 members contributed more than $2.4 million in support of United Way programs and initiatives working towards that goal.

“Our gifts are invested in local initiatives designed to build a Cycle of Success in Greenville County, 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 those stable homes continue the cycle because they start school on track and prepared to learn,” said Watson. 

The event showcased Women’s Leadership’s direct impact on two points on the Cycle, Financial Stability through its successful “Jobs to Careers – Women Helping Women” scholarship program, and the basic needs of Life Essentials through its “Wear One, Bring One” project.

Women’s Leadership members developed the Jobs to Careers scholarship and mentoring program to address the need for greater financial stability for Greenville County women and their families, and to help remove some of the barriers that can prevent women from realizing their career goals.

The scholarship assists women in the community looking to transition from paycheck-to-paycheck jobs to more stable, long-term careers. The program offers money for education and job training, as well as a stipend and funds for transportation and childcare. So far, 39 women have received the scholarship.

The group also used the event to help women facing crises through its “Wear One, Bring One” project. Luncheon attendees brought hundreds of new women’s undergarments to be donated to women served by the Safe Harbor domestic violence shelter.

To date, the project has collected approximately 7,000 undergarments for Safe Harbor.

“When a woman leaves her home in crisis, often times she does so with only the clothes on her back,” said Women’s Leadership Vice Chair Debra Ham. “Having something as personal and essential as new underwear waiting for them at the shelter tells these women that they are safe and they are part of a community that will support them through their toughest times.”

Women’s Leadership was created in 1998 as a subcommittee of the Palmetto Society (United Way of Greenville County’s leadership giving recognition group) and now includes five professional subgroups: Women in Banking, Women Attorneys, Women in Real Estate, and Women in Science and Engineering and Women in Healthcare. The goal of Women’s Leadership is to recognize women’s philanthropic efforts in the community and to develop leadership opportunities in civic and non-profit organizations for professional women.

To become a member, or for more information on United Way Women’s Leadership and its programs, click here, or call 864-467-3551.