Letter from the President & CEO

Like most of you, we at Hollingsworth love seeing Greenville on best-of lists. We like hearing that Greenville is growing and that it has a quality of life that is attractive to so many people. We don’t like seeing Greenville on the worst lists. Where too many people have a hard time getting ahead, especially based on the neighborhood they grow up in or the color of their skin. Our growth rates and opportunity rates need to match up.

We’ve done deep thinking on how best to use all that Hollingsworth has, from our relationships to our financial assets, to make that happen.  During this time of reflection, the COVID-19 pandemic and our nation’s heightened focus on racial inequities has had, and continues to have, a profound influence on our work.

The pandemic served as an important reminder of who is “essential” to our community’s success, yet those same people are often one paycheck away from losing their car or their home or not being able to put food on the table for their family. They work hard enough but don’t get paid enough for their hard work. Housing is too expensive or too far away from their jobs, making it too costly for them to get to the grocery stores, hospitals, and businesses, where we rely on them.

The national attention on racial inequities was also a stark reminder of the impact of racism, which results in undeniable and unacceptable facts. For example, our Black and Hispanic/Latinx neighbors earn half that of their white neighbors here. We believe that our community can do better.

Amidst this backdrop, Hollingsworth has set our sights on a vision we hope you’ll join us in pursuing – a vibrant, just, and inclusive Greenville where equitable opportunities exist for all to advance and thrive. We believe we can make the most of our remarkable growth to benefit us all – to have a future where we all have a real chance to get ahead.

Here’s how we will make progress: collectively remove the systemic barriers that hold people back based on race, place, and socioeconomic status, and strengthen the pathways that propel all people forward. This means finding ways for everyone to have career pathways that pay a living wage. We are sharpening our focus on the barriers and pathways to the education to career pipeline so that students graduate high school prepared for college and career; attain a post-secondary credential; and access great jobs that keep them here. We also want to see more people live in housing that they can afford and with access to reliable and efficient ways to get around – both of which make it easier for people to stay on track and make their best life here.

No single organization, or even a few, can remove barriers and create pathways so Greenville gets on more best lists and never makes it on the worst ones. It takes the collective effort of public, private, nonprofit, and neighborhood leaders to create the future we all desire. Hollingsworth has an important role to play to bring people together, amplify the work that shows us the way forward, and take brave stands against accepting barriers that keep some of our neighbors from having the opportunities we all want for ourselves and our children. We are aligning all of our assets – relationships, real estate, investments, and grants – to help bring ideas to life that will make Greenville all we want it to be.

We have a lot of work to do to recover from the pandemic, address the disparities that hold people back, and build our community into one where everyone wants to live and where everyone can advance and thrive. We invite you to learn more about us and to exchange ideas about how best to create an equitable future for Greenville.

Let’s work together to move from an economy that works for some to a just one that works for all. We all stand to win.