Grassroots Leaders Embark on Journey to Create Community Change

September 25, 2012

SPARTANBURG, SC – September 26, 2012 – Twenty-five Spartanburg County residents are embarking on a new journey to improve the community by utilizing the skills they have gleaned from their participation in the 2012 Grassroots Leadership Development Institute.  A graduation ceremony was held at the Spartanburg Marriott on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, with over 130 present to show their support. 

The Grassroots Leadership Development Institute is a special initiative of The Spartanburg County Foundation.  This seven month leadership training program is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skill-set, and resources to be effective in leading change at the grassroots level.  Participants meet one Saturday a month to increase their ability to make a positive difference in their neighborhoods and in the greater Spartanburg community. 

For the past six years, the City of Spartanburg has joined the Foundation as a sponsor by sending several of the City’s local neighborhood leaders through the Institute, thereby increasing their ability to bring about significant change in their neighborhoods. 

The 2012 Grassroots Leadership Development Institute graduates are Allie Ballenger, Sherry Barrett, Larry D. Black, Bennie Brewton Boyd, Sarah C. Butler, Demian Carpenter, Susan M. Pfister Cartwright, Stacey Dulin, Kara Ferguson, Jasmine Horton, Brenten Johnson, Michael Lamont Lee, Stella Marlene McJimpsey, Lekesa P. Miller, Shawntae Moore, Theron Moore, Brenda S. Oglesby, Patrick Prince, Richard Rhodes, Cheryl Somerset, Gwen Suber-Wilson, Meredith M. Talford, Ashley Thomason, Cindy Tobias, and Lawyer Watson, Jr.

The ceremony recognized these participants, as well as commended them for their leadership in our community.  The program featured remarks from Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, president of Spartanburg Methodist College, and class reflections from 2012 graduates Sherry Barrett, Patrick Prince, and Sarah Butler.

Since its inception in 2004, over 200 individuals have graduated from the Institute and serve the community in various leadership roles.

The Grassroots Leadership Development Institute is now accepting applications for its 2013 session.  For more information regarding the Institute or to obtain an application, please contact Tara Weese at The Spartanburg County Foundation at (864) 582.0138 or visit

About The Spartanburg County Foundation
The Spartanburg County Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging community engagement and responding to community needs.  Established in 1943, The Spartanburg County Foundation is the oldest community foundation in South Carolina.  Additional information about the Foundation is available at