Philanthropically minded business’s are the ones that will last and thrive. There is certainly a need for donors to give money to a cause or for volunteers to sacrifice time to serve. Those are two philanthropic mediums I do not at all want to downplay.
However, those mediums, generally, aren’t going to be permanent fixes for something that is completely broken. Sure, you played a part, maybe even a big part, in solving a problem. You were a piece. But, more often than not, it will take a village to find a solution to fix a problem. The challenge is organizing and uniting the village to a cause. Putting the pieces together is the hard part.
I had the privilege of sitting down with two organizers, two uniters, that have been able to take the leverage they had with their business and truly make a difference in the community.
Meet Beverly and Judy: owners of Teez Ties & More.
TT&M started in Beverly’s Alterations shop, which she owned and ran for 20 years. It started with a simple customer request. Beverly’s already well established customer base served as a strong platform to launch TT&M.
Now, together they can create virtually anything they are asked to do from men’s ties to baby clothes. “We never planned or intended to do anything like this, it just happened,” Judy told me.
Now Beverly and Judy regularly go to festivals all over the upstate toting their charming handmade products.
That’s not all they bring with them, though.
They bring a message.
A message that they want to spread through the relationships they’ve created within their business. As a transplant to Greenville, I learned a lot from sitting down and speaking with these two ladies. I hope that this blog helps spread their message.
“Berea is one of the schools that gets left out in South Carolina,” they told me, both of them are alumni.
“We were involved in helping raise 35,000 dollars in six weeks for the Berea High School Band in order to get them uniforms. They had been competing and winning competition for not having uniforms. There was nothing more rewarding than watching the band perform in their brand new uniforms for the first time.”
Both Beverly and Judy are members of a committee that works with the county in building Berea back up. They’ve gone to Swamp Rabbit Station at Berea and planted plants there themselves, and see to it that they are watered. They’re brother was even the sole reason for the train being at the Station, but that’s a whole different blog post in of itself.
Our conversation continued, and they shared with me their latest project that they’re working towards.
Due to a lack of funding, Berea High School has been unable to obtain the necessary equipment or proper track. Because of this, the students of BHS haven’t had a home track meet in 16 years. It’s a seemingly endless cycle because there’s no way to funnel proceeds from a track meet if you can’t host one to begin with.
Then they told me the story of Kennedy Dennis. Kennedy belongs to the class of 2017 at BHS. She is a three time state champion in female track. She practices on asphalt, rather than the standard rubber track, and she has never been able to perform in front of her school. On top of all of that, she's looking to potentially perform in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Beverly and Judy are making it their mission to ensure that Kennedy gets to race at her own High School for her senior year. The track is being laid as I type this, but there is still work to be done and equipment to be bought.
Beverly and Judy have incredible hearts for Berea, and they passed it on to me. Their business gave them the opportunity to be true philanthropists, which, in the same breath, further allows their business to thrive.
They haven’t been alone through any of this. “We are teaming up with a large group of people to get people involved in making a difference. It’s not just us doing this. Berea is neglected, and many people have the wrong perception of Berea. Our mission is to be advocates for the community.”
Beverly and Judy have dedicated their hearts, minds, souls, time, money, blood, sweat, and tears towards their community. “We are always thinking. Always discussing ideas. If we talk about it, we are going to do it. We do what we say we are going to do, and we don’t need the limelight. As long as it gets done, we don’t care about getting and credit.”
This is true philanthropy, folks. The business couldn’t be sustained without it, and the philanthropy couldn’t be sustained without the business. They’re on both sides of the same coin.
What will you do?
Will you be a piece?
Or will you connect the pieces?