The newest member of the board of directors of the Union Community Foundation is a “community-minded individual” with a long history of service to Union County.
Chairman Robbie Littlejohn announced that at its quarterly meeting in January, the board voted unanimously to appoint Charles E. “Buddy” Smith, Jr., as the board’s newest member. Littlejohn said Smith’s appointment was recommended by a committee composed of current and past board board members. He said the committee was formed by the board to review several candidates for membership and they recommended Smith.
Littlejohn said he feels that Smith, with his long history of involvement in the community, will be a great board member and tremendous asset for the foundation.
“Buddy is a community-minded individual and it was very easy for me to go along with the recommendation,” Littlejohn said. “I’ve known him for several years and I’ve known about his involvement in the community. We’re delighted to have Buddy with us.”
His membership on the foundation’s board is the latest of a variety of community organizations that Smith has been involved with and continues to be involved with since moving to Union County in 1998. Smith joined the Union Rotary Club in 2001 and has since served in a number of leadership positions including club president from 2007-2008 and recently completed a three-year term as chairman of the Rotary Leadership Institute. In 2002, Smith was asked by Clemson Extension Agent Raymond Sligh to become one of 10 original members of the Union County Antique Farm Equipment Show committee, a position he still holds.
In 2003, Col. William J. “Jack” Whitener of the Union County Historical Society invited Smith to join the society’s board of directors to help reestablish the Union County Museum which reopened a year later at its current location on Main Street. As a member of the society, Smith was appointed in 2006 to the committee that purchased the historic Cross Keys House. In 2010, Smith served as the board liaison for the construction of log buildings on the house grounds. Smith was elected society president in January of this year.
SC House District 42 Rep. Mike Anthony appointed Smith to the newly established Upstate Regional Educational Center Advisory Board in 2009. Smith currently serves executive secretary for the board which serves Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union counties, providing educational recommendations to best prepare students for jobs within business and industry upon graduation from high school or college.
In 2010, Union County Council appointed Smith to the Union County Tourism Commission where he served as Vice Chair in 2011. He helped obtain commission support for the creation of the Union County Historical Trail in cooperation with the Historical Society.
Smith said his involvement with these organizations and, now, the Union Community Foundation, grow out of his philosophy of giving back to the community and working with others to improve the quality of life.
“I’m pleased to be of service to the community, in the theme of giving back,” Smith said. “Union County is a close-knit community of approximately 28,000 people where people working together can make great things happen.”
Smith said he hopes that working with his fellow board members they can grow the foundation to where it has the opportunity to provide grants in number and in amounts that will significantly benefit the community.
“I think what we would like to ensure is that contributions to and investments with the foundation yields opportunities for grants to community organizations that greatly benefit the citizens of Union County,” Smith said.
The Union Community Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging development of a community tradition of philanthropy. The first members of the board were appointed by Union City Council which endowed the foundation with $1 million from an insurance settlement the City of Union received after the old Union High School on Main Street was destroyed by fire.
The foundation is similar to the Spartanburg County Foundation which was founded in the 1940s with an endowment of $10,000 which has since grown to more than $100 million enabling the organization to award grants on a regular basis. The goal of the Union Community Foundation is to grow its endowment to $5 million which will enable it to begin awarding grants on a regular basis.
Even though it has not reached its $5 million goal, the foundation has made donations of $500 each to the Union County YMCA, Union County Carnegie Library, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross.
Foundation board members serve seven-year staggered terms—with one member rotating off every year. Each replacement is appointed by the board.
In addition to Smith and Littlejohn, the current board is composed of Vice Chairman Bob Love, Secretary Lisa Morris, Treasurer Pat Littlejohn, and board members Bill Goodwin and Catherine Pendergrass.