A new organization, Fifty Upstate, aims to attract and retain retirees to promote service, involvement and programs for the area’s growing 50-plus population.
A new organization that seeks to promote independence, healthy choices and active learning among Spartanburg County’s 50-plus residents announced Thursday its inaugural board and first executive director.
Fifty Upstate is the result of years of planning and research by numerous community partners. The newly formed nonprofit organization is focused on retaining and attracting retirees into an integrated system of service, promoting involvement and designing programs that meet the changing needs of the area’s growing 50-plus population.
The Fifty Upstate Board of Directors includes the following community leaders:
- Tammy Devine, Chair
- Tom Barnet, Vice Chair
- Bill Robinson, Treasurer
- Julia Lyons, Secretary
Other Board members include:
- Jeff Berline
- Terry Cash
- Grant Close
- Jim Crook
- Marsha Gibbs
- Audrey Hailstock
- Katherine O’Neill
- John Poole
- Stephanie Rainey
- Glenda Sims
- Alonzo Thompson
Board Chair Tammy Devine said she and the other board members are honored to serve an organization with such a worthy mission.
“Spartanburg County’s 50-plus population is continuing to grow,” Devine said. “We as a community must seek out ways to engage this group of residents, not only to keep them active and healthy, but to benefit from their life experiences through volunteer and leadership opportunities.”
Fifty Upstate selected Yvonne Harper as its first executive director. Harper, who most recently served as director of donor relations at Converse College, is the perfect choice to lead the new organization, Devine said.
“From her work with Converse College, Spartanburg Methodist College and the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Yvonne brings a great deal of institutional and community knowledge to this new position,” Devine said. “We are very excited to work with her to serve the area’s 50-plus population.”
Harper said Fifty Upstate will be a true community collaborator and partner – the catalyst at the forefront for innovative programming and services for those 50 and older.
“I believe the work of Fifty Upstate will enrich the lives of every member of our community,” Harper said. Volunteerism, for example, will be critical not only for our mission but also by harnessing the synergy, experience and life skills of these seasoned volunteers, we will be able to immediately impact a broad spectrum of needs in the community.”
Harper said she is honored to be the inaugural executive director of this groundbreaking initiative for Spartanburg and the Upstate.
“America’s population is aging rapidly. They are more diverse, healthier, civic minded, better educated than ever before, and they want to age in place in their communities,” Harper said. “The 50+ generation has accomplished great things from the start, and they are excited about their futures. They love ‘being this age’ and exploring ‘new worlds.’ I should know, I am one of them.”
Board member Terry Cash said many of Fifty Upstate’s goals stem from the Senior Wellness Initiative, which brought numerous community partners together to examine the challenges and opportunities presented by the Baby Boom generation.
“One of the main goals was to help keep Spartanburg County adults healthy, independent, active and engaged in the community,” Cash said. “In many ways, Fifty Upstate is an extension of the findings of that initiative.”
Cash anticipates that Fifty Upstate will be a vibrant organization that people will want to join.
Amie Busbee, senior director of operations for the Spartanburg Regional Foundation, which helped organize Fifty Upstate, said the organization is a result of many interested groups and individuals working together.
“The 50-plus generation is an integral asset to Spartanburg County,” Busbee said. “Our community will benefit if we are able to effectively attract and retain this vital population, and we do this by engaging, inspiring, supporting, challenging and harnessing the intellectual capital of the 50-plus generation.”