Greenville Forward
Home Indicators Programs Events in Greenville Get Engaged in Greenville About Us Contact Us



Vision 2025 created a "diversity" vision for the next 25 years, and as the vision was reviewed, it became apparent that the vision for diversity is actually a vision for "inclusion." This is because "inclusion" is the opposite of "exclusion."

If Greenville is going to be a community that is welcoming to all people, it must learn to include all people regardless of skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, economic status, or political affiliation.

The inclusion vision is that in 2025, Greenville County public and private sector leaders and residents welcome and integrate all its residents into a unified community whose diverse members and populations have full equality.

The Vision Goals
Greenville County educators, nonprofit and business leaders foster diversity awareness. They create learning environments that help residents of all ages build skills needed to engage, interact and work with residents of various cultural backgrounds.
All residents have equal protection rights and opportunities available to them without discrimination or denial based on color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, or other identity-based features.
Residents of all ages are engaged in cross-cultural exchanges that result in effective education, respect for cultural differences, affirmation of their own values and traditions, and lawful expression of individuality and difference without fear of retribution.
The arts, including visual art, theater, music, and festivals, reflect the diversity of Greenville residents.
The diversification of our neighborhoods result in the diversificaiton of our cities and towns.
All residents, including the poor, the elderly, and people with physical or mental disabilities have access to all services in Greenville County.
Cross-cultural competence is a leadership train in all key business, education, civic and political leaders in Greenville County.

Progress on Vision Items

Martin Luther King Holiday. After much debate and deliberation, Greenville County became the last county in the United States to pass the MLK Holiday. Partially as a result of the debate about the MLK issue, The Riley Institute at Furman University created The Diversity Leaders Initiative, a workshop for leaders in the community to study diversity programs and engage in dialogue relating to a variety of diversity issues. Eight hundred people have graduated from the program.

International Center of the Upstate. Continuing to build upon its mission to welcome people of all nations into the region to gain knowledge, establish friendships, and share their culture and talents, the ICU is building a diverse and inclusive program of work. The ICU holds language classes taught by native speakers, provides relocation services to newcomers, and through the Upstate Global Professionals, fosters relationships between international business and commerce professionals. In 2012, the ICU will be adding a youth program.

Race Matters Survey. In 2009, Greenville Forward developed the Race Matters Survey, a study of inclusion, tolerance and diversity in Greenville County. The study’s intention was to provide a review of the racial, cultural, economic and religious perceptions of Greenville in the view of the residents of Greenville, while exploring sources of diversity tensions in the community and developing solutions to these tensions. A key finding is that the greatest diversity challenges for Greenville are not just racial, but economic and religious.

International Summit. In 2009 and 2010, Greenville Forward’s International Task Force hosted an International Summit, designed to bring together all the international groups in the county. While the purpose of the summit was to share ideas and build collaborations, the real hope was to help maintain the cultures and backgrounds that make Greenville an internationally vibrant community to live.

Inclusion Links

Race Matters

Race Matters Survey. In 1948, Greenville conducted a study of the state of race relations in Greenville. In partnership with Beyond Differences and other organizations, Greenville Forward conducted a replication of this study, with some additions, to explore how race relations have changed in Greenville County over the generations. Dialogues about the findings are happening in the next few months. Although race relations have improved, we still have some work to do. Read the GreenvilleOnline assessment.

Riley Institute

Diversity Leaders Institute at Furman. Recognizing an urgent need for diversity-related programming, the Riley Institute, then in cooperation with the American Institute for Managing Diversity (AIMD), launched a unique program that encouraged community leaders to consider the challenges and opportunities presented by the many facets of diversity in our state, including among others, differences in cultural background, language, gender, and physical ability.

Since its inception in 2003 in the upstate of South Carolina, the Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) (formerly Diversity Leadership Academy (DLA)) now operates statewide, adding classes in the South Carolina Lowcountry (2005) and midlands (2006). Over 400 CEOs of corporations, mayors, city and county council members, legislators, school superintendents, pastors and rabbis, nonprofit heads, chamber of commerce directors, and community leaders have graduated from the program.

Keep Learning and Talking

A good friend, Juan Johnson from the Riley Institute, suggested a series of movies which address diversity tensions and are good dialogue starters. Here is Juan's list of movies all diversity-aware people need to see. Go to Blockbuster this weekend and start a conversion with your family.


Tension Addressed

Born on the Fourth of July


Children of a Lesser God


Door to Door


12 Angry Men


A Day Without a Mexican


North Country


Freaky Friday


Glory Road


Guess Who


Guess Who's Coming to Dinner


Remember the Titans


Something New


The World, the Flesh, and the Devil


To Kill a Mockingbird


Wit Man's Burden


In the Heat of the Night

Race, class

Mississippi Masala

Race, ethnicity


Race, gender, ethnicity, immigration, etc

Far From Heaven

Race, Sexual orientation

Boys Don't Cry

Sexual orientation


Sexual orientation

Gentleman's Agreement


Schindler's List




Greenville Forward
24 Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC 29601
(c) Copyright 2014