Guiding Principles

Underpinning our focus on improving economic mobility is a set of guiding principles.

To positively impact systems change over the long-term.

We recognize the natural tension between responding to immediate needs versus investing in upstream solutions. While we will always maintain the flexibility to respond to changing needs in the short-term, our primary goal is to help create a future for our community by enhancing the systems that affect complex social change over the long-term.

To encourage and engage in collective action by partnering with others.

No single organization can solve the complex social challenges facing our community. We must find ways for all stakeholders (public, private, nonprofit, and community) to work together in pursuit of common outcomes. Therefore, we strive towards a collective, highly integrated approach to every aspect of our work.

To view everything we do through an equity lens.

We aim for our actions to contribute to a just and fair society where everyone has an opportunity to participate in the pathways to success.

To engage in a place-based approach to our work.

It has been well-documented that where people are born often determines their future. Place can impact where we go to school, what type of house we own and whether it will grow in value, as well as our access to a natural job network, public transportation and healthcare. Like many communities across the country, Greenville has neighborhoods where a higher concentration of poverty limits the opportunities for people to participate in a prosperous society. Our goal is to prioritize investments in many of those neighborhoods as a means to lifting up the whole community.

To use data with a purpose.

The importance of high quality data cannot be understated. Data informs community outcomes and helps determine impactful strategies and tactics. We aim to use data to inform all of our decisions.

To grow capacity at the individual, organizational, and ecosystem levels.

The ability to effectively achieve outcomes is directly correlated to the capacity of the individuals, organizations and ecosystems in which they operate. Solutions to complex social change require creative thinking, strong will, dynamic leadership, evidence-based programming, and sound networks — just to name a few. We aim to invest in capacity at all levels to ensure success.

To steward our assets in a prudent manner.

Our founder left us with a substantial investment portfolio that includes both real estate and liquid assets. Much of that real estate exists as undeveloped land. In order to optimize income while enhancing our built environment, we aim to divest the majority of our real estate assets in a timely and prudent manner. This allows our liquid assets to grow which, in turn, allows us to contribute more back into the Greenville community to achieve our vision and mission.


Hollingsworth Funds seeks to enhance the opportunities and pathways that improve economic mobility for everyone in Greenville County. We recognize that the factors influencing economic mobility are complex and interconnected, therefore a collective approach to problem-solving is required.

We are actively investing in housing affordability, improving education and reducing income inequality.  We are learning more about other correlated factors to economic mobility while also investing in other cross-sector issues. Lastly, we believe that strong arts and cultural institutions are a key component to any vibrant and successful community.

Increasing Housing Affordability
Increasing housing affordability through the development of stronger mixed-income communities and the preservation of existing housing stock.
Improving School Quality Across the Educational Continuum
Improving school quality across the educational continuum by preparing children to enter school ready to succeed, graduate from high school, and attain a post-secondary degree.
Reducing the Income Inequality Gap
Reducing the income inequality gap by enhancing access to livable wage jobs that lead to a successful career.
Exploring Family Structure & Social Capital
Learning more about the role of family structure and social capital in improving economic mobility.
Addressing Cross-Sector Issues
Addressing cross-sector issues that impact mobility, like improving our transportation system or broadening access to quality healthcare for the under/uninsured.
Supporting Arts and Cultural Institutions
Supporting arts and cultural institutions that have a significant creative, social and economic impact on our community.


Hollingsworth Funds operates from a unique vantage point that allows us to see how individual stakeholders operate within broader systems that positively impact community change.  We are constantly exposed to an array of issues facing our community and we are consistently meeting with leaders from the public, private, nonprofit and community sectors.

As such, our role extends far beyond our grantmaking.  While our financial capital serves as a means to an end, we believe the deployment of our other forms of philanthropic capital – social, moral, intellectual and reputational – represents an even higher value to the community.  In this way, our role is that of relationship builder, knowledge broker, neutral convener of stakeholders with shared interests, and advocate for meaningful institutional and public policy change.

To date, the approach behind the role we play has been influenced by FSG, one of the founders of the collective impact movement. To view an illustration of the role that funders play in the stages of collective initiatives click here.

Grant Guidelines

  • Place
    Per our trust documents, we are restricted to supporting nonprofit organizations operating for the benefit of Greenville County. Organizations must fit the description in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and be exempt from taxation under section 501(a), or an entity or organization described in sections 170(c)(1) or (2) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Grant Type
    We consider all types of grant requests including general operating, capital and project support.
  • Grant Amount
    We consider grant requests of all sizes and do not have a specific minimum or maximum. Our median grant size is currently $50,000 with a range from $15,000 to $500,000. We encourage potential grantees to submit a request that meets their needs.
  • Grant Period
    The majority of our grants are made for a period of one year with an option to renew annually based on performance. We also provide multi-year grants to selected nonprofit partners on a case-by-case basis.

How to Apply

We implement two grant cycles per year in the Spring and Fall using a two-stage online application process. Hollingsworth Funds uses a Letter of Intent (LOI) to assess if there is a good match between our mission and your request prior to soliciting a full application. Organizations that submit a successful LOI will be asked to complete a full application designed to provide more detail about the goals, objectives and outcomes of the proposed grant.