The United Way of the Piedmont, Cherokee County Community Foundation and Upstate Workforce Investment Board formed a partnership in early 2009 to take a magnified look at our community with an eye toward improvement and positive change. It became the foundation of the Cherokee County Community Indicators Project (CI).
The Cherokee CI Advisory Board narrowed the most pressing issues in our community into five key areas of focus:
Education Public Health Family & Youth
Crime & Safety Economic Development
Realizing that education is the underpinning of all hoped-for change in Cherokee County, in 2010 Oscar Fuller contacted Dr. Garrison Walters of the S.C. Higher Education Foundation at the urging of the late Jim Sanders. Dr. Walters was about to launch a new program called KNOW(2) that seeks to bring about mind-set change regarding education at the community level. Oscar persuaded Dr. Walters that Cherokee County was the ideal pilot for the state and eventually the nation.
Simultaneously Cherokee 2020 was organized to house the other four key focus areas. Oscar and others recruited volunteers from across the county to serve on teams addressing the five focus areas. At the end of 2014, the CI Board voted to retire the CI and Cherokee 2020 brands and simply call our efforts KNOW(2).
Since then, hundreds of volunteers have devoted thousands of hours to building a better life for all Cherokee County residents. Much remains to be done, but thanks to the vision and legacy of Oscar Fuller, Cherokee County has begun to embrace its potential, to take pride in its accomplishments and to work together toward a shared quality of life for all.