Self Family Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports education, community wellness, and arts, culture, and history in and around Greenwood, South Carolina. It reviews grant proposals at quarterly board meetings.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, community wellness, arts, culture, and history

IP TAKE: Do not write this foundation off as strictly a Greenwood funder. Other communities in South Carolina receive Self grants as well, especially for education and healthcare.

PROFILE: The Self Family Foundation is located in Greenwood, South Carolina, and was established in 1942 by James C. Self, the founder of Greenwood Mills, a fabric manufacturer. It seeks to “make grants to nonprofit organizations that help our community improve and thrive.” The original purpose was to build and maintain a hospital for the Greenwood community. But the Self family continued to pursue grantmaking in the fields of infrastructure in health care, education, and quality of life in the county. Over the years, the foundation has awarded over $60 million to benefit Greenwood and other communities throughout South Carolina.

Education grants support early literacy and high school graduation rates, as well as more general youth organizations that promote the development of young people. Other interests are summer camps and training for teachers in Montessori methods.

Arts, culture, and history grants seek to make cultural experiences more accessible in Greenwood County communities and to increase awareness of the arts. The foundation seeks collaborative partners for this grantmaking category.

Wellness grants are broad and encompass everything from clinical healthcare to green spaces, healthy food, health literacy, prevention, and programs that promote healthy lifestyles. The foundation supports simplifying the utilization of social services agencies and providing multiple services under one roof.

Past grantees include Caroliniana Library at USC, the Food Bank of Greenwood County, Governors School for Science and Mathematics Foundation, and Beyond Abuse. Grants typically range from $10,000 to $100,000. New grant seekers can view a list of grants here and learn more about grantees in the Highlights section of the Self foundation website.

The foundation prioritizes Greenwood County and the surrounding South Carolina counties, and education and healthcare take priority over arts groups. Grant seekers begin the application process by submitting a letter of inquiry via email to the foundation program officer, Mamie Nicholson, at She is also the best contact for grant seekers prior to submitting a proposal; her phone is 864-853-2441. Grant applications are typically due by March 1, July 1, September 1, and November 1 to be considered at quarterly board meetings.

Frank J. Wideman III serves as the foundation president, Mamie W. Nicholson is the program officer, and Patricia Polattie is the administrative officer on staff. At this time, the foundation is developing leadership in the fourth generation of Self family members through its Next Generation Board.

General questions can be sent to or called into 864-941-4011. The funder’s address is 120 Main Street, Greenwood, South Carolina 29646.


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