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Upstate Forever announces Generations Campaign - April 11th 2024

Local nonprofit organization seeks to raise $7 million to fund conservation and advocacy work amid rapid regional growth

Upstate Forever has unveiled Generations, a campaign to fund the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization’s work to protect the region’s critical lands, waters, and unique character for the years to come. 

Through the Generations Campaign, the organization is working to secure $7 million to safeguard the Upstate’s natural resources as the region experiences significant growth and development. 

“The Generations Campaign is an investment in the Upstate.” said Aldon Knight, who recently stepped into the role of Executive Director for Upstate Forever. “It will ensure our region is a wonderful place to live, work, and play ten, twenty, even fifty years from now. I want future generations to be able to experience the places that make this corner of the world so special — our mountains, meadows, forests, rivers, and farms.”

The impetus behind the Generations Campaign  

More and more people are being drawn to the Upstate’s natural environment and livability. While this growth can have benefits if managed appropriately, the sprawling development that accompanies it is putting more and more pressure on our natural resources.  

According to the Shaping Our Future study, the population of the Upstate will increase by more than 320,000 people between 2015-2040 — most to the Greenville/Spartanburg area. If we don't change course, that could mean consuming 588,672 more acres during the same time period. That works out to roughly 64.5 acres per day: an area equal to the size of Haywood Mall, including all its parking lots.  

“Once you fill in land with asphalt, you can’t go back,” said John Keith, chair of Upstate Forever’s board of directors. “If we don’t want to become the new Charlotte or the new Atlanta, we’ve all got to get on board. We’ve got to safeguard our water, protect our natural environments, and preserve our green spaces so that our children and grandchildren will still be able to enjoy them.” 

“We can’t change the fact that growth and development are coming to the Upstate,” said Knight. “What is within our power is how we plan for it right now, while we still have time and choices left. With the right approach, we can manage coming growth more wisely and balance it with protection of our land and water resources.”

The Generations Campaign will fund Upstate Forever’s Strategic goals through 2027 

Upstate Forever is working to secure $7 million to meet the challenges Upstate South Carolina is facing, amplify the organization’s impact, and accelerate protections for the region’s lands and waters in the years ahead. The funds raised will go towards three key initiatives, identified by the organization as its primary strategic goals from 2023-2027: 

  • Broadening and deepening core land protection efforts to reach a milestone of 50,000 acres protected through UF conservation easements and collaborative partner projects.  

  • Advocating for policies that support balanced growth and conservation at the municipal, regional, and state level, and increase funding for conservation across the Upstate. 

  • Reaching more residents—especially younger residents and people of color—and equipping them with the tools they need to protect the places they love. 

Learn more about Upstate Forever’s strategic goals here

Join us at a free event to kick off the Generations Campaign 

The public is invited to an event launching the Generations Campaign on Tuesday, May 21 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Judson Mill Annex (located at 701 Easley Bridge Road, Suite 4120, Greenville, SC 29611).  

The event will feature live bluegrass music from the Reedy River String Band and a brief presentation about Upstate Forever’s mission and goals. Wine, beer, and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served. This event is free, but registration is required. For more information about the event and to register, visit

About Upstate Forever 

Upstate Forever was founded in 1998 by Greenville attorney Brad Wyche, who sought to balance the region’s rapid development with the protection of green space, responsible land use management, and improvement of water quality. The organization has since:  

  • Permanently protected more than 30,000 acres of land, 

  • Secured significant funding at the local, county, and state level to accelerate protection of the Upstate’s lands and waters, 

  • Successfully advocated for dozens of local land use policies that expand transportation options, housing choices, and access to clean water and safe green spaces, 

  • Improved water quality across all our major watersheds, and 

  • Engaged hundreds of citizens in advocacy training that helps residents navigate the policy-making process and gives them the tools to influence it.  

“We have a proven track record of success,” said Knight. “This campaign isn’t about changing the work we do — it’s about equipping our team to do even more of it. Upstate Forever has the experience, the know-how, and the passion to preserve the beauty and livability we all love about this place we call home, now and for future generations.”


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