Nonprofit time capsule holds dreams for Greenville’s future

Canvas mural at Shine the Light's 2019 event

What do you imagine for the future of nonprofits in Greenville over the next fifty years? Shine the Light is anticipating tremendous growth and hoping in 2069 they’ll be able to prove so. 

The 2019 Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums event “Launching Into the Future” was held at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate.

The gathering brought together professionals and members from more than 100 local nonprofits to network and celebrate their work.

Sola Keith, 11, will open Greenville’s “Nonprofit Time Capsule” in 2069.

For its 10th anniversary this year, Shine the Light wanted to do something special to capture the work of today’s nonprofits. Each organization representative wrote out the nonprofit’s achievements and stories as well as ambitions for the next 50 years. These goals, along with photographs and other mementos, were sealed tightly and placed in a large cylindrical time capsule. It will be stored at The Upcountry History Museum and kept sealed until 2069.

Debbie Nelson, president and founder of Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, beamed about the future of Greenville. “Our hope is to see the growth of the Greenville nonprofit community,” said Nelson.

Sola Keith, a fifth-grader at A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School, will open the capsule when she’s in her 60s. A quiet Keith, with celebratory cake in hand, said she was nervous but excited for her role in 50 years.

The event included a performance by The Phillis Wheatley-Dwight Woods Repertory Theatre for Youth, a performance of “Happy Birthday” for Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, and an evening of conversation and connection among the Upstate’s nonprofits.

DNA Creative Communications, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville, the United Way of Greenville County, Hollingsworth Funds, the Jolley Foundation, and The Graham Foundation, hosted the gathering.

Shine the Light coordinates events each year to strengthen nonprofit leaders, increase systematic organization, and facilitate integration among nonprofits. Since its launch in 2010, more than 2,000 participants and 400 organizations have attended and supported Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums. To learn more, visit


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