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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: $10M Furman Gift

Aug 17, 2022 09:19AM ● By David Dykes

Congressman Trone, Wife, Give Furman $10 Million To Support Mental Health, Jewish Student Association

Shown: David and June Trone (Photo provided)

Congressman David Trone has given $10 million to Furman University, with $8.5 million dedicated to student mental health services and $1.5 million to support Furman’s Hillel, the Jewish Student Association. The gift makes Trone, a 1977 Furman graduate and a member of the Board of Trustees, one of the university’s largest living donors.

“As a proud alumnus of Furman University, I am honored by the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way on an issue of great personal importance,” said Trone, a Democratic U.S. representative from Maryland who is founder and co-owner of the retail chain Total Wine and More.

The $8.5 million for mental health will enable the university to reach more students in need of care earlier, and with new approaches, make Furman a model for mental and emotional health care – what Trone calls “mental health fitness” – in higher education.

Trone has championed many mental health and addiction initiatives in Congress. He co-led the U.S. Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, is founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, and has spoken publicly about his nephew Ian Trone’s death from a fentanyl overdose.

“In this day and age, it is vital that we work together to break the stigma surrounding mental health, ensure tolerance in our diverse communities, and equip our students with the tools and resources to succeed,” said Trone, who gave $3.5 million to Furman in 2013 to renovate and name the Trone Student Center.

“With this gift through the David and June Trone Family Foundation, I trust that Furman University will continue to positively impact and shape our nation’s future leaders.”

The gift gets to the heart of The Furman Advantage and its emphasis on helping students create lives of purpose and impact, said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis.

“The Furman Advantage helps students become resilient and adaptable to change in the face of adversity. Mental fitness is vital to developing these skills, ensuring our students are able to succeed academically, socially and emotionally,” Davis says.

Mental health problems among college students have been on the rise in recent years.

Several studies show that increase was made worse by the pandemic. A spring 2021 national Healthy Minds Network Study showed that 41 percent of college students screened positive for depression, and 34 percent had anxiety disorder.

In a fall 2021 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment, nearly 73 percent of more than 33,000 respondents reported moderate to serious psychological distress.

In a recent survey of Furman students, 65 percent said the Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted their mental health and 63 percent said it affected their loneliness and isolation.

With $1 million of the Trone gift, Furman will expand and renovate its counseling center to create more group space and areas to practice mindfulness, as well as provide more flexible space for the expansion of other services and programs. The space will be renamed the Trone Center for Mental Fitness.

Another $7.5 million will create the Trone Family Fund for Student Mental Health and Well-Being. It will fund positions to ensure a consistent level of professional staffing that adapts as methods for engaging in mental fitness change, starting with the hiring of a health and wellbeing coordinator.

It also endows the position that oversees mental health and ensures the hiring of a diverse staff to reflect the student population.

The Trone gift also will allow Furman to expand mental health and wellbeing services beyond the walls of a therapist’s office, integrating mental fitness into a variety of student activities, such as mentoring and advising.

The goal is to help students develop lifelong healthy habits that promote mental wellbeing, while giving students tools and skills to help them build resilience when health challenges arise.

Programs could include peer mentoring, body image and disordered eating programs, continual screening of all student athletes, alcohol and drug prevention, sexual health, stress management skills and suicide prevention training for students, faculty and staff. 

Some of these can be integrated into the Pathways program, a two-year course of personal, academic and professional growth that every Furman student takes in the first and second years.

The remaining $1.5 million will create the Hillel Endowment Fund to provide permanent support to expand and enhance the Furman Hillel for a more robust Jewish life for all students and the broader community.

The Hillel also provides important aspects of mental fitness by giving students a place where they feel welcomed and valued, and where they can satisfy their spiritual needs.

BAE Systems Receives $88 Million Contract for ACV-30 Test Vehicles

The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded BAE Systems an $88 million contract to build multiple ACV-30 Production Representative Test Vehicles (PRTVs).

Once delivered, the PRTVs will undergo a period of testing prior to a full-rate production decision.

The ACV-30 mounts a stabilized, medium caliber Remote Turret System manufactured by KONGSBERG. The 30mm RT-20 is a remotely controlled and operated weapons system that enhances crew protection.

The remote turret eliminates the space requirement of legacy lethality systems, and it provides more space to transport troops or mission essential equipment, and reduces weight for better mobility, officials say.

ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and, York, Pennsylvania.

“The unmanned KONGSBERG RT-20 medium caliber turret is designed to meet the current and future needs of the Marine Corps as they move forward in implementing the future operating vision known as Force Design 2030,” said Scott Burk, president of KONGSBERG Protech Systems USA.

Kiawah Island Club’s Inaugural HEARTest Yard Celebrity Classic Raises $300,000

Kiawah Island Club – and its owners, South Street Partners – partnered with their member, Greg Olsen, and his family to host the First Annual HEARTest Yard Celebrity Classic on June 5th and 6th, 2022, at the Club’s Tom Fazio-designed River Course.

The event raised $300,000, 100 percent of which will go towards funding the expansion of the pediatric cardiovascular foundation’s services to patients and families in the Charleston Region in partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina (“MUSC”).

Under the auspices of Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., former Carolina Panthers tight end Olsen, and his wife, Kara, established the HEARTest Yard program in 2012 after their son, T.J., was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

Founded to fill a large need for families of babies born with congenital heart disease, the HEARTest Yard provides health care support and services to ease the transition from the hospital to home.

Through a partnership between Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation and Atrium Health Foundation, the HEARTest Yard Fund offers a range of services, including in-home private nursing care, physical therapy, and speech therapy, at no charge to families.

The program ultimately aims to help prevent children's complications from congenital heart disease and improve their long-term health.

In December 2020, the Olsen family opened The HEARTest Yard Congenital Heart Center at Levine Children’s Hospital to provide comprehensive medical care to cardiac patients from birth through adulthood.

In its first year of operation, more than 25,000 patients received treatment in the heart center. The services provided by The HEARTest Yard program will soon also be offered at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

The MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital consists of 250 beds and opened in February 2020 as a replacement facility for the MUSC Children’s Hospital built in the late 1980s and formerly located on Ashley Avenue.

New Raspberry Rally Girl Scout Cookie Joins Lineup for 2023 Season 

Girl Scouts of South Carolina — Mountains to Midlands and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced that the new Raspberry Rally cookie will join its nationwide lineup for the 2023 Girl Scout Cookie Season.

The thin, crispy cookie is a “sister” cookie to the beloved Thin Mints, infused with raspberry flavor instead of mint and dipped in the same chocolaty coating.

The new cookie will be the first in the Girl Scout Cookie lineup to be exclusively offered for online sale and direct shipment only, which organizers say enhances girls’ e-commerce sales and entrepreneurial skills.

Girl Scouts in the Upstate and Midlands and across the United States will offer the Raspberry Rally cookie alongside favorites like Thin Mints, Adventurefuls and Samoas.

Proceeds raised from in-person and online cookie orders directly benefit local councils and troops.

Organizers say Girl Scouts learn leadership, problem-solving, and community building through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, resulting in an invaluable experience that cultivates an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit.

They also say the program embraces the understanding of the world of business, money management, and entrepreneurship.

Cookie Business badges range anywhere from goal setting to learning effective in-person and online sales pitches, using market research, creating business plans, and implementing digital marketing campaigns.

Girl Scouts of South Carolina — Mountains to Midlands kicks off cookie season on Jan. 2, 2023, in the Midlands and Upstate.

Go to to sign up to be notified once Raspberry Rally and other Girl Scout Cookies are on sale.

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