News Release: Three Public Education Programs Named Finalists for WhatWorksSC Award

Katie Quine
Marketing and Communications Manager
The Riley Institute at Furman University



Three Public Education Programs Named Finalists for Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Dick Riley to announce winner of the $10,000 award in virtual celebration November 9

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Three initiatives supporting public education are being recognized for their proven ability to make a difference in the lives of schoolchildren in South Carolina. Bridges to a Brighter Future, Charleston Promise Neighborhood, and Reading Partners South Carolina have been named finalists for the 11th annual Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award.

Presented by Furman University’s Riley Institute, the WhatWorksSC Award ceremony is one of the biggest celebrations of public education in the state and will take place on Zoom webinar this year on November 9. The winner will be announced by former U.S. Secretary of Education and S.C. Governor Richard W. Riley.

More about the 2021 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award finalists:

  • Bridges to a Brighter Future (Greenville) provides long-term, need-based support to promising high school students who live in communities that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education and helps them on their path to and through college. Among the students who participate in the program, 92 percent enter college or the military directly after high school, compared to the national average of 54 percent among students from a similar background.
  • Charleston Promise Neighborhood (Charleston) partners with under-resourced early-learning and elementary schools in Charleston to co-design strategies to improve academic and social outcomes for students and their families through school-day supports and afterschool programming.
  • Reading Partners South Carolina (Charleston) places community volunteers in low-income schools to help children master basic reading through individualized one-on-one tutoring. By working to improve reading comprehension, reading fluency, and sight-word reading, the program helps put participants on track to read on grade level by the end of third grade.

A committee of corporate leaders and education experts selected these programs from a large pool of entries based on effectiveness as evidenced by their research, resource allocation, and sustainability. The winner will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize, and the two finalists will receive $1,000 each. All three will become members of the Riley Institute’s WhatWorksSC Clearinghouse, an online resource that collects and shares key strategies for improving South Carolina’s public schools. They will also be featured on South Carolina ETV’s, which compiles thousands of media resources for teachers and students from pre-K through 12th grade.

The live Zoom event will take place on Tuesday, November 9 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to join this celebration of demonstrated excellence in South Carolina public education. Register by visiting

The Riley Institute would like to thank the following WhatWorksSC 2021 sponsors for their generous support: South Carolina Association of School Administrators, The South Carolina Education Association, South Carolina School Boards Association, and the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance. The event is also made possible by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee for its material help, as well as South Carolina ETV for producing the videos featuring our finalists.

For more information, contact Katie Quine at 864.294.3368 or email


About the Riley Institute at Furman University

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, hosting expert speakers to broaden perspectives on critical issues, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at