HIS DAYS IN FRONT OF A CLASSROOM ENDED DECADES AGO, BUT P. EDWIN GOOD JR. CONTINUES TO FIND HIMSELF INSTRUCTING YOUNGER GENERATIONS, EVEN HIS PEERS. LESSON PLANS HAVE SHIFTED FROM READING, WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC TO GIVING, GUIDING, AND CARING. IN FACT, THE LONGTIME ADVOCATE FOR EDUCATION HAS TURNED HIS LIFE INTO A PRACTICAL LAB FOR ALL TO REVIEW.
The Community Foundation of Greenville posted the grades, and Good has earned the Lifetime of Charitable Giving Award for his hands-on, open-hearted generosity. The former educator’s syllabus doesn’t feature any tests, only life lessons, using these ten simple rules.
RULE 1: SHARE WITH OTHERS
“You know, you learn to share when you’re in kindergarten. People laugh about it, but it’s true,” the 72-year-old businessman explains with a warm, Southern drawl. “If we’re going to address a lot of the issues we face today, then we’re going to have to learn to share.” Better schools, affordable housing, accessible art, organized recreation—no matter the focus, no matter the non-profit, Good believes everyone should shoulder the hardships as well as the rewards. He’s penned that philosophy while sitting on roughly a dozen boards in Greenville. “I just want people to understand, we are all in this together,” he clarifies. “We need to care about everybody, because the way to a better community is for everyone to have a better life. Not just a chosen few.”
RULE 2: TAKE TIME TO PLAY
Play may determine where you live and work. Good grew up in what he calls a “traditional Southern family,” in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Deep into grammar school, a teacher recommended he attend McCallie School, a private institution founded by two Presbyterian brothers. The prep school planted seeds in the adolescent, creating a bounty that Greenville harvests today. “I was very involved in student activities there,” he recalls. “It was a school that instilled the ideas of service, responsibility, and those kinds of things.” All students participated in sports. Good excelled at tennis to the point he wanted to stay on the court in college. “That’s one of the reasons I came to Furman,” he reveals. “I wasn’t quite good enough to play at an ACC or SEC school, but I played number one at Furman.”
RULE 3: CHOOSE YOUR BEST FRIENDS WISELY
Upon arrival at the university, Good noticed a Greenville girl at a freshman mixer. He asked Peggy Ellison to dance, but she turned him down, saying her feet hurt. He was delighted to see her in his advanced French class once the year got underway. Good pursued Peggy and a degree in education with abandon, and the couple married during their senior year. “Young people need to find a partner who shares their same values,” he advises. “I care about people, she cares about people. We understand and appreciate the fact the other one is going to spend his, or her, time doing things for others.” He describes projects Peggy’s fronted with pride, especially the after-school program she established in the Viola Street community. “We’ve seen our way through lots of phases and stages of life,” he says. “We’re flexible and love each other. It’s important to find someone with the same kinds of dreams, ideals, and goals you have.”
RULE 4: BE NICE TO YOUR TEACHER
When the Goods graduated, Ed started teaching school, while working on a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He spent the next four years instructing 6th–12th graders in Georgia and North Carolina. Very quickly, he realized his days tutoring teens were more difficult than he ever imagined. “Teaching school is a hard job. Especially if you do a good job!” he states, punctuating the thought with a short laugh. “I remember Peggy and I coming home in the afternoon just being exhausted. I think teachers’ salaries ought to be higher, and we need to hold them in greater esteem.” To this day, when Good meets a young adult heading into the education field, he thanks them for their commitment to molding young minds. He shares, “When children are developing, it’s so important we have good people relating to them day in and day out. When they’re growing up, you want them to look forward to school every day. A lot of that has to do with the teacher and the job of teaching.”
“A VISIONARY HAS THE INNATE ABILITY TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE. IT IS A GIFT. AN EXCEPTIONAL VISIONARY HAS THE ADDED ABILITY OF UNDERSTANDING THAT ALL THE LITTLE STUFF ALONG THE WAY HAS TO BE DONE RIGHT FOR THE VISION TO BECOME A REALITY. ED GOOD IS AN EXCEPTIONAL VISIONARY.”
—Rick Davis, managing shareholder, Elliott Davis
RULE 5: DON’T BE AFRAID OF CHANGE
As much as Ed enjoyed teaching, he jumped at the chance to return to Greenville in the early ’70s. Furman asked him to come back to campus and serve as director of Alumni Programs. It was the first of several professional changes he made across the decade, eventually moving to two different mortgage companies that brought strongholds in the business world. “All of those fields are really people oriented,” he explains of the transitions from teaching, to fundraising, to business. “Fundraising is all about your ability to communicate with people, and your ability to motivate and encourage and persuade. That’s kind of what you do in the classroom, and what you do in the business world to a certain extent.” With each change, Good gained greater experience and success.
RULE 6: WORK HARD
In 1985, the teacher-turned-fund-raiser-turned-mortgage-banker decided to try his hand at real estate development. He sold his share in the mortgage business and opened Hampton Development Company. The business still operates to this day, developing, leasing, and managing shopping centers in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia. Early on, the president discovered he had the ability to simultaneously build a company and the community, and by 2000 was spending 20–30 percent of his time on philanthropic endeavors. Groups that gained his attention include the Upcountry History Museum, United Way of Greenville, Greenville Housing Fund, and Greenville Symphony Endowment Fund. With one entity in particular, he found himself to be in the right place, at the right time, and with the right skills to make his biggest contribution yet.
GOOD TO GREAT:
From his early years as a Furman undergraduate, Ed Good has developed a resumé brimming with varied experience in multiple fields. But perhaps the 72-year-old’s greatest achievements are his behind-the-scenes efforts on various boards, promoting the betterment of the Greenville community.
RULE 7: DON’T WASTE YOUR GOD-GIVEN TALENTS
“We needed someone of exceptional integrity and great expertise in real estate and development, and someone who had a heart for Greenville.” Reverend Tony McDade describes the predicament when John D. Hollingsworth Jr. passed away in 2000, leaving an estimated $290 million in holdings to Hollingsworth Funds. “Mr. Hollingsworth invested in land,” McDade explains. “Hollingsworth Funds invests in people, in Greenville and its betterment.” Good stepped up to guide property sales and management, while maximizing returns to create benefits for many across Greenville County. “I don’t know if I’d call it the most gratifying, or rewarding,” Ed contemplates. “But from the standpoint of its impact on the community, it was definitely the most significant. We liquidated assets and invested those funds so they could generate income for Furman and the YMCA and the community.” Since 2000, Hollingsworth Funds has distributed more than $42 million to named beneficiaries and other Greenville non-profit organizations. Last December, Ed stepped down as chair of the board of directors, a spot he had filled since 2010. “His leadership, and his vision, and his willingness to roll up his sleeves—he got the job done,” McDade praises. “Ed has been a trusted leader in the community, and having trust in someone is a rare thing these days. He brings out the best in people.”
RULE 8: REMEMBER WHERE YOU CAME FROM
Despite his many ties to Greenville, Ed has never forgotten his first: Furman University. The school will forever serve as the milestone that directed him to his wife and life. As a way of giving back, the alum has chaired the Advisory Council, presided over the Paladin Club, and currently sits in the middle of his fourth term on the board of trustees. “I’m so proud of Furman,” he declares. “The Riley Institute offers many wonderful programs that are available to the community, and the OLLI program with all the different courses for senior citizens. It’s a top-notch school turning out terrific young people. We’ve got so many professional people in the community, doctors, lawyers, and business executives, who got their start and their education at Furman.”
RULE 9: BE HUMBLE
Questions about the Lifetime of Charitable Giving Award bring out Ed’s sense of humor. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way,” he jokes. “But I don’t consider myself one of the old guys yet. Does this mean I’m done?” He grows serious, adding, “Obviously, I don’t deserve the credit. There are a lot of people who have helped with these organizations. I just tried to do my part.” And he continues to do so, with yet another board position, this one with the United Way. “I think the United Way does great work. I particularly like the programs for our young people. And when I say young people, I mean 30-somethings, and 40-somethings, and 20-somethings.” Over the past decade plus, Good has chaired the group’s Palmetto, Tocqueville, and Poinsett societies. He’s also spearheaded efforts to bridge various gaps through Public Education Partners. Community leader Dr. Susan Thomson Shi, who has worked alongside him on the board of directors, says of Good: “The measure of his impact is in his duration and his willingness to do this year, after year, after year. Longevity gives you a recognizable voice that has earned a platform. And he’s more than willing to share his time, expertise, and passion.” With Good’s guidance, PEP has invested more than $13 million locally. Last year’s efforts alone assisted 5,000 teachers and 76,000 students at 84 schools.
RULE 10: LEAVE A LEGACY
Good’s motivation to create change began when facing a classroom of curious students half a century ago, but today’s fire for finding solutions flairs when he visits with his three sons and nine grandchildren. “We still have a lot of challenges, and the thought we have in our country and our society is that the needs are not necessarily going to go away.” He fears the struggles today’s parents face raising children and the economics of housing and attending college. “I think young people have lots of challenges today, especially economically. I think raising children is a challenge today. It’s difficult to find that balance.” Ever the teacher, he hopes millennials will mimic his actions and replicate his work. “We’ve got to do more. I think if we all do our part, we can make a big difference. Sometimes our part is writing a check, sometimes our part is being on a board, sometimes our part is rolling up our sleeves and helping children.” Sometimes our part is teaching those who follow behind to do the same. Class dismissed.
NOMINATED BY THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF GREENVILLE AND VOTED ON BY A COMMITTEE OF EXECUTIVES REPRESENTING THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION AND TOWN MAGAZINE, THE LIFETIME OF CHARITABLE GIVING AWARD HONORS LIFELONG SERVICE TO OTHERS THROUGH BOTH INDIVIDUAL ENDEAVORS AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, AND IS A GIFT THAT SPANS A LIFETIME.