For Mark Richardson, South Carolina’s public school system is a wise investment.
A commercial real estate expert and the former president of the Carolina Panthers, Richardson is a product of the public school system, graduating from Spartanburg High School, Clemson University, and the University of Virginia.
“Although my work in commercial real estate is not part of the educational landscape, I personally support Teach For America and other institutions because I believe that education is the key to improving students’ economic mobility, driving economic development, and lessening the socioeconomic disparities in our society,” he explained.
And this is why Richardson has decided to donate a significant amount of time and money to improve public education.
For more than five years, he has served on Teach For America South Carolina (TFASC)’s advisory board. As a Spartanburg native, his generous support was pivotal to launch TFASC’s Upstate Expansion Initiative, which serves more students, provides greater teacher placement options, and increases its partnerships in the region.
Richardson was also named to the board of trustees at Clemson University, his alma mater. At Clemson, he is a supporter of its Men of Color National Summit and an active participant of its Emerging Scholars Program, which establishes a college-going culture among students from the state’s economically disadvantaged areas.
“In South Carolina, there are tremendous needs to recruit and retain quality teachers and provide an excellent education to all students,” said Richardson. “Better education leads to more employment opportunities, and I want to create more opportunities for students in the future.”
Additionally, he recognizes the responsibility of businesses to do their part by placing an emphasis on and donating to public education – as they benefit from hiring a local, skilled workforce.
“To attract new industries and grow as a region, we must invest to improve the state’s public school system,” said Richardson. “Public education generates a significant return on investment to students, business leaders, and the community.”
Moving forward, his hope for public education is that it finally gets the attention it deserves.
“More leaders are focusing on ways to improve public education. But, ultimately, more financial resources will be needed to create an equitable system where teachers are properly supported, and all students are prepared to be college- or career-ready,” resolved Richardson.