Kathy Gilliland has led North Augusta 2000 for the past 12 years. Thursday, she will hand over the reins to Mary Anne Bigger and “semi-retire.”
Gilliland became the executive director of the nonprofit in August 2001. Prior to that role, she worked in banking and was involved with the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce since 1993 in a various capacities.
Then came the opportunity to become the executive director of North Augusta 2000.
“It was a good fit,” she said of the position.
North Augusta 2000 works to improve the quality of life in North Augusta, she said.
“The city represents the citizens of the community, the chamber represents the businesses of the community and we represent the community itself. The three function together to better the whole community,” she said.
Since the organization’s inception in 1999, it has formed three strategic plans for the North Augusta community based on input from citizens.
“North Augusta 2000 is mainly a facilitator or catalyst. We’re a place where people’s opinions matter,” she said.
During her tenure, the organization has implemented about 40 initiatives, including providing more than 80,000 books to children in the community through the reading readiness program; establishing the Leadership North Augusta program; providing adult literacy and English as a second language courses; teaching Real Life 101 classes at North Augusta High School; and establishing the Greeneway Trust to maintain the Greeneway Trail.
One of the things Gilliland has enjoyed the most is getting to work with community volunteers, she said.
“I get to work with a lot of different people who are passionate about making our community better,” she said of the organization’s pool of more than 200 volunteers.
Gilliland and Bigger have been working together to prepare for the transition.
Bigger, who serves as the chairwoman of the Friends of the Nancy Carson Library Foundation, said that she’s looking forward to being a part of North Augusta 2000.
“I have always been interested in what they do,” said Bigger.
Gilliland will be moving to the upstate region of the state closer to her children and grandchildren.
However, she will miss serving in the community that she has called home since 1985, she said.
“I’m truly going to miss everybody,” she said. “It’s a great group of volunteers who are very passionate about this community.”