Education creates opportunity.

Career plans provide structure.

Coaching delivers inspiration.

Hard work guarantees success.

Our Partners

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Our Story

In 1999, Founder Dave Thillen volunteered to build his first Habitat for Humanity home in Greene County, Georgia and launched his legacy with one small step: refurbishing and installing community donated computers into every new Habitat home. Dave recalls the journey that soon took him to installing more than 30 computers and a network to connect them to the internet at the Pete Nance Boys & Girls Club of Greensboro. In short order, Dave began to provide individualized life coaching for every child living in the Habitat homes and rewarding their milestone achievements with scholarship dollars. “The momentum quickly built, and I never looked back”.

Witnessing the raw power of encouragement, goal setting, and tangible rewards, Dave realized how every student’s potential and self-worth would be amplified in the right setting. The community took notice of his successes, and in 2019, Greene County High School asked Dave to implement the “Thillen Plan” for every enrolled student. In 2020, Dave and Elaine Thillen founded the Thillen Education Foundation as a Georgia registered 501 (c)(3) nonprofit and partnered with Greene College and Career Academy to put in motion an innovative, coaching, scholarship, and financial assistance initiative that will enrich the lives of thousands of Greene County students for years to come.

John Ellenberg and Dave Thillen
A student in a 2021 face mask stands before a wall with positive words


In a 10-month school year, students schedule appointments 4,000 times.


Since partnering with Thillen Education Foundation, discipline referrals have decreased by 60%.

Our Plan Works


111 coaches are meeting with the entire Greene County High School population.

A student holds two Dave Dollars
A counselor meets with a studet

Join Our Impact

Experience the rewards of playing a role in sending a hard-working teen to college, advancing their professional skills, and ensuring a guided, financially-assisted path to their future. 

Become a Partner

Activate your corporate mission by partnering with us to advance student opportunity through earned financial assistance and respectful diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Dave Thillen with a student and teacher
A student and teacher with face shields

Sign Up For Events

Nothing is more exciting than seeing our kids engaging with our volunteer life coaches. Join us for our next in-person event! 

Ways to

What We've Been Up To

PRINT: With donated bus, high school students can now explore careers on site



Chuck Rowland’s Perspective on GCCA & TEF



New Career Coaches Meet Freshman Students



Dave Thillen stands with a group o Dave Dollars winners.


Our statistics show that pairing a student with a career coach results in improved academic performance and school attendance, a decrease in disciplinary issues, and a tendency to display an overall more positive attitude about school, life and future choices.

Pathway to a Million Campaign

Invest in Courage


If you could give to one organization to

        Support local students living in poverty

            Change the trajectory of young lives
Promote equal rights

  Encourage hope, and

                  Strengthen our community...


How much would you be willing to invest?

Stay Informed

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Curious? Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you!

Education creates opportunity.

Career plans provide structure.

Coaching delivers inspiration.

Hard work guarantees success.

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© 2021 Thillen Education Foundation.

The Thillen Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in the state of Georgia.

Registered Non-Profit Tax ID: #85-0600929

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