About Us




Our Mission


The Thillen Education Foundation is a distinguished community-based mentoring and financial assistance program driven by volunteer leaders committed to honoring the achievements of and serving the students participating in Greene College & Career Academy (GCCA) of Greensboro, Georgia, a Title I school with a 98% poverty rate and 95% minority student body including a migrant worker population.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-racism are at the forefront of our mission. Our organization strives to break the cycle of lack of opportunity due to systemic poverty.

Our founder, Dave Thillen, spent more than 15 years individually coaching students to personal and professional success. These students came from Greene County, Georgia Habitat for Humanity homes and through the Pete Nance Boys and Girls Club of Greensboro.

Now, using the coaching and career advising materials created and fine-tuned by Dave, GCCA has embraced our foundation’s immersive mentoring model and is one of our proudest partner organizations. We share a mutual goal for student success as a way to break the cycle of poverty, and through our connected partnership, we provide the earned financial assistance and the personal interaction these high school students need to thrive as adults who make great contributions to society.

By harnessing the collective wisdom, leadership, encouragement, and inspiration of seasoned volunteer professionals, tapping into a rich database of resources and career tools, and by using donations and grants to establish individual student participation awards for scholarships and professional supplies, we strive to financially support all 450 – 500 GCCA students to fulfill their dreams for a college education, advanced certificate training (during or after high school), or military service with deferred post-secondary education or military career expansion.


"Every child needs to feel worthy of being the very best adult they can be. Personal coaching encourages kids to believe in their dreams, provides a road map for future personal and professional success, and ensures the development of vital emotional and intellectual connection between the generations. The circumstance of poverty should never limit a child's future possibilities."

Elaine Thillen, Treasurer and Secretary


Our Vision and Commitment

Education can truly change lives for the better.

Through our foundation’s quest to enable all Greene College & Career Academy students to gain access to life-changing post-secondary education and professional training opportunities, the Thillen Education Foundation aligns with corporate partners and individual patrons who believe in the successful personal coaching and career planning model.

Earned scholarships enable college-bound students to gain the peace of mind that the burden of expenses for post-secondary education will be minimized. Earned financial assistance for skilled graduate workers empower them to begin a professional career with the appropriate tools and supplies.

In the future, this Thillen Education Foundation educational and financial assistance model can be studied and replicated by our nation’s public schools, impoverished or wealthy, urban or rural.

Thillen Education Foundation is committed to developing tested and proven program web-based materials and guidebooks to enable communities around the country to establish similar structured programs that empower young people to engage in their future planning, earn financial assistance for scholarships or professional supplies, and reap the long-term rewards of post-secondary education and related professional opportunities.

The Thillen Education Foundation believes that:

  • All high school students who endure the defining long term effects of systemic poverty, lack of inclusion, or inequity should be granted every opportunity to pursue their goals  for betterment of life skills, professional skills, and post-secondary education.

  • Community members should unite to coach and support the next generation by sharing their wisdom, experience, leadership, and personal encouragement.

  • ​Our nation’s school systems and teachers should join forces with volunteer coaches and career advisors to inspire, lead by example, and guide decision-making for participant students.

“The way out of poverty is through education and personal coaching.

This one-on-one approach is the absolute best solution to ensure a successful future for our next generation.”


Dave Thillen, Founder

Thillen Education Foundation