A teacher distributes Dave Dollars


Thillen Education Foundation is committed to developing tested and proven intellectual property, including web-based program materials and guidebooks to enable communities around the country to establish similar structured programs that empower young people to engage with coaches 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

In the near term, our foundation vision is to maximize GCCA student participation in the personal coaching program designed by Thillen Education Foundation. We raise funds to enable college-bound students to gain peace of mind that the burden of expenses for post-secondary education will be minimized and to empower trade-skilled graduates to begin a professional career with the appropriate tools and supplies. In the future, our vision is for the Thillen Education Foundation educational and financial assistance model to be replicated by our nation’s public schools, impoverished or wealthy, urban or rural.

Chuck Rowland with two students and a teacher


A green-haired student shows off Dave Dollars


The Thillen Education Foundation is a distinguished community-based earned financial assistance program based on personal coaching and committed to honoring the achievements of 450+ students participating in Greene College & Career Academy (GCCA) of Greensboro, Georgia, a Title I school. Through corporate sponsorships and funding support from donors who share our commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism, we strive to break the cycle of systemic poverty by financially enabling post-secondary education and skills training for hardworking students.

Our Impact

In May 2020, we formalized our education foundation as a Georgia 501(c)(3) entity after more than a decade of dedicated volunteerism to provide personalized coaching and financial educational assistance to students living in poverty. Since our formation, the outpouring of support from corporations, community organizations, and individuals has been nothing short of spectacular. Our growth from zero to $500,000 in one year is testament to the strength in our model, and we’re only just beginning to realize what we can achieve together. 

The impact of every dollar donated is immeasurable. Through your generosity, our foundation will soon surpass the $1 million mark to guarantee for years to come student earned financial assistance for skilled trade and military careers and earned college scholarships for students choosing post-secondary education as their next life phase. 

Please help us to reach our stretch campaign goal of $5 million to ensure the longevity of this invaluable community program that enables students to rise from poverty into a world of great personal and professional possibilities. 


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


Over 100 coaches are meeting with the entire Greene County High School population.


As of July 2021, TEF has raised over half a million dollars. We love our partners and donors!


TEF provides approximately 1 coach per every 4 students as of 2021.


Since Greene County Schools partnered with TEF, student promotion rates have increased by 30%.


Since Greene County Schools partnered with TEF, discipline referrals have decreased by 60%.

Founder and President
Dave Thillen

Creator of the Career Coaching Program, retired IBM marketing and management executive, instructor and gymnastics coach at West Point, U.S. Army veteran

Vice President
Chuck Rowland

Vice President - Retired international sales and internal auditing corporate executive, world traveler, avid runner 

Marjorie Ellis

Greene College & Career Academy Coach and Parent Liaison, past higher education professional

Meet the Team

Our volunteer Board of Directors drives day-to-day foundation operations and partnerships, establishes long-term financial strategy for donor fund investment and disburses earned financial assistance to students, and guides communications and fundraising to continue our efforts for years to come.

Personal coaching encourages kids to believe in their dreams.

Poverty should never limit a child's future possibilities.

Elaine Thillen

Co-founder, Thillen Education Foundation

Our Heart & Soul

We believe in the infinite possibility for personal and professional growth in each student who participates in Thillen Education Foundation program. As volunteers for students, our passion is limitless. It’s a fact. Every time a student achieves a new life or career goal, we share in his or her joy. We thrive on their wins, celebrate their financial assistance earnings, and rally them on to even greater life successes. The individual volunteer-student partnerships are the lifeblood of our institution. Our corporate partners, community organizations, and donors provide the high-powered fuel for the financial assistance engine we have created to help students achieve their lifelong career dreams for college, the military, or skilled trade careers.

How it Works

Service Title

This is your Service description. Use this space to describe what the service entails, benefits for users and any other important information.

Service Title

This is your Service description. Use this space to describe what the service entails, benefits for users and any other important information.

Service Title

This is your Service description. Use this space to describe what the service entails, benefits for users and any other important information.

Chuck Rowland poses with a student
Dave Thillen poses with a family at graduation

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. 

Two students in front of a class of 2024 poster
Two students with a Dave Dollar

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

Stay Informed

Keep up with our latest blog posts!

Curious? Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you!

Education creates opportunity.

Career plans provide structure.

Coaching delivers inspiration.

Hard work guarantees success.

Thanks for submitting!

Thanks for submitting!

© 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

Thillen Education Foundation logo
Guidestar Platinum Seal of Transparency 2020