top of page
Thillen Education Foundation logo
  • Facebook

TEF Launches “Pathway to a Million” Campaign

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

On Tuesday, September 7, 2021, The Thillen Education Foundation kicked off its first-ever capital campaign: Pathway to a Million. Founded in 2020 through hard work and grassroots fundraising, the foundation is dedicated to financially supporting the futures of graduating students from Greene College & Career Academy (GCCA) at Greene County High School. The kick-off event was attended by GCCA CEO, John Ellenberg, as well as donors, program coaches, and community leaders.

Pathway to a Million aims to raise $1 million dollars for future student financial assistance. “Our program is unique. The financial assistance we provide is awarded to students pursuing further education, technical training, or military service,” said Dave Thillen, founder. “Our financial assistance also provides the means for skilled-trade and military graduates to use earned funds to purchase the necessary supplies to launch a career.”

In one school year, the Thillen Education Foundation volunteers conduct more than 3000 coaching appointments with students. “Nowhere else will you find a program as comprehensive and impactful as what we’ve created with the Thillen Education Foundation. In this program, every student at Greene County High School receives weekly personal coaching which leads to guaranteed financial assistance at the completion of their education,” said Ellenberg. “Our students benefit from coaching by seasoned professionals who help the kids think through the steps needed to begin a chosen career and then hold them accountable for progress.”

Hermandez Wynn, GCHS graduate / UGA Student and Dave Thillen, President, TEF
Hermandez Wynn, GCHS graduate / UGA Student, Dave Thillen, President, TEF

Former GCCA student Hermandez Wynn is now studying project management at University of Georgia. He shared, “I am very grateful for this personal coaching program. Any opportunity that will help the community--especially my community--obtain higher education is a blessing from God because it opens up so many opportunities, not just for the individual but for the entire family and the entire community.”

Campaign Chair Ellen Lemming added, “Next May, the first class in the program will graduate and be awarded the financial assistance they have earned. This community effort is real. What began as a dream of two dedicated people—Dave and Elaine Thillen--is now a reality. We need your help to ensure this innovative program will succeed in perpetuity.”

By the numbers, Thillen Education Foundation makes a big impact community wide. Currently, 111 local volunteer career coaches meet with 450 GCCA students weekly to inspire goal-setting, assist with real-time problem solving, explore career pathways, and offer personal guidance.

To take part in this life-changing experience for so many students or to donate, please visit

Please share your thoughts on this post in the comments section below. After typing your comment, click "Publish," then "Publish as Guest." Check the box to confirm that you are not a bot.

14 views0 comments


A student holds two Dave Dollars

Join Our Impact

Experience the rewards of preparing a hard-working teen for college, the workforce, or military service, and ensuring a guided, financially-assisted path to their future.

Become a Partner

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

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

bottom of page