Bridges to a Brighter Future began in 1997 as a result of the vision and founding endowment of a very special woman in Greenville, South Carolina, Ms. Mamie Jolley Bruce. Ms. Bruce grew up in Greenville, graduated from Greenville High School and went on to graduate from Randolph College in 1944.
Bridges to a Brighter Future began as a four-week summer academic enrichment program serving students from three Greenville County high schools: Greenville, Carolina, and Southside. Twenty-one students were selected to form the first class. It was determined that each class would be identified with a letter from the Greek Alphabet. The first class was called, “Alpha.” The Alpha class attended the first four- week summer program in the summer of 1997. In 2000, the program expanded the number of schools served by Bridges to a Brighter Future to include all 14 Greenville County high schools and four charter schools.
A grant from the Jolley Foundation was awarded in 2005 to expand the program services to include “Saturday College,” providing year-round tutoring and academic support. In 2010, an anonymous donor provided a gift to create a formal college transition and retention component, “Crossing the Bridge.” With Crossing the Bridge, Bridges to a Brighter Future now formally supports students from ninth grade through college graduation. in 2015, the four-week summer program was formally named “Bridges Foundations.”