Friends of Compassion 

Your participation is key to building a Community of Compassion for Greenville's future.

Greenville has always been reminiscent, to me, of Sri Lanka - the greenery, mountains, and the International Girl Guides and Girl Scout ties that initially attracted me to Greenville... 


In the 1970s and 1980s, Greenville was known as the Textile Capital of the World. An open-minded community embraced me as one of their own with core values, beliefs, and dreams that united us rather than separating us. We all shared common life experiences that helped bond the community. Mindful understanding brought positive reaction forging life-long friendships. Friends of Compassion was born of this community spirit and support. We are your friends. Your neighbors.


Everything Greenville has achieved—our prosperity and all-around progress—contributes to the enhancement of our collective human spirituality. Our community has seen rapid growth, and we are learning to savor our differences sensibly with sensitivity and celebrate our diversity. Why not combine the community, humanity, and goodwill that have proven successful and step to a higher plateau of compassionate thinking?


Our Upstate community, whenever challenged, unites with compassion in support of local, national, and international emergencies and causes. In recognition of this gracious tradition of generosity, it is time to show her our gratitude with a symbol. 


The six-foot bronze Tree of Compassion rendered by Greenville sculptor Philip Whitley will be an icon of unity. The two stylized branches reach one another without touching the trunk, representing the community oneness of humanity yet leaving space for individual growth, choice, and freedom. The branch on the left stands for our past elders whose wisdom and courage created the foundation we stand on today. The branch on the right stands for the torch carried forward by the current generation. Their individual commitment, resilience, and vision make our community both vibrant and prosperous. Lastly, the trunk holds three leaves: the past and present together cradle the center leaf—our legacy, our future.


In order for this bronze sculpture of the Tree of Compassion to become a reality, a community-wide sale of my book Butterfly Mountain is planned as part of the funding campaign. The entire proceeds from the sales are earmarked for the creation of the Tree of Compassion. This endeavor is an expression of gratitude to our community.


This project needs your support, as well. As a Friend of Compassion, you will take pride in your support as you pause to reflect beside the sculpture, knowing that your individual commitment and experience are an integral part of life in Greenville. The Friends of Compassion have shown what we as a community are able to accomplish. The Tree of Compassion will inspire all persons to make compassion a priority in their daily thoughts and activities.

Join us in our final stretch as we commit to creating a lasting legacy and visual symbol for everyone in the Upstate. With our combined effort, may Greenville acquire this symbol of gracious compassion and rightfully become known as the Community of Compassion.


- Gwen Rodrigo Goad, June 2020



“Nothing happens unless first a dream…..”   Carl Sandburg

Help preserve Greenville's legacy of community gratitude and humanity.