The Vineyards is one of three Cliffs Communities on Lake Keowee. Located at the base of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the Upstate of South Carolina, the Vineyards is one of two Cliffs Communities in Pickens County. CRO-Vineyards primarily supports “education” initiatives for elementary students and their families. The Vineyards CRO donors and volunteers initially directed their programs and support to Holly Springs Elementary School in Pickens County. When the Pickens County School District closed this school at the end of the 2015 school year, CRO-Vineyards transitioned its support to Pickens Elementary School. Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, CRO-Vineyards has expanded its support to include Hagood Elementary School. In total, CRO-Vineyards serves the needs of 1,000+ elementary students.


CRO Vineyards holds one annual fundraiser. All donations go directly to fund programs that benefit the children of the schools and local community. The CRO Vineyards Advisory Council approves an annual budget of approximately $60,000, the majority of which is allocated and directed to education in the two local Pickens county elementary schools we support. Disbursements over $500, are approved by the CRO Advisory Council. A monthly financial report is submitted to the CRO-Council and CRO corporate by the CRO Vineyards Treasurer.

Pickens Elementary School Principal and Assistant Principal attend 2018 Giving-Back-2-School Fundraiser


Working with the principals and guidance staff, an annual budget is planned. Funding is disbursed though out the school year in the following programs:

  • Parents as Learners: a program targeted at developing the skills a parent needs to be more effective in supporting their child, as a student.
  • Field Trip Scholarships: to insure every child can participate in field trips
  • Summer Academy Scholarships: scholarships to fund students attending the summer school camp
  • Robotics and STEM clubs: assistance in purchasing the materials for these after school programs
  • Health and Wellness needs: healthy snacks, eyeglasses, hearing aids, lice kits, food vouchers
  • Emergency Fund for Families: one-time emergency funds to assist with families who have a sudden and disruptive family crisis (example: death of a parent; house destroyed by fire)
  • New Initiatives targeted to early childhood development

In addition to the programs above, volunteers also support the schools by providing hundreds of hours of assistance with:

  • Back-to-School Supplies: in 2018 over $2,500 in school supplies were donated and delivered to the schools; parents without the means to buy school supplies are provided the opportunity to “shop” prior to the first day of school so no student arrives on the first day of school without having their supplies
  • Angel Tree: an annual holiday program where Cliffs’ residents purchase Christmas gifts for needy children. The programs provides for both a clothing item (like a coat or shoes) and a toy gift. On average, Cliff’s donors provide $3,500-$4,000 of gifts annually.
  • Class Picture Day: Cliffs’ volunteers help Pickens Elementary take their own student photos, in lieu of hiring a school photography company. This is one of many ways they work to make an annual tradition affordable for their students and families.
  • Standardized Test Proctoring: volunteers serve as classroom test proctors throughout the year
  • Book Fair: volunteers assist the PTO by providing additional assistance during the Book Fair
  • “Hope” Garden: volunteers assist the elementary school garden club with the cleanup and preparation of their garden
  • Santa’s Secret Shop: Students come to the “shop” to buy gifts for their families. Volunteers assist the PTO in helping student pick and choose gifts.

Volunteer, Dick Bollman, assists Instructional Aid, Lori Durham, take school photos. The school takes its own photos as a way to make an annual tradition affordable for their students and families.


To understand the needs and opportunities at these two Pickens County elementary schools, it is helpful to understand a little about the student body. Both elementary schools are designated federal Title I schools:

  • 556 students in Pre-K through 5th Grade
  • 68% of students in poverty (TANF, Medicaid, SNAP, foster child or homeless)
  • 22:1 Student-Teacher Ratio
  • 15.9% of students have a disability
  • 8.2% of students are in a gifted and talented programs
  • 485 students in Pre-K through 5th grade
  • 75% of students in poverty (TANF, Medicaid, SNAP, foster child or homeless)
  • 19:1 Student-Teacher Ratio
  • Hagood Elementary serves the School District of Pickens County as the site for students with special needs requiring Orthopedic and Learning Challenged self-contained classes
  • 7.3% of students are in a gifted and talented programs

A very large number of students get two of their meals each day from the schools, including during the summer. Additionally the schools facilitate aid and services for their students and families, from doctor/dental aid, emergency assistance to families, scholarships for field trips etc.

Pickens and Hagood Elementary Schools are located in the quaint, historical town of Pickens, SC approximately 20 miles from the Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards’ gatehouse.

Advisory Council

The CRO Vineyards Advisory Council consists of volunteers for a minimum two-year term, up to six years total. All former Advisory Council members are welcomed as “volunteers for life” and continue to support CRO.

  • Co-Directors: Jean Ann and Dick Bollman, 2018-2020
  • Treasurer: Ann Ackley, 2017-2019
  • Communications: Mary Steele, 2017 – 2019
  • School Representative:Mary Whitaker, 2018-2020
  • School Representative: Stephanie Cookson, 2018-2020
  • Corporate Sponsorships: Laurelle Williams, 2018-2020
  • Member At-Large: Pam Shyatt, 2018-2020

Helpful Links

Volunteer Newsletter

Photo Gallery

Our Location

Just a short drive off of SC National Scenic Highway 11 and adjacent to the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards is located between Lake Jocassee (7,500 acres of water and 75 miles of shoreline) and Lake Keowee (18,500 acres of water and 300 miles of shoreline) in the golden corner of Upstate SC.


CRO Vineyards PO Box 93, Sunset, SC 29685

824 Club House Drive Sunset, SC 29685