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Published on March 14th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


John W. Folsom recognized as “Humanitarian of the Year”

Picture From left to right: Mac Bennett, President & CEO of United Way of the Midlands, Mike Brenan, 2012 Humanitarian of the Year award recipient, John Folsom, 2013 Humanitarian of the Year award recipient and Dr. Percy Mack, 2013-2014 Chair of United Way of the Midlands’ Board of Directors. 

COLUMBIA, S.C.  – United Way of the Midlands recognized John W. Folsom as the 2013 Humanitarian of the Year Award recipient at United Way’s annual Humanitarian of the Year Dinner and Award Ceremony on February 27 at the ColumbiaMetropolitanConvention Center.

Folsom currently serves as President and CEO of Colliers International. He began his career in 1974 at South Carolina Federal, where he ultimately served as President and CEO. Since then he has worked with Keenan Company and Colliers.

John has an established track record of service to the Columbia area. He has led efforts in health and human services, education and the arts, leaving a significant impact on his community. In addition to serving as United Way of the Midlands Campaign Chair in 1989 and Board Chair in 1991, John has made significant financial contributions to support the mission of United Way and other charitable causes in the Midlands.

“John has made and continues to make an impact on the Midlands, especially the homeless community,” said Mac Bennett, President and CEO, United Way of the Midlands. “He follows his passions and fully commits to projects he believes in, and we see the results.”

Folsom was instrumental to the building of Transitions. While serving on the Board of Directors for the Midlands Housing Alliance, he helped secure the property for the shelter and solicited individual and corporate gifts to support construction and sustainability of the site. Since opening in June 2011, Transitions has moved nearly 500 people to permanent housing and over 1,300 people to a more positive living situation.

His example of philanthropy and leadership has been emulated by both his employees at Colliers and his family. Together, John and his son Andy organized the Salute from the Shore, a Fourth of July flyover along the coast of South Carolina. On July 4, 2010, the first “Salute from the Shore” was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of people. The inaugural flyover – assisted by a C-17 from Charleston AFB – resulted in an overwhelming outpouring of personal messages, stories and support. The flyover continues annually as a way to honor our armed forces.

Mike Gray, Senior VP for Resource Development of United Way of the Midlands, submitted John’s name to be considered for the award.

“John leads by example,” said Gray. “He is a true philanthropist who derives satisfaction not from recognition, but from our community’s collective response to meeting the education and human service needs of our community.”

John has been married to English Johnson Folsom for over 40 years. They have two children, Andy and Katie F. Eaddy, and four grandchildren.

The Humanitarian of the Year Award is presented every year to someone who has exhibited extraordinary service and philanthropy in the Midlands. Nominations are accepted beginning in August and a selection committee from United Way of the Midlands collectively decides on the recipient.

The black tie event was attended by over four hundred of Folsom’s family, friends, colleagues and admirers alike.

About United Way of the Midlands

United Way of the Midlands is the most organized, efficient and accountable system for investing in the community. With more than 80 certified partner agencies, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations. For more information, please visit 

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