About our sponsorship
South Carolina is the setting for many of the events in Downing of a Flag, a documentary Synovus is proud to help bring to public television. As South Carolina Division CEO, Chuck Garnett watched many of those events unfold, often from the conference room in the bank’s branch in Columbia, the state capital.
Whenever Chuck chairs a meeting in the conference room, he prefers to leave the doors open. The South Carolina native will close them, however, when an important dialogue needs help opening up.
Chuck joined Synovus (then NBSC) in 1993. Out the window of the conference room, Chuck could see the Confederate battle flag in the courtyard. While the flag wasn’t on the bank’s property, every time he was in the room, Chuck could see a piece of history that kept the bank and the state he served from reaching their potential.
Through his civic involvement as president of South Carolina’s flagship bank, Chuck was acutely aware of how much the flag had cost the state. Then, on June 17, 2015, the murders of nine parishioners in a Charleston church exacted a devastating new toll. Less than a month later, on July 10, 2015, the flag was lowered from its prominent post one last time.
Seeing an opportunity to bring people together, Chuck invited a group of guests to the conference room to watch the solemn ceremony. In a matter of moments, a longtime source of division was gone. As the view through the conference room window opened up, so did the chance for important new conversations.
Juwan Ayers: Answering opportunity with action
Synovus is proud to sponsor the Downing of a Flag documentary on public television. Our message running before and after the film features one of our team members, Juwan Ayers. Like all our team members, Juwan’s path to Synovus is an interesting one, and we’re proud to have him representing us in this important sponsorship.
Continuing the conversation
At Synovus, we rely on team members like Juwan and Chuck to foster the dialogue that moves communities forward. Since our journey requires more discussion than one conference room can hold, we’re committed to creating new spaces where individuals can listen and learn. Two examples of this commitment are our support of the forthcoming International African American Museum in Charleston, SC, and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
- Currently under construction on the former site of Gadsden’s Wharf, the mission of the International African American Museum is, in the words of Chief Operating Officer Elijah Heyward III, “to preserve an often underappreciated part of American history to ensure that all Americans can learn about the excellence that continues to define our society.” Synovus is honored to play a role in creating a space where differing views can be explored with compassion and dignity.
- While historic places can speak to us, improving our society requires us to listen to each other. Discussion of our most ingrained differences must start from an agreed-upon body of knowledge. In 2020, Synovus made a $1 million pledge to the UNCF. The commitment includes funding scholarships named after Calvin Smyre, a longtime Georgia legislator and retired Synovus executive. The scholarships will provide financial aid to African American students in the five states Synovus serves, especially those who choose to attend a historically black college or university.
These steps are just two expressions of our belief that, when we are bold enough to widen our view, we can narrow any divide between us.
Synovus is proud to support the public television documentary, Downing of a Flag. Learn more about our sponsorship, Synovus team member Juwan Ayers, and how Synovus is committed to keeping the conversation going.