Alum Spotlight: Twanja Windley ’03

July 28, 2023 at 9:56 am

Twanja Windley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from USC Upstate. She is a realtor, podcaster, and author. Twanja is also the founder of the Twindle Foundation, which seeks to provide a range of financial, educational, and other resources for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Please note that USC Upstate was USC Spartanburg until 2004 when the university changed its name to better reflect its regional impact.

“As the founder of the Twindle Foundation, I have built my organization on sowing seeds and giving back. Many years ago during my freshman year at USCS (USC Upstate), I remember my English professor asking the class what brought us to college. There were two cousins who sat side by side and shared that their grandmother wanted them to give college a try. She wanted something different for them, and she didn’t want them to get involved with drugs or anything gang-related. 

I remember that story like it was yesterday because I remember how I felt hearing them say, “I’m not sure how much longer we can afford to be here because we can’t afford it financially and don’t want to place the burden on our grandmother.” I understood what that was like because when I went to college I left behind a lot of friends who didn’t have the resources to attend or who had to take care of loved ones.   

As the semester progressed, I remember seeing these two on campus asking others to use their meal plan to eat; I once saw them washing their clothes together and not being able to dry them. I told myself I was going to do something about their situation. I knew I couldn’t at that moment, but someday I would create something that would help future students in similar situations. I created the Twindle Foundation. In 2020, I started a scholarship fund so college students could go to school without worrying about financial barriers. The Twindle Foundation has awarded $10,000 in scholarships and resources thus far to help students. 

When I started a career in real estate, I saw the challenges that minorities were facing due to student loan debt and how it impacted their ability to purchase a home and generate wealth. Since then, I’ve been able to speak to college business students about personal finance, time management, the importance of creating a budget, student loan debt, and homeownership. I also have been working on implementing a course called Focus Forward, which would educate college and high school students on these various topics, along with financial literacy. 

In the future, I would like to partner with the Trio SSS program (Opportunity Network) at Upstate and surrounding colleges to speak with students about student loan debt and how it could be a challenge in their future. You can help me achieve my goal by partnering with the Twindle Foundation.”