Keep Oconee Beautiful Association (KOBA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to restore the beauty of Oconee County through: EDUCATION, AWARENESS, COOPERATION, and ACTION. Started in April of 1985, KOBA has been an integral part of pursuing a litter free environment in the county through various programs such as Adopt-A-Highway, an elementary education program, participation in Great American CleanUp and conducting the annual county litter survey. As a Gold Level Affiliate with Keep America Beautiful, KOBA was instrumental in the creation of a county wide litter ordinance as well as an environmental enforcement officer focusing efforts on litter reduction and control. KOBA works closely with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office to coordinate programs and events.
This year, KOBA is excited about continuing its efforts to raise awareness of litter reduction through enhancements to its hallmark elementary education program, coordination of the Adopt-A-Highway program, and providing cloth tote bags to the county library system. In 2014, KOBA plans to launch a “KOBIE SAYS….” program to educate the public and raise the awareness of laws and facts regarding littering and recycling. KOBIE SAYS will utilize KOBIE BEAR, a 28 year school program icon already recognizable by many in the community. KOBIE BEAR will deliver messages through billboards, newspapers, local news letters, etc. and make guest appearances at local events.
KOBA is a unique organization, taking a broad approach (education, remediation, legislation, and promotion) to solve a very specific problem (keeping Oconee beautiful). This effort is provided by an Executive Director and volunteer staff, assuring that the organization's funding is used directly on the group's mission. KOBA is a 501(c)(3) organization.
In April of 1985, four residents of Oconee County met to discuss their concerns over the growing problem of litter on the roadside. They selected a name that was specific to what they hoped to accomplish: Keep Oconee Beautiful Association was born.
Since those early days, KOBA has expanded in size and scope. Through modest dues and unselfish volunteer spirit of Oconee County's citizens, KOBA has accomplished much since 1985 and has grown to an organization with hundreds of members.
KOBA's activities are overseen by a Board of eleven elected members working in concert with committee chairs and volunteers. Operating capital is obtained from membership dues, contributions, and grants.
KOBA administers the Adopt-A-Highway program in the county, supporting the state initiative without cost to the county. KOBA’s unrivaled education program has been recognized by the state as being a unique program and providing a positive learning experience through the adventures of KOBIE Bear and friends for over 2,400 elementary students annually in Oconee County. KOBA oversees an annual photo contest that has provided hundreds of entries illustrating many of the beautiful aspects of Oconee County. In March of 2005, KOBA became an affiliate with KAB (Keep America Beautiful). Through this affiliation, KOBA is able to participate in the Great American Clean-up as well as eligible for grants from this national organization. In 2012, KOBA partnered with the Oconee County Library System to provide durable cloth library book bags to children and adults who routinely carried plastic bags for their books. Library users loved the bags and were able to reduce the need for plastic bags. In 2013, KOBA initiated its Sign Blight program, removing hundreds of junk signs along County and State roadways. This program alone has made a significant difference in the beauty of Oconee County.
We are proud of our association and its accomplishments. KOBA has been permanently installed in the South Carolina Hall of Fame for repeatedly winning the Governor’s Award for Community Improvement.