Mary Black Foundation’s Strategic Direction
Today’s blog is written by Molly Talbot-Metz, President & CEO, Mary Black Foundation
A strategic plan provides direction, aligns the work of an organization, and inspires action to achieve the ultimate mission. For the last several months, the Mary Black Foundation has been in partnership with the leadership and strategy coach, Patrick Jinks, to develop our next strategic plan. I am excited to share a summary of the Mary Black Foundation’s 2020-2022 strategic plan that will guide our work for the next three years. Over the next three years, we will lead boldly to invest, partner, and achieve impact for a healthier Spartanburg County. Our three strategic drivers will be:
Advancing Health Equity
In July 2018, the Foundation made a public commitment to health equity. We defined health equity as “when all people have access to opportunities to thrive, both physically and mentally, and no one is limited in achieving health and wellness because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, ability, sexual orientation, age, income, or zip code.” Our next step, as emphasized in the strategic plan, is to operationalize our approach to health equity.
During the first year of the strategic plan, we will (1) conduct research locally and nationally to develop a better understanding of the drivers of health inequities and (2) formulate a plan that guides our practices and engages others in the work to achieve health equity.
Expanding Impact Investing
Impact Investing refers to the use of a foundation’s invested capital to generate positive social and financial returns. Private foundations are required by the IRS to distribute at least 5% of assets for a charitable purpose, leaving 95% of assets at work to achieve maximize financial returns. Recently, many foundations have been looking for ways to advance their charitable purpose with the other 95%. The Mary Black Foundation approved our first Impact Investment in January 2009 and has since approved a total of four. These local Impact Investments provided funds for a community center, over 80 units of affordable housing, and renovations of five City parks, while still generating a modest financial return for the Foundation.
Over the next three years, we will increase our participation in Impact Investing by carving out an allocation of investment dollars that will be earmarked for local impact beyond the required 5% charitable distribution.
Strategic Grantmaking for Impact
To ensure the Foundation achieves its mission of improved health, wellness, and success, we must ensure we maximize the impact of our grantmaking. Throughout the next three years, we will sharpen our grantmaking by prioritizing efforts that (1) address systems-level work, (2) use data to drive decision making and to monitor impact, and (3) target geographic areas where communities are disproportionally impacted by inequities.
By spring 2020, we will release an updated grantmaking framework, including funding announcements and online grant applications, to reflect our more strategic approach to achieve impact.
For more detailed information about the 2020-2022 strategic plan, you can see the full plan HERE.