Celebrating Mary Black Foundation’s History: 1997
Mary Black Foundation becomes a Private Foundation
2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Mary Black Foundation’s role as a private foundation in Spartanburg. However, the Mary Black Foundation has a legacy that extends beyond the last 25 years. In fact, the Foundation was originally formed in 1986 – 35 years ago – to support the Mary Black Memorial Hospital and related community programs.
The sale of the nonprofit hospital to a for profit company, in 1996, led to the reconfiguration of the Mary Black Foundation and its significant growth in assets. In the 25 years since the Mary Black Foundation separated from the hospital, it has provided over $61 million in grants to support health and wellness initiatives throughout Spartanburg County. During this same time, the assets have grown to over $75 million.
Black and Powell Awards
1997 was the first year Mary Black Foundation began the Black and Powell Awards. These awards were given in honor of local Spartanburg leaders Dr. Sam O. Black Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Powell through 2002.
The Dr. Sam O. Black, Jr. Health Promotion Award was named in honor of the former Foundation trustee emeritus. Dr. Sam O. Black, Jr. was a dedicated volunteer in the community and a surgeon at Mary Black Memorial Hospital, which was founded by his father and grandfather. The award was given annually to a community volunteer and came with a $25,000 unrestricted grant.
Recipients of the Sam O’ Black, Jr. Health Promotion Award
- Dr. Lucien Brailsford to St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic- 1997
- Mrs. Anne Johnston to New Day, Inc. of Spartanburg- 1998
- Mr. John Wardlaw to Adult Learning Center- 1999
- Mr. Fred J. Thomas to Northside Resource Center- 2000
- Mrs. Tami Dennis to Spartanburg Running Club- 2001
- Ms. Dorothy Dawkins to Spartanburg Terrace Tenants Association- 2002
The Mr. and Mrs. Frank Powell Health Professional Award was named in honor of a Spartanburg couple who were dedicated to improving the health of others and who generously donated to the Mary Black Foundation. The award was given annually to a nonprofit leader and came with a $5,000 grant for professional development.
Recipients of the Mr. and Mrs. Frank Powell Health Professional Award
- Mr. Glenn A. Brumfield with The Charles Lea Foundation- 1997
- Ms. Barbara L. Colvin with REACH Upstate- 1998
- Dr. Nancy Henderson with Children’s Advocacy of Spartanburg- 1999
- Ms. Jane Foster with SC DHEC Public Region Two- 2000
- Ms. Christy Caruso with SC DHEC Public Region Two- 2001
- Ms. Georgia Mangum with St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic- 2002
The Beginning of Middle Tyger Community Center
In 1997 $25,250 was awarded to Spartanburg School District 5 as a planning grant for a family support center. In 1998 an additional $1,294,263 was granted to Spartanburg School District 5 for the pilot of Middle Tyger Community Center (MTCC).
Funds from these grants were used to conduct a needs assessment, develop innovative programs, and to renovate a former elementary school building. Soon after, a full collaborative partnership was formed, staff was hired, participants were recruited, programs were launched, and in August 1998, MTCC was opened to the public.
Today, Middle Tyger Community Center provides comprehensive services to the community including early childhood education, teen pregnancy support & prevention, senior services, family counseling services, youth development programs, a food pantry, a free health clinic, and adult education programs including GED, ESOL and Literacy classes. MTCC has become a model for holistic, integrated family support services.
Wanda Fowler, the former Executive Director of Middle Tyger Community Center, who played a critical role in the success of MTCC throughout the years said:
When the Mary Black Foundation announced its vision to fund comprehensive health and wellness programs for children, Spartanburg County School District Five was prepared to seize this opportunity. Since August 1998, MTCC has served the community by delivering resources in an integrated approach that allows the families to move towards family sufficiency. Families continue to be served with basic essential needs, mental health counseling, high quality affordable childcare, adult education, and financial stability classes.
Through the Mary Black Foundation continuing to support the programs offered at MTCC, children and families are overcoming obstacles and reaching positive life changing outcomes.
Dr. Marvin Woodsen, former Superintendent of Spartanburg School District 5 and Board of Trustees member for Mary Black Foundation said,
The impact this entire community center has had has been tremendous. They’ve taken in people from all walks of life and have helped them solve their family’s problems and their children’s problems.
When so many people were losing their jobs, this center stepped in and set up job fairs and helped people to change their careers. It’s been a tremendous impact on this community.
To learn more about Middle Tyger Community Center, visit: www.middletyger.org/