Celebrating Mary Black Foundation’s History: 1998
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.
Garrisons’ Healthy Families Initiative
Begun in 1997, the Garrisons’ Healthy Families Initiative was a five-year, multi-million dollar initiative addressing the health and wellness of children and their families.
The “big idea” behind the Healthy Families Initiative was relatively simple: We can improve the lives of children by providing a comprehensive range of support services available to their families. This range of support required collaboration on the part of many service providers. In essence, the whole community must come together to impact the lives of children and families. The goal in this initiative was to provide families with easily accessible “one-stop” service centers that link them to a wealth of assistance and resources.
Named in honor of T.R. Garrison and his wife Alma for their service to the Mary Black Foundation and Spartanburg County, the Garrisons’ Healthy Families Initiative sought to bring communities together to build lasting, collaborative networks to serve families and children.
Former Board of Trustee member, Butch Harris, said
“During the MBF committee reconfiguration meetings, strong emphasis was placed on choosing programs that would impact healthy changes early in life. Agreeing that “improved health” encompasses a great deal more than medical treatment, that education, especially early childhood education, affects and improves broad lifetime health habits, the thought was to bring many resources together in one place for preschool children and their parents to effect change. The MBF trustees knew up front that such a program would be expensive, fraught with trial and error, that changing culture was very difficult, but if effective might prove a model for early childhood education and health, and thereby begin to impact the broader community to one of greatly improved health and well being. Significant, encouraging and satisfying is that MBF has continued for 25 years to invest not only substantial financial sums in this initiative, but also its social and leadership capital.”
Throughout the five years of the Garrisons’ Healthy Families Initiative, nearly $8 million dollars was awarded to the following organizations:
- Boys and Girls Club- Awarded in 1998, 1999, and 2000
- EMERGE Family Therapy and Teaching Clinic- Awarded in 1997 and 1998
- Family Resources Inc.- Awarded in 2000, 2001, and 2002
- Spartanburg School District Five- Awarded in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001
- Spartanburg School District Four- Awarded in 2000 and 2001
- Spartanburg School District One- Awarded in 2000
- Spartanburg School District Two- Awarded in 1998
- Spartanburg Development Council Inc. – Awarded in 1998
- University of South Carolina- Awarded in 1998 and 1999
- YMCA of Greater Spartanburg- Awarded in 1998
Highlighting Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate
Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate (formerly Boys and Girls Club of Metro Spartanburg) was a recipient of the Garrisons’ Healthy Families Initiative for their Foundation for the Future project. This program brought together a number of partners to provide a broad range of services to children and families. Boys and Girls Club used a portion of funding from Mary Black Foundation to open its third Spartanburg-area center in 1999.
In addition, the Whitlock TEENSupreme Center gave teens an opportunity to participate in art classes provided by the Museum of art, learn dance from Ballet Spartanburg, and take part in theater with the Little Theater.
Boys and Girls Club offered services for parents too, including Parent University, facilitated by the Family Care Council. These classes sought to sharpen parenting skills and to provide a more supportive, stimulating environment for children and a balanced, manageable life for parents.
Greg Tolbert, President of Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate said,
“All things work together, like funding from great institutions like Mary Black Foundation, to cost saving and scale-increasing partnerships with schools, to the support of federal programs like 21st Century Community Learning Centers to make our work sustainable and consistent over decades now. It was Mary Black Foundation and your Garrisons’ Healthy Families Initiative that made our organization what it is today. We still do most all of the things we learned in that grant process. We have built on that solid foundation. As a result, thousands of children have been served with the live saving support of an educationally-focused Boys & Girls Club. Within our national family of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, we are light-years ahead of other Clubs and a leader in our national movement.”