Celebrating Mary Black Foundation’s History
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 $62 million in grants to support health and wellness initiatives throughout Spartanburg County. During this same time, the assets have grown to over $75 million.
Community Health Fund
In addition to investing in our two priority areas, the Mary Black Foundation promotes health and wellness in Spartanburg County through the Community Health Fund (CHF). The CHF is an annual grantmaking opportunity for projects outside of the Foundation’s Early Childhood Development and Healthy Eating | Active Living priority areas and, generally, represents 10-20% of the Foundation’s total grantmaking.
EMERGE Family Therapy and Teaching Clinic
EMERGE Family Therapy and Teaching Clinic has been a partner of Mary Black Foundation for the last 25 years. Their mission is to train therapists, provide quality, affordable counseling, and strengthen our community.
Therapists at EMERGE specialize in:
- Individual counseling
Counseling for children
EMERGE is committed to providing counseling at a price people can afford. They offer a unique sliding scale fee system with rates starting at just $6 per session.
Since 1996, Mary Black Foundation has awarded nearly $600,000 in grants to EMERGE. Projects that have been funded include:
- $254,490 from 1997-1999 for family systems therapy and research
- $105,960 from 2017-2020 for play therapy for preschool children and their families
- $60,000 in 2020 for mental health services for COVID-19 pandemic
- $176,000 from 2020-2022 to increase mental health services for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
Play Therapy for Preschool Children and their Families
Starting in 2017, Mary Black Foundation began partnering with EMERGE for their work providing counseling services for preschool children and their families. The purpose of this grant was to provide mental health services to families with preschool age children who would not otherwise be able to afford counseling services.
Funds were also used to train counselors and therapists in appropriate techniques to work with preschool children using play therapy. Presently, there is a shortage of counselors trained in developmentally appropriate techniques to help young children sort through their challenges so that they can reach their full potential and begin school ready to learn. The need for mental health services for children and their families is critical in our community.
In 2017, it was estimated that 20% of children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness during a given year that interferes with their life. However, only one in five receives treatment. This work is vital so that children can receive needed treatment so that they can take full advantage of the education they deserve.
Because of the success from this initial grant, in 2019, an additional $50,000 award was provided to EMERGE to offer counseling services for families whose children attended Meeting Street Academy.
Increasing Mental Health Services for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
In 2020, EMERGE Family Therapy and Teaching Clinic partnered with Spartanburg Area Mental Health to address inequities in mental health care in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
By reaching out to these BIPOC communities the goal is to increase both the number of individuals coming in for services but also the quality and cultural awareness of the services being delivered.
This comprehensive approach seeks to build a pipeline to attract and retain Black, Indigenous and People of Color within the field of Mental Health in Spartanburg, increasing the quantity of BIPOC clinicians and to increase the quality of care through the availability of culturally sensitive, trauma-informed training on best practices for serving BIPOC mental health needs.
Working concurrently with EMERGE Family Therapy Center & Teaching Clinic, Spartanburg Area Mental Health aims to reach BIPOC communities by hiring two team members to lead the work. The strategy includes building strong relationships in the community, launching marketing campaigns, and assessing internal systems and practices.