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.
2020: An Extraordinary Year
It’s an understatement to say that 2020 was a challenging year, but we are proud of how Spartanburg has responded and the role the Mary Black Foundation has played in supporting our community’s healing and recovery.
After the Governor’s Executive Order declaring COVID-19 a public health emergency, the Mary Black Foundation joined forces with a variety of nonprofits, governmental institutions, public health entities, and the business community. We worked together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the impact on physical health, as well as emotional, social, and financial wellbeing.
2020-2022 Strategic Plan
One of the three goals of Mary Black Foundation’s 2020-2022 Strategic Plan is to improve grantmaking for impact.
A success aspiration of this goal is visible improvement in key health indicators among populations disproportionately experiencing poor health outcomes.
The Foundation provided grants to support nonprofits’ general operating expenses at a time when their revenue decreased, yet demand for services increased.
After speaking with many executive directors of Spartanburg nonprofits, Mary Black Foundation program staff identified a need for additional funding opportunities that were not directly tied to our two focus areas– Healthy Eating | Active Living and Early Childhood Development. A grant application was created exclusively for COVID-19 relief.
COVID-19 Relief Funding
- Adult Learning Center: $9,000 to assist with staffing and training needed to offer comprehensive adult education services while adhering to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
- The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, Inc.: $15,000 to assist with operational costs at the downtown Spartanburg location, specifically related to providing high-quality learning opportunities for young children, while adhering to new health and safety protocols.
- CommunityWorks: $50,000 to support financial counseling and small business loans through the Bringing Back the ‘Burg Small Business Fund.
- EMERGE Family Therapy Center and Teaching Clinic: $20,000 for the first year of an 18-month grant to partially fund a full-time therapist dedicated to community needs that arise out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Institute for Child Success: $5,000 for its research, public awareness, and advocacy efforts around the impact of COVID-19 on children and families.
- Mt. Moriah Baptist Church: $75,000 to support community needs specific to COVID-19, including mental health and wellbeing services, providing on-site and virtual academic tutorial services for youth, and expanding food distribution to address food insecurity.
- Ruth’s Gleanings: $15,000 to assist with operational costs related to the distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables through Spartanburg County emergency food providers and food banks addressing increased need due to COVID-19.
- SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition: $25,000 for the first year of an 18-month grant to fund a full-time therapist to work with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, an increased need due to family instability caused by economic uncertainty and stay-at-home recommendations.
- The Salvation Army: $15,000 to assist with increased demand for safety net services including case management, rent and utility assistance, food, and clothing.
- The South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind Foundation: $15,000 to support K-12 education for deaf and blind children in Spartanburg, while adhering to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
- United Way of the Piedmont: $25,000 to support the COVID-19 Local Relief Fund, which provides rent, mortgage, and utilities assistance to families in need.
- $18,500 for the first year of an 18-month grant to support a community resources coordinator who helps vulnerable families in Spartanburg County create a pathway to financial stability, an increased need due to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
- Upstate Family Resource Center: $15,000 in general operating support to address increased need for safety-net services for families who are facing financial instability due to COVID-19.
- $6,000 to support PASOs and efforts to connect Spanish-speaking families in Spartanburg County with resources and support to minimize the impact of COVID-19.
- Upstate Warrior Solution: $5,000 to provide critical case coordination for veterans related to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Upstate Workforce Futures Corporation: $9,200 to support the adoption of COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the ACHIEVE program, which offers employment and educational opportunities for young people ages 16-24 through GED preparation and employability training.
To read more about these grants, other funding in 2020, and to read stories of local heroes who persevered during such an extraordinary year, check out the Mary Black Foundation’s 2020 Annual Report.
A Special Thank You to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees
Overall in 2020, our Board of Trustees made the bold decision to exceed our grantmaking targets by providing over $3.3 million in grants to 46 different nonprofit organizations. We extend our sincere gratitude to them for providing the Foundation flexibility to be strategic with our grantmaking in a time of great need.