Mary Black Memorial Hospital was founded in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The founders, Dr. Hugh Ratchford Black and his two sons, Dr. Sam Orr Black, Sr. and Dr. Hugh Snoddy Black, named it in honor of their wife and mother, Mary Louisa Snoddy Black.
The Mary Black Foundation was founded to support the hospital, which was a nonprofit hospital.
The hospital was sold to Quorum Health Group, Inc. (a for-profit company) for $62 million. At this time, the Mary Black Foundation legally separated its association with the Mary Black Memorial Hospital and reconfigured its charitable mission with the $62 million as its corpus.
The Garrisons’ Healthy Families Initiative, named by the Trustees in appreciation for T.R. and Alma Garrison’s generous bequest, challenged nonprofits to address the root causes of poor health by focusing on prenatal and childhood strategies, while including the entire family unit.
The Healthy Community Initiative provided implementation grants to community task forces to address issues identified through the 1997 Spartanburg County Health Assessment, including poor nutrition, cardiovascular disease, teen pregnancy, and illiteracy.
At the end of the two initiatives and after an 18-month planning process, the foundation announced its two funding priority areas: Early Childhood Development and Active Living. In addition to the two priority areas, the foundation developed the Community Health Fund.
The Mary Black Foundation purchased the former Duke Power building on East Main Street as a permanent home for the foundation’s work and created a nonprofit conference center on the lower level. (Actually moved in in 2006 after renovations.)
The Mary Black Foundation was awarded an innovation grant from the Convergence Partnership to prioritize neighborhood-level work, leading to the Foundation’s significant investment in the City of Spartanburg’s Northside neighborhood.
The Mary Black Foundation made its first impact investment to the City of Spartanburg to provide gap funding for the CC Woodson Community Center.
The Foundation expanded its Active Living focus area to include Healthy Eating. The HEAL focus area promotes healthy environments where people can access nutritious foods and physical activity.
The Mary Black Foundation led an effort to enter Spartanburg into the Wellville Challenge, a national competition to accelerate health outcomes for residents in five communities. The Foundation’s involvement with Wellville led to the creation of Hello Family and LiveHealthy Spartanburg.
The Mary Black Foundation received a $5.3 million five-year grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health to prevent teen pregnancy in Spartanburg. This grant launched Spartanburg’s Connect initiative.
Launched a four-year Healthy Schools Initiative to create sustainable policies, practices, and environments within nine schools that encourage and support healthy eating and physical activity. Phase 2 began in 2020.
Launched the Healthy Families Initiative, a five-year effort to support parents in their role as their child’s first and best teacher through the expansion of the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) across Spartanburg County.
Adopted a health equity statement committing the Foundation to promoting a Spartanburg County where all residents have access to opportunities to achieve health and wellbeing.
The Mary Black Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary as a private foundation. It also reached a significant milestone: In its 25 years, the Foundation provided over $64 million in grants, exceeding the original endowment of $62 million.
Philanthropist, MacKenzie Scott, made an $8 million unsolicited and unrestricted donation to the foundation.