The Spartanburg County Foundation’s Board of Trustees and John Dargan, president & CEO, are pleased to announce the promotion of Mary L. Thomas to Chief Operating Officer.
As the Chief Operating Officer, Thomas will be responsible for the general oversight of staff and facilities, and the integration of all Foundation departments. She will serve as a philanthropic advisor, work with the Foundation’s Planned Giving Legacy Society, and continue to lead the implementation of the board-approved strategic plan in concert with the Board of Trustees and President & CEO. Additionally, Thomas will work directly with Dargan to act on matters of importance to effectively serve the community.
“Mary Thomas has and continues to play an instrumental role in the success of The Spartanburg County Foundation,” said Robert Gregory, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “She is extremely innovative and strategic in her leadership approach, which will continue to benefit the Foundation as she assumes this new role.
With over 25 years of nonprofit experience, Thomas has been known for her ability to build partnerships across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to bring about community improvement.
“Mary is known for her integrity, passion, and drive both within the Foundation and throughout the community,” said Dargan. “Her desire to improve this community is evident in all she does and has enabled her to weave a footprint into the tapestry of Spartanburg County and beyond.”
Thomas serves on multiple boards and committees, including: Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Board of Trustees, Rotary Club of Spartanburg, Southeastern Council of Foundations Board, and BMW Community Advisory Panel. She is a past member of CF Leads (an organization dedicated to helping community foundations advance the practice of community leadership to build thriving communities), Women in Philanthropy, AFL Advisory Board, the Mary Black Health System Women’s and Children’s Advisory Board, the Mary Black Health System Board of Trustees, SC ETV Advisory Board, and is a former Commissioner for The South Carolina State Housing and Finance Authority. She is a very active leader in the Spartanburg Community and has held extensive leadership roles with a host of organizations throughout the area and beyond. Thomas is a graduate of Leadership Spartanburg, and is a Past Chair of The SC Grantmakers, the Spartanburg County Consensus Project and Spartanburg Communities in Schools.
Thomas’s many honors include being named the first African American winner of the 2006 Council on Foundation’s Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, which came with a $10,000 award and sculpture. She took the cash prize and established a fund (The Mary L. ThomasAward) to perpetuate a vision of grassroots leadership, giving voice to those members of her community who are change agents in their “own right.” The Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and CommunityChange is a result of Mary’s generosity to give her cash prize back to the community. She challenged the community to match her money to recognize others who “fly under the radar” and need encouragement in their quest to make a difference. As a result of this challenge, hundreds of gifts large and small helped make this vision a reality. The Fund garnered over $150,000 in just a few months and has been endowed to strengthen voices throughout Spartanburg County.
Other honors include the 2013 Pioneering Woman in Philanthropy Award (presented by Spartanburg Methodist College), the James E. Whitmire Meritorious Award, the Sunrise Civitan Good Citizen Award, the Mary McCloud Bethune Trailblazer Award (presented by the National Council of Negro Women), the 1998 Piedmont Area Girl Scouts Woman of Achievement, a 1997 YMCA Black Achiever, Junior League Sustainer of the Year, and numerous others.