SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $8 million to the Mary Black Foundation.

This donation will support the foundation’s mission to invest in people and communities for improved health and wellness in Spartanburg County.

 “I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call saying that we were selected to receive 8 million dollars from MacKenzie Scott, it was so surprising,” said Molly Talbot-Metz, President & CEO of the Mary Black Foundation.

“The foundation is incredibly grateful for this unexpected gift,” said Talbot-Metz. “We’ve heard of national organizations receiving large gifts from Ms. Scott but had not anticipated our foundation – serving one county in SC – would be the beneficiary of such generosity. We are so proud of the work we do every day, and that our results attracted the attention of a global philanthropist.” 

The foundation already has the money in the bank.

“We are going to use the funds to advance our work around healthy lifestyle, early childhood education, safe and supportive neighborhoods, and accessible healthcare,” said Talbot-Metz.

In the past 25 years, the foundation has provided more than $65 million in grants to support early childhood education, healthy environments, trails and recreational facilities, accessible and affordable healthcare, and safe and supportive neighborhoods.

Chris George, with the city of Spartanburg, said the donation is a big win for everyone.

“It’s huge. Mary Black Foundation already does so much great in our community. For early childhood and active living, they’re one of the most important partners we have here at the city,” said George.

He said programs and projects like Hello Family, a program that serves parents and caregivers with children 5 and under, and the Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail are all thanks to the organization.

“They’re working behind the scenes to make that happen,” said George.

With funding from Scott, the foundation will develop a strategic initiative aligned with its current goals to advance health equity, expand impact investing, and increase grantmaking that helps people overcome barriers and achieve positive health outcomes.

Talbot-Metz said they didn’t ask for the funding, they were selected.

“It’s amazing to have someone like MacKenzie Scott look at our work and think that it’s worthwhile for an investment” she said. “And to trust us to know our community and to know where to invest those resources locally.”

She said there are no restrictions on this grant and they can use it towards anything for their mission. She said the money will be spent over the next four to seven years.

For more on the Mary Black Foundation, click here.