The Spartanburg County Foundation focuses on the next generation of philanthropists as it seeks Mary L. Thomas Award nominations

Friday, December 22, 2017

by Mary L. Thomas, The Spartanburg County Foundation


SPARTANBURG – In 2018, the Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change shifts its focus to the next generation of philanthropists.  As the Foundation enters its 75th anniversary of successful community partnerships, rich tradition of innovation, and ongoing philanthropic efforts, this milestone year offers the opportunity to look to the future leaders in the greater Spartanburg community.  The Foundation asks the public to nominate young people who are improving the lives of those around them.


Every year since 2006, the award recognizes the contributions of individuals who demonstrate outstanding commitment to improving the quality of life for residents in Spartanburg County.  This year, the award seeks to highlight the contributions of a young philanthropist who has developed innovative solutions to tackle critical community issues.  The nominees must demonstrate how he or she seized opportunities to make a difference by offering compassionate leadership, commitment and personal skills, with the ultimate goal of creating a better and brighter tomorrow. These individuals, ages 12-30 years old, must demonstrate how they gave of their time and resources to nonprofit organizations, developed charitable programs, and led efforts to positively change the lives of others.


“When I look around Spartanburg County, I see so many young people doing great work,” states Mary L. Thomas, Chief Operating Officer at The Spartanburg County Foundation.  “In 2018, the Foundation wants to focus on the younger generation and the great work they are doing for residents in Spartanburg County.  Looking ahead to the next 75 years, this next generation of philanthropists are the community’s future leaders.”


In addition to the new focus, the award also unveils a new look, with a new logo and promotional materials. Brochures are being distributed to school districts, libraries and other community organizations that work with young people.


Criteria for Selection

The nominee must demonstrate:



Identifying innovative solutions and implementing new ideas that successfully address critical issues facing the Spartanburg community


Community Leadership and Impact

Adding value, providing leadership, and contributing to positive change in the Spartanburg community


Civic Participation and Community Engagement

Investing time and engaging others to contribute to positive community growth and transformation


The recipient will receive an award at the Foundation's Annual Meeting in March 2018, and will be honored with a $5,000 grant to be given to a charity selected by the recipient and the Foundation.


To nominate an individual for the 2018 Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change, go to to fill out an online nomination form. The deadline for nominations is January 19, 2018, by 5 p.m.


For more information, or to download a copy of The Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change brochure, please visit the Foundation’s website at


The Spartanburg County Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging community engagement and responding to community needs.  Established in 1943, The Spartanburg County Foundation is the oldest community foundation in South Carolina.  Additional information about the Foundation is available at



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