Mary L. Thomas has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She currently serves in a dual capacity as the Chief Operating Officer of The Spartanburg County Foundation where she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization and leads its mission, vision, and strategies while translating the Foundation's goals into the overall program of work. Ms. Thomas also serves as the Executive Director of the Robert Hett Chapman III Center for Philanthropy, the first of its kind in the state of South Carolina. In this role, Mary leads the community leadership and strategic programming of the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in 1998, Ms. Thomas was the Executive Director of The Bethlehem Center, a ministry that serves families in the Highland community of Spartanburg, SC.
Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Winthrop University, and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and Communications. She was an exchange student to France through Lenoir-Rhyne College in 1983 and is a former French teacher in Spartanburg District 7 schools.
Ms. Thomas 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. She was just elected the first African American, female chairman of the board for Apella Health, a division of Spartanburg Regional Health System, The Council on Foundations National Policy and Advocacy Committee, Southeastern Network of African Americans in Black Philanthropy, South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development, Converse College Board of Visitors, Vice-Chairman for the Northside Development Group Board of Directors, and the BMW Community Advisory Panel. Her past board service includes: The Southeastern Council of Foundations, The Rotary Club of Spartanburg, CF Leads, 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, and SC ETV Advisory Board. She is also a former Commissioner for The South Carolina State Housing and Finance Authority. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Leadership Spartanburg, Furman University Diversity Leadership Institute, and Spartanburg Regional Fellows. She is a Past Chair of The SC Grantmakers, the Spartanburg County Consensus Project, and Spartanburg Communities in Schools. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.