Mary L. Thomas to lead Apella Health Management Board of Trustees Community leader becomes first Black, female chair of the organization

Mary Thomas

Mary Thomas

Spartanburg, S.C. (August 31, 2020) – Apella Health Management announced Monday that community leader Mary L. Thomas will serve as the next chair of the organization, which is transforming health care in the Upstate.

A nationally recognized philanthropic leader, Thomas will be the first Black, female leader of the Board of Trustees, which provides oversight to Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Having served the past year as vice chair, Thomas begins her term as chair in October. She replaces Robert E. Gregory Jr., who has served the past 10 years as chair of the board for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and later Apella Health.

“Chairman Gregory has guided this complex organization for nearly a decade, which is undoubtedly the most remarkable period in our 100-year history,” Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System CEO Bruce Holstien said. “He has left his indelible mark on this organization. We welcome Mary Thomas to the helm of this critical enterprise.”

With more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Thomas currently serves as chief operating officer of the Spartanburg County Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization and leads its mission, vision and strategies, while translating its goals into the overall program of work.

“Apella is transforming the way we approach health care in the Upstate by creating partnerships, improving health outcomes and planning for the future,” Thomas said. “I am honored to be selected by my peers to serve as the next chair of the Board of Trustees and look forward to continuing our work together.”

A 501(c)3 not-for-profit management company, Apella Health Management creates joint ventures that aid in the recapitalization of not-for-profit hospitals and health systems. Apella Health is committed to successfully collaborating and sharing resources to provide effective, efficient and less expensive health care for patients.

Holstien said Thomas brings a wealth of experience both in strategic thinking and community building to her role as chair, including four years on the Spartanburg Regional board and nearly four years on the Apella board.

“Mary Thomas has long been a trusted community leader, improving lives through innovation and by convening partners around important issues,” Holstien said. “We are pleased that she has agreed to lead Apella Health in this new role.”

An active leader in the Spartanburg community and beyond, Thomas has held leadership roles in organizations that include the Council on Foundations National Policy and Advocacy Committee, Southeastern Network of African Americans in Black Philanthropy, Converse College Board of Visitors, the Northside Development Group Board of Directors, and the BMW Community Advisory Panel.

Among her numerous honors, Thomas was named Top Three Distinguished Grantmakers by the Council on Foundations in 2014 and, in 2006, was the first Black recipient of the Council on Foundations Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking established by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund of New York. After winning the latter award, Thomas used the prize money of $10,000, coupled with numerous gifts from the Spartanburg community, to establish the Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change Fund. This fund is managed by the Spartanburg County Foundation, and a deserving leader is recognized annually for his/her leadership on critical issues in the Spartanburg community.


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