I hope that you’ve already heard the great news that the Mary Black Foundation secured a five-year $5.3 million grant through the Office of Adolescent Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program to continue a countywide initiative to reduce teen pregnancy in Spartanburg County.
We are excited to announce that we have hired Polly Edwards Padgett as the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project Director. Polly is an expert in adolescent youth development, evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, and teen-friendly healthcare services. Polly has worked on several federal grant projects in the past, bringing a variety of skills and experiences to the Foundation’s Program Team.
While we are very excited about this grant and the impact it will have on youth development and the health of our community, we are very concerned that this federal funding is in jeopardy. In response to calls from Congress to gut the federal program, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees has adopted the following position statement:
“Preventing teen pregnancy is one of the best ways to prevent poverty and is critically important to the future success and vitality of Spartanburg County. When the federal, evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program was established, Spartanburg County received over $1.5 million dollars to fund local programs. From 2008-2014, the teen birth rate in Spartanburg has declined 48%. Spartanburg’s success is a model for the rest of the country and we were recently selected to receive a $5.3 million grant to sustain and expand our local efforts. Despite the clear success, Congress has proposed to cut funding for the Program and now Spartanburg’s ability to continue this progress is in jeopardy. The Mary Black Foundation stands in strong support of continuing evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs.”
The decrease in teen pregnancy amounts to more than 300 fewer teen births annually in Spartanburg County…evidence of how this Program is touching hundreds of lives in our community. If you’d like more information about what you can do to ensure this effort continues in Spartanburg, see the resources below: