Spartanburg, South CarolinaSpartanburg’s participation in Wellville benefits from a spirit of collaboration among community leaders that has strengthened over the last 12 years. They recognize that the same factors impacting the health of residents will determine how Spartanburg thrives in the 21st century.

In the past, Spartanburg’s economic fortune was tied the textile industry, which provided steady employment even to those who lacked a post-secondary education. In recent years, many manufacturing companies, including BMW, have moved to the region, and these companies require workers with higher levels of education and more technical expertise. Spartanburg is seeing to it that all its children have the educational foundations necessary for classroom success and life-long learning.

Spartanburg also sees the need to promote more physical activity. The Mary Black Foundation recently provided a $1 million loan to the city to enhance five city parks, and also provided funding for a rail trail, which attracted more the 65,000 diverse residents in 2015.

Spartanburg has an engaged health system, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, which has been at the table working on Wellville from the beginning. Their community health improvement efforts continue, building partnerships beyond the walls of the hospital and working directly with the most vulnerable members of the community through AccessHealth, which helps provide access to care, regardless of ability to pay for it.

The Spartanburg area Chamber of Commerce is also involved in Wellville. They are spearheading a small employer well-being co-op, called the Wellville Exchange. This unique program, launched with support from the Georgia Health Policy Center and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will provide small employers and their employees access to some of the same well-being services large employers are able to offer their associates through their insurance plans.

And as of mid-2018, Neighborhood Engagement, an outgrowth of one of Spartanburg’s original Wellville focus areas — Community Pride — is working more closely with city administration to better understand and address the underlying issues keeping residents stuck in recurring cycles of disadvantage.