Family Promise of Laurens County Announces New Executive Director

December 20, 2021

Family Promise of Laurens County is pleased to announce that Mary Lynn Tollison has joined the organization as its new executive director. She began her work the week of December 13. Tollison brings more than 35 years of experience in prevention and health education. Her work has led her to develop expertise in strategic planning, in public speaking, and in building coalitions to improve the health and vitality of communities–all critically important skills in her new role.
“We are delighted to offer this opportunity to Mary Lynn,” said Steve Hobbs, Family Promise chairperson. “Her proven track record of having an excellent work ethic, a heart for service to others, a talent for working with a network toward team success, and a love for Laurens County will make Mary Lynn a great fit for this position.”

In her previous work, Tollison has a long history of working alongside a wide range of agencies and organizations like the South Carolina Department of Social Services, DHEC, the Solicitor’s Office, churches, and others. She has significant experience working with county and state governments to design goals and objectives–and in working with a wide range of partners to achieve those goals.

“The thing that excites me most about this position is networking with churches alongside agencies and volunteers. To be able to bring my faith together with my desire to help families most at risk is a combination that I’ve been looking for in much of my professional career,” said Tollison.

Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Family Promise has already made an impact on families experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Laurens County in its first two years. Since their grand opening in February 2020, Family Promise has served 52 families across, all formal programs. The number of families served more than tripled from Year 1 to Year 2 for a total of 174 individuals, 106 of whom were children under the age of 18. Family Promise operated a static site family shelter out of one of their host congregations, Centerpoint Wesleyan Church, for four months in 2020 and five months in 2021, with all the other 26 host & support congregations providing meals, groceries, and supplies. Four families have successfully completed the shelter program and moved into independent housing.

Family Promise has continued to grow and expand their reach. In February 2021, they hired a part-time Family Advocate, Kelly Woods, to better serve families in need. FPLC launched a Homelessness Prevention program in early 2021 with a $10,000 matching grant specifically for preventing families from experiencing the trauma of homelessness. This program has served 19 families to date. FPLC also partnered with United Way of Laurens County for two essential item giveaways/COVID-19 testing events in early 2021, serving hundreds of Laurens County residents in need. Through a partnership with Broad River Retail, Family Promise has provided 27 beds to 9 families.

“We are thankful to the volunteers and churches who have stepped in to help us innovate and to continue to serve families in a challenging time,” said Broadway. “I am personally thankful for my time with Family Promise, and I know I am leaving this program in excellent hands.”

Family Promise, part of a national non-profit organization, is a program for families experiencing homelessness. The program’s goal is to stabilize families by repairing credit, helping to develop savings, finding employment, and ultimately finding an affordable place to live.

Family Promise programs are built on community support. In addition to the support of local churches, the Family Promise invites individuals, local non-profit organizations, and businesses to learn more. Your tax-deductible gift to Family Promise can be mailed to P.O. Box 1608, Laurens, SC 29360.
“We want to thank Naomi Broadway for leading us from start-up to this next chapter under unprecedented COVID-19 conditions. Naomi’s last day in the office will be December 21, 2021 to help facilitate the transition,” said Hobbs.