Asbury Theological Seminary announces a grant of $2 million from the Bobbie Bailey Foundation of Tucker, Georgia, to establish an endowed scholarship for the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling. The grant was announced today by Audrey Morgan, Chairman and CEO of the Foundation and Bobbie Bailey’s sister and business partner.

Bailey was an entrepreneur of many interests, having run a successful manufacturing business, launched record labels, championed music education and women’s sports, and even participated in a Greenland expedition. She showed a knack for mechanics even as a child, working during World War II at a company that refabricated refrigeration compressors, eventually opening her own business, Our-Way, Inc., located in Tucker, Georgia, which specialized in remanufacturing commercial refrigeration and air conditioning compressors. She also started businesses in mail-order distribution, residential construction and real estate.

Bailey became a well-loved philanthropist, endowing programs in athletics, the arts and health care at several Georgia colleges and universities. The Bobbie Bailey Foundation was established in 1993. She died in 2015 at the age of 87.

Audrey Morgan was executive vice president and chief operating officer of Our-Way, Inc., from its founding in 1960 until the company was sold to Carrier Corp. in 2001. The sisters continued with their real estate holding company, building and renovating homes until 2015. She said of her sister, Bobbie Bailey, “This was back before women were involved in these types of businesses. She loved the manufacturing and the construction parts of the businesses, and I handled the corporate end of the business.” Morgan is a philanthropist in her own right.

Asbury Theological Seminary’s counseling program has offered degrees since 1975. For many years it was a department within the Seminary, but with sustained growth in the program, the Seminary launched its new School of Counseling in 2022. Asbury Seminary offers master’s degrees in marriage and family, pastoral, and mental health counseling. The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling recently achieved accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). A degree’s accreditation by this professional organization is achieved only after rigorous examination of its program.

The mission of Asbury Seminary’s School of Counseling is to equip students to serve diverse communities by facilitating healing and growth through reflectively integrating Christian values, principles and resources with professional counseling competencies and practices. In directing the Bobbie Bailey Foundation’s grant to Asbury Seminary, Morgan noted the explosive growth of the mental health crisis in America and her desire to see it addressed from a Christian perspective.

“Nearly one quarter of American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, and the impact of COVID-19 has increased the need for counselors. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of mental health needs,” says Dr. Jacqueline Smith, Dean of the School of Counseling of Asbury Seminary. “Being able to produce competent counselors who the world can turn to during dark times is critical.”

In announcing this gift, Tammy Hogan, Vice President for Advancement, said, “This significant gift in the early phase of developing our School of Counseling program will help us attract quality students that are called to facilitate healing for our mental health crisis. We are blessed and strengthened by this gift and the partnership of the Bobbie Bailey Foundation with Asbury Seminary.”