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Grantee Spotlight: Virginia Peninsula Foodbank

By: WHF Staff 

As inflation and food costs have increased in recent years, more community members are struggling to provide healthy food for their families. According to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank (VPF), nearly nine percent of greater Peninsula residents lack access to affordable and nutritious food. VPF and their partner agencies saw more than 77,000 unduplicated individuals seek food assistance in 2023, a 30% increase over 2022. VPF works “to inspire hope by leading the effort for a hunger-free and properly nourished community” through partnerships with 140 agencies to distribute food to those in need across the Peninsula. In collaboration with agency partners, VPF distributed over 1.7 million meals to Greater Williamsburg residents in 2023. Beyond partnerships, VPF is supported by community volunteers who invested more than 20,000 hours sorting, packing, and delivering food in 2023. 

The Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) provides grant funding for VPF’s Mobile Food Pantry and the Food for Kids BackPack Programs. Their Mobile Food Pantry distributed 547,713 meals in the WHF service area in 2023, and the BackPack Program will provide food to nearly 370 children to take home from seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and a pre-K program in Williamsburg/James City County throughout the 2023-2024 school year. 

Visit the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank website to learn more or locate a food distribution site near you. 

The Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) is a private legacy health foundation with the mission to collaborate, innovate, and invest to impact systems that improve the health and well-being of individuals living in Greater Williamsburg. The Foundation was established in September 1996 when the Williamsburg Community Hospital and Sentara developed an affiliation agreement and later merged. This agreement included a provision for a new, locally organized, and managed Foundation to benefit community health. Since inception, WHF has awarded over $106 million in grants to improve community health and well-being. 

Grantee Spotlight: Older Adults and Social Isolation

Grantee Spotlight: Older Adults and Social Isolation

 

Grantee Spotlight: Older Adults and Social Isolation

By Williamsburg Health Foundation 

In May 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an advisory  addressing the profound health impacts of social isolation and loneliness. This report underscored severe health risks, such as a reduced lifespan and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, anxiety, depression, and dementia. Termed the “loneliness epidemic,” this problem affects individuals across all ages and demographics but can have a particularly negative impact on older adults. A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Consensus Study Report reported that almost one-quarter of older adults aged 65 and above, living independently, experience social isolation. The Surgeon General’s report notes the cost of the health effects related to social isolation in older adults accounts for almost $7 billion of Medicare spending each year. 

 

Community Partners Addressing Isolation   

The 2022 Sentara Community Health Needs Assessment revealed that in 2020, nearly 23% of people living in the Greater Williamsburg area and surrounding localities was over 65, with growth projected to more than 26% by 2030. With such a substantial segment of our community classified as older adults, the Williamsburg Health Foundation is grateful for the many community agencies working daily to address isolation in older adults, including but not limited to the following organizations: 

 

The Peninsula Agency on Aging’s (PAA) mission is to advocate for policies and distribute resources to enhance the quality of life for older adults and family caregivers. PAA fulfills this commitment by offering in-home care, home-delivered meals, dining clubs, and transportation. These valuable services help older adults foster a sense of social connection while providing access to community resources. 

 

The R.F. Wilkinson Family YMCA has offered programs aimed at building a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all in the Greater Williamsburg area since 2007. Their Active Older Adults program focuses on providing older adults with opportunities to remain socially active and healthy. Through social activities, fitness, and volunteer programs, the YMCA keeps older adults active and engaged, reduces social isolation, and boosts the quality of life for older members of our community.  

 

Williamsburg Faith in Action (WFIA) unites transportation and volunteer support services for older adults in Greater Williamsburg. WFIA aids with transportation, shopping, caregiver support, and household chores. Wendy Satchell, WFIA’s Executive Director, recounted a story of a homebound WFIA care receiver who had been the primary caregiver for her husband until his recent passing. When a WFIA volunteer arrived to deliver her mail, she was overjoyed with the opportunity for conversation. Since her late husband’s care team no longer visited, she felt lonely and disconnected. Today, WFIA volunteers make regular visits and phone calls, providing companionship and connection. 

 

We All Have a Role to Play  

Like these organizations and many others working to increase social interaction and combat isolation among older adults in the Greater Williamsburg area, we as community members can make a difference. We can start by reaching out to check on the older adults in our lives and in our neighborhoods. Together, we can make progress in reducing social isolation in our community.

Ten Questions with Karen Burden, Williamsburg Health Foundation- from WYDAILY

Karen Burden, WHF Vice-President of Finance

Ten Questions with Karen Burden, Williamsburg Health Foundation

By

Stephanie Sabin  April 1,2024

https://wydaily.com/latest-news/2024/04/01/ten-questions-with-karen-burden-williamsburg-health-foundation/ 

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Karen Burden.

What is your job title and description?

I’m the Vice President of Finance for the Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) and am responsible for the foundation’s investment, finance, audit, tax, and human resource functions.  

Who do you interact/work with regularly?

I oversee the foundation’s accountant and work closely with the foundation’s CEO and Chair of the Investment/Finance Committee. I routinely meet with the foundation’s Program Team to ensure we are on track to have the necessary funding for grantmaking.

How do you/your organization interact with the local community?

The foundation provides grants and other resources to 45 partner organizations in the area whose missions align with our purpose, improving the health and well-being of those living in greater Williamsburg. The foundation also serves as a convenor, networker, and technical assistance provider. 

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

Most people assume that as a nonprofit, that WHF staff and board members are responsible for fundraising. WHF is a healthcare conversion foundation that was formed when the Williamsburg Community Hospital merged with Sentara Healthcare in 1996. It became a private foundation in 2002. Per IRS regulations, as a private foundation, WHF is required to distribute 5% of its assets for charitable purposes each year. The foundation’s intent is to earn enough from its investments each year to exist in perpetuity. In the 27 years since its establishment, the foundation has invested over $106 million into the health and well-being of our community through partnerships with 193 organizations. 

How do you define success?

When I think about success, I envision having done something that I was passionate about so that in looking back I can honestly say that I am happy and proud about how I chose to spend my time.

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

Of course, I think my children are my biggest accomplishment, but I also find great satisfaction in how I came to be in my current role with WHF. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Finance, I worked full-time and completed the College of William and Mary’s Part-Time MBA Program. I advanced in my career for years after that but chose to take on part-time roles once I had my children. I spent over 15 years working part time, volunteering and raising a family before I returned to work full time. Being VP of Finance at WHF is a perfect blend of my education, work experience and my desire to give back to others and I feel lucky to be a part of it.

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle?

I moved to Williamsburg in 1997 when I married my husband, Parker Burden.

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle?

I like the variety of outdoor activities such as walking on DoG Street, going to the farmers market, hiking on trails, and relaxing along the Colonial Parkway.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

I enjoy exercising and spending time outside with friends and family.

What is the next step in your journey?

I’m in the empty nest stage of my life with my daughter at James Madison University and my son having graduated from Virginia Tech. I completed the LEAD Greater Williamsburg class in 2023 and it was extremely rewarding, so I’m looking for more ways to give back to the local community.

https://wydaily.com/latest-news/2024/04/01/ten-questions-with-karen-burden-williamsburg-health-foundation/ 

 

The Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) is a non-profit private legacy health foundation with the mission to collaborate, innovate, and invest to impact systems that improve the health and well-being of individuals living in Greater Williamsburg. The Foundation was established in 1996 when the Williamsburg Community Hospital and Sentara formed a merger that included a provision for a new, locally organized, and managed Foundation to benefit community health. Since inception, WHF has awarded over $106 M in grants to improve community health and well-being.

Grantee Spotlight: Enhancing Mobility with F.R.E.E.

Grantee Spotlight: Enhancing Mobility with F.R.E.E.

Grantee Spotlight: Enhancing Mobility with F.R.E.E.

By

WHF Staff

As the weather warms and flowers bloom, Williamsburg area residents look forward to putting their coats away and heading outside to enjoy the beauty spring brings. However, for individuals experiencing mobility challenges due to health conditions or recent surgeries, navigating both indoors and outdoors can be challenging. The Foundation for Rehabilitation Equipment & Endowment (F.R.E.E.), a non-profit organization in Virginia, addresses mobility-related barriers by increasing access to mobility aids for those who qualify.

Between July 2022 and June 2023, the Williamsburg office of F.R.E.E. located in Sentara Circle provided 670 pieces of mobility equipment to 410 individuals in Greater Williamsburg. F.R.E.E. aims to ensure low-income uninsured or underinsured adults in Virginia have access to equipment that facilitates independence and maximizes quality of life by collecting, sanitizing, and distributing donated aids, such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and specialized equipment.

As spring brings more outdoor opportunities to the Greater Williamsburg area, we are grateful for the efforts of our partners at F.R.E.E. Their work enables our community to be a more accessible place for residents with mobility restrictions and aligns with the Williamsburg Health Foundation’s vision of individuals making healthy choices in a community with health opportunities for all. See https://www.free-foundation.org/ to learn more about F.R.E.E.

The Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) is a non-profit private legacy health foundation with the mission to collaborate, innovate, and invest to impact systems that improve the health and well-being of individuals living in Greater Williamsburg. The Foundation was established in 1996 when the Williamsburg Community Hospital and Sentara formed a merger that included a provision for a new, locally organized, and managed Foundation to benefit community health. Since inception, WHF has awarded over $106 M in grants to improve community health and well-being.

A Full Plate: Reflecting on the Community’s Role in Nourishing Our Neighbors 

A Full Plate: Reflecting on the Community’s Role in Nourishing Our Neighbors 

By: Deb Fisher

Growing up in a family that watched every penny, my mother’s arrival with bags full of groceries from one of our local churches was always a reason for celebration for my five siblings and me. I remember our excitement while helping our mother put the food away and our anticipation of trying new, mysterious treats that our parents would not usually buy. These bags, filled with new foods, brought a sense of excitement to our dinner table.  

It was not until I matured that I began to understand that the food my mom brought home was from a community food pantry and that we were a family who needed assistance. Despite our limited means, my family of eight never experienced the pangs of hunger thanks to the generosity of our neighbors and programs designed to help keep families fed when faced with challenging times.  

 

Now, as a Communications Specialist for the Williamsburg Health Foundation, I am honored to be part of an organization supporting local organizations that work to address the same food insecurity issues that touched my family. I have had eye-opening conversations with those at the helm of food pantries in the Greater Williamsburg area about our community’s growing needs. Declines in personal and grocery store contributions forced some pantries to dip into their emergency funds so families in Greater Williamsburg have access to nutritious food.  

 

The Williamsburg Health Foundation continues to respond to this critical need. Reflecting our commitment to the health and well-being of this community, the Foundation recently awarded a total of $100,000 — $20,000 each to five local sites — FISH, Grove Christian Outreach Center, The Salvation Army, Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, and Williamsburg House of Mercy.  

 

This is deeply personal. Thinking of our community members receiving help – I reflect on my family who sometimes chose between a meal and a medical bill, rent, or a utility payment. Staff and volunteers of these agencies, and this funding, help ensure families have a lifeline and will not have to make difficult choices alone.