On Monday, June 3, 2019, the Williamsburg Health Foundation’s Board of Trustees approved over 3.6 million dollars in grants to provide organizations in Greater Williamsburg the resources they need to improve the health and well-being of people in Greater Williamsburg.
“Our goal is to promote health in the community,” said President and CEO, Carol L. Sale. “We do so in three strategic areas. The first is increasing opportunities for health and well-being over a lifetime. The second is improving access to healthcare. The third is strengthening the organizations we support.”
“Our first grant round is always our largest,” said Sale. Over $1.4 million dollars are directed to support health and well-being in the community. This includes programs especially for children, such as the School Health Initiative Project (SHIP); grants to Child Development Resources; and the Child Health Initiative.
“We are pleased with the growth and success of the Child Health Initiative, one of our newest programs, which expanded this past year,” said Sale. Piloted in the City of Williamsburg, the program is now also in James City County. This program meets the needs of multiple generations of one family at one time. “Families face complex challenges; all of which affect the health of the child,” said Sale.
Sale also explained that the Foundation is unwavering in its support of access to healthcare and local safety net clinics: Olde Towne Medical and Dental Center, Gloucester Mathews Care Clinic, Lackey Clinic, and Angels of Mercy Clinic. “Medicaid expansion is shifting the people served by the safety net clinics, but even after expansion, economists estimate 323,000 individuals under age 65 will be without health insurance,” said Sale. This number includes households earning between 139% to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level, which varies by household size. Over $2 million in Foundation grants went to the support the health care needs of the most vulnerable members of the community, including medical, dental, behavioral, and oral health services and prescription medications.
In its third goal area of strengthening the agencies influencing health in the area, the Foundation is the first in the state to partner with an online platform called Catchafire. Skilled volunteers from around the country are now available to 100 health-related organizations to help with over 120 projects such as visual brand identity, compensation surveys, budgeting, employee handbooks, and grant writing.“ Anyone can apply to volunteer their professional skills to make a difference at Catchafire.org,” said Sale.
Louis Rossiter, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation said: “Greater Williamsburg is so fortunate to have the financial resources of the Williamsburg Health Foundation. Only a handful of communities in Virginia have a foundation devoted to health. But, for every dollar the Foundation distributes, we wish there were fifty dollars more, which is why we ask everyone in the community to continue to support local nonprofit organizations. As an individual, make healthy choices and encourage others to do the same. If you are able, support some of these great local organizations with your time, talent, or treasure.”
The Williamsburg Health Foundation was founded in 1996 with proceeds from the partnership between Sentara Healthcare and the former Williamsburg Community Hospital. The Foundation has a vision of “individuals making healthy choices with health opportunity for all.” Since its inception, the Foundation has granted over 85.5 million dollars to improve the health of people living in Greater Williamsburg. For information on grants from the Williamsburg Health Foundation, including how to apply for a grant, visit www.williamsburghealthfoundation.org/grants-center.