$1.1 million for Wilson’s health: Foundation awards 17 community grants

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Seventeen local organizations and programs got a financial boost Tuesday thanks to about $1.1 million in grants from the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson.

“Since 2016, we have invested more than $4 million in responsive grants alone, and these latest grant awards are a reflection of our ongoing commitment to improving the health and wellness of the location community,” said Healthcare Foundation of Wilson executive director Denise O’Hara. “We applaud these community partners for taking necessary steps to address health concerns, seeking solutions and focusing on positive health outcomes for our community.”

While some of the grants were continuations of previous year efforts, there were three new recipients this year. The Boy Scouts of America East Carolina Council received $25,375 to help Wilson youth with substance abuse and obesity prevention efforts. The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Wilson was awarded $9,897 for hands-on projects and education efforts that would encourage children and teens to make healthy decisions. Also new this year was a $5,000 grant to Wilson County 4-H to enable middle and high school students to study health disparities research through the University of North Carolina, then conduct local research in low-income communities around Wilson.

“They will create and lead health and fitness classes for low-income residents while developing a fitness app for community members to use to improve their health,” O’Hara said. “The app will also connect to healthy resources with information about health education, nutritious foods, at-home fitness and affordable transportation to access healthier foods.”

The grant awards focus on recipients that have “sustainable solutions with measurable outcomes” to address four of the community’s greatest health concerns, including adolescent pregnancy, alcohol and substance abuse, obesity and sexually transmitted diseases.

“We believe you can make a difference,” O’Hara told representatives of agencies receiving grant awards.

The other grants include: $426,000 to Barton College; $7,500 to the Hope Alliance; $25,000 to the Imagination Station; $10,000 to Love a Sea Turtle for a fitness camp through The SPOT; $30,000 to The SPOT; $35,000 to Mental Health of America of Eastern Carolina; $150,000 to the Wilson County Department of Social Services; $210,000 to the Wilson County Health Department for programs with area law enforcement, a clinical social worker to provide support after substance use detox and Wilson County Schools for the school-based health center at Forest Hills Middle School and a new one set to open at Beddingfield High School; $75,000 to the Wilson County Partnership for Children; $51,500 to Wilson County Schools and $25,000 to the Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition.

“We are so very thankful for each and every one of you,” O’Hara said.

For more information on the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson, visit healthcarefoundationofwilson.org/.

In partnership with Wilson 20/20 Community Vision, officials are urging parents and community members to take a survey by Aug. 15 about afterschool options for area middle school students by visiting www.wilson2020vision.org/masa-surveys/.