The RHI Legacy Foundation is a new fund-raising and grant-making organization focused on improving health and wellness in Rutherford County. The Foundation will host a public gathering on Thursday, April 9 to share their new health mission and to introduce themselves to individuals and non-profit organizations in Rutherford County. Their mission is to become involved in health and wellness projects that will result in a permanent and significant impact on quality of life in our county.
The predecessor to RHI Legacy Foundation has been in existence since the mid-90’s, and initially, their only mission was to raise money for Rutherford Hospital (RHI) and later Rutherford Regional Health System (RRHS).
When RRHS affiliated with Duke LifePoint Healthcare in the middle of 2014, the Foundation took a much broader direction. Beginning in May of 2014, the RHI Legacy Foundation board moved the organization to one that can offer a much broader impact on the future of our community through financial and collaborative support.
RHI Legacy Foundation will operate three focus areas. First, they will continue fundraising efforts through special events, like the Annual Golf Classic and Women Together. In September, 2014, they agreed to partner with Rutherford Outdoor Coalition (ROC) to raise and award the proceeds of their 28th annual golf event to improve the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. As a result of sponsorships, contributions and individual player entries, over $82,000 was contributed to ROC to continue expanding the Rail Trail project. This project fit well within the health and wellness mission of the new Foundation because it increases access to healthy outdoor activities for children and adults in the community.
Recently, the Foundation hosted Women Together, their annual women’s event. This project resulted in over $16,000 in funds for the Foundation’s Community Cancer Fund. From these proceeds, RHI Legacy Foundation will help fund such programs as mammograms for women without health insurance and assistance for local patients who experience financial difficulties as a result of their cancer treatment and recovery. Women Together matched individual women and sponsors who believe in local cancer support with (primarily) woman who cannot pay for vital services.
Within their fundraising initiatives, the Foundation will continue their annual giving clubs, such as the 1906 Club and the Business Honor Roll. Annual gifts from individuals and businesses will provide Community Wellness funds for asthma and diabetes camps for children and Lifeline services for seniors who live alone. The Foundation’s fundraising initiatives will provide opportunities to engage people who support a specific project or the overall health and wellness mission. Individuals, groups and businesses can remain involved by making charitable, tax-deductible gifts. The Foundation will continue to partner in fundraising activities with civic and community groups who have the capacity to multiply their organization’s efforts for the good health of the community.
With more priority than fundraising, RHI Legacy Foundation’s second focus will be to make grants to organizations who serve health and wellness needs for the community. The Foundation will have access to the assets resulting from the hospital system’s 2014 affiliation to fund their grant-making initiative.
RHI Legacy Foundation has been awarded up to $500,000 in their first grant cycle to support non-profit organizations in the community which address health and wellness for Rutherford County citizens.
On April 9, RHI Legacy Foundation will open their first grant-making cycle in a community forum called “A Healthy Discussion”. Any non-profit agency that addresses health, wellness and healthy lifestyles for Rutherford County citizens can attend. These organizations can make a “Healthy Discussion” reservation at http://www.rhilegacyfoundation.org/ and immediately following the forum, a hands-on session will be offered to those who wish to begin the on-line grant application. Agency representatives who have questions about eligibility or the Foundation’s grant-making focus areas are welcome to call the Foundation’s executive director, Jill Miracle, at 828-286-5070 prior to making a reservation.
An example of RHI Legacy Foundation’s grant-making initiative came late last year, when they were able to review an early grant request from Second Harvest Food Bank to provide backpacks for an additional 180 students in Rutherford County Schools. The grant was able to fill the gap between what area churches, business and individuals were already providing and the additional need that had been established by the school system. The combined efforts of local groups and the Foundation assured that 405 students in local schools receive food to support their nutrition needs for each weekend.
The third focus, beyond fundraising for healthy services and grant-making, is their opportunity to identify health and wellness projects that our community needs and build the necessary framework to meet those needs. The Foundation’s Board members expect, as a result of the first grant requests, to examine where gaps exist. It will be within the mission of the Foundation to propose and incubate new projects to increase the health and wellness of people within the community. A sizable amount of funding has been set aside to begin building the appropriate infrastructure to make a permanent impact on the health and wellness of the community.
You can learn more about RHI Legacy Foundation by joining their Facebook page. When the grant cycle officially opens, a new website will be available for grant applications and for on-line charitable support.