The Reidsville Area Foundation
The Reidsville Area Foundation, a grant making organization in Rockingham County, North Carolina, is helping address the health needs of Rockingham County residents by funding policy and environmental change projects that make it easier for residents to eat smart and move more.
The Foundation led a county-wide effort for the Rockingham County Healthcare Alliance and has participated in funding its operating costs as well as various projects. The goal of the Alliance is to increase access to healthcare services for disadvantaged citizens of the county through a collaborative effort. With support from the Department of Public Health, safety net and service providers, and both hospitals in the county, over $2 million in grant funding was secured in the first two years of operation.
The Reidsville Area Foundation was the lead funder, along with county and municipal governments, of a county-wide Greenways and Trails Master Plan developed by the Dan River Basin Association. The plan focuses on connectivity of greenways and trails inside the county as well as connectivity with surrounding county trails.
The Foundation is also working with schools to increase opportunities for students across their county to eat healthy and be physically active. With help from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC Foundation, the Reidsville Area Foundation awarded funding to cafeterias in four pilot elementary schools to purchase food preparation and serving equipment that makes it easier to prepare and process fresh local foods. They also participated in funding the paving of walking tracks at all 16 elementary schools in the county some of which are open to the community during non-school hours. Anecdotal evidence points to extensive usage of these tracks by students, school staff and community members.
The Foundation provides staff support for healthy eating and physical activity by funding two positions: a Student Health Coordinator for the school system and a Community Gardens Coordinator for the Cooperative Extension. The Student Health Coordinator coordinates health and physical activity programs for all 14,000 students of Rockingham County Schools. In addition, the Coordinator oversees the Wellness Grant Program funding by the Reidsville Area Foundation that seeks to provide support to projects and programs developed by individual schools. The Community Gardens Coordinator helps expand community gardens in the county and provides technical assistance when needed. Mini-grants of up to $250 are awarded through Cooperative Extension to help with fertilizer and seed costs for groups, neighborhoods, schools and other organizations that wish to start community gardens.
The Foundation also has committed over $1,000,000 in funding for the Rockingham County Student Health Centers, which provides comprehensive health care to high school students through education, treatment, prevention and referral. The Reidsville Area Foundation demonstrates the importance of collaboration and working across sectors to create communities where healthy eating and physical activity are the easy choice.
For more information on the Reidsville Area Foundation, please visit www.rafoundation.org.