The Foundation received over 60 requests, totaling over three million dollars. From these requests, thirty-three were selected for awards, and another nine were provided to the Rutherford Regional Auxiliary for review.
"RHI Legacy Foundation is again pleased to be able to offer financial assistance for agencies serving our residents. We look forward to continuing to support important health initiatives and strategic partnerships in Rutherford County," stated Terry Hines, the Foundation's Executive Director.
Dr. Bobby England, Chairman of the RHI Legacy Foundation Board, stated, "It is our intent, through our grant program, to contribute to the health and wellness of all the citizens of our county. Our mission continues to evolve as we develop new partnerships with agencies in our county who are interested in our focus areas of active living, healthy eating, and chronic disease."
In the 2017 awards, eleven awards totaling $285,055 were made in the active living category. Ten awards were given to assist with chronic disease initiative for $197,212. Another twelve grants for healthy eating were awarded for $291,957.
Jill Miracle, Community Impact Director for the Foundation, remarked, "We continue to evaluate the impact of grants we have made in the past and to modify our processes so we can best respond to the needs of the community. We have recently added substance abuse as one of our areas of focus. Our financial support of the Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid abusers is an example of strong collaborations between area agencies. We believe that partnerships are the key to identifying and resolving issues that affect our county. In a similar initiative, we have developed a partnership with the Community Health Council of Rutherford County. This group of area leaders is suited perfectly to advise our Foundation in studying unhealthy eating, chronic disease and substance use issues affecting Rutherford County residents and organizations, and to recommend projects to help resolve those problems."
In a separate active living initiative, RHI Legacy Foundation provided a $4.25 million-dollar grant in 2017 to develop the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. That funding was announced earlier, outside the official grant period, when an interlocal agreement was formed between the individual municipalities located within the trail corridor to manage the trail development and the maintenance of the trail after construction. The Foundation board issued a unanimous agreement to support the Thermal Belt Rail Trail construction in June.
Since their first grants in 2015, the Foundation has awarded over $2.5 million dollars to non-profit entities to create or expand health services, to meet the basic needs of county residents and to provide additional avenues for outdoor and recreational activity. In addition to grant awards, the Foundation has contributed to numerous special events to benefit health-related organizations in the county, such as the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition's race series, the school's Backpack Program, and the Junior Olympiad in Lake Lure.
Grants Awarded: Active Living - $285,055
Conserving Carolina - Youngs Mountain trail development in Lake Lure
Muddy Sneakers – Support 5th grade outdoor science education for local schools
Piedmont Council, Boy Scouts of America – Reduce the cost of Scouting for Rutherford County residents
Forrest Hunt Elementary School – Provide Muddy Sneakers programs for 5th Graders
Rutherfordton Elementary School – Provide Muddy Sneakers programs for 5th Graders
Sunshine Elementary School – Provide Muddy Sneakers programs for 5th Graders
Rutherford Outdoor Coalition – Create outdoor clubs and walking initiatives for students and adults
South Mountain Christian Camp – Provide camp scholarships for Rutherford County residents
Town of Lake Lure – Study trail options to connect eastern and western Rutherford County
Town of Rutherfordton – Develop Phase 4 of the Purple Martin Trail
Union Mills Learning Center – Install heating units, add gym equipment, and begin a walking trail
Grants Awarded: Healthy Eating - $291,957
Basics Christian Ministries – Increasing size, capacity, and nutritional value for food pantry in Henrietta
Betsy Ross 4H Club – Offer a Food, Fun and Fitness curriculum for club members and the community
Chase Corner Ministries – Add food pantry supplies and refrigeration capacity
KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum – Support “Making Me” nutrition and physical activity exhibit
New Beginnings Soup Kitchen – Serve fresh fruit at weekly community meals
Rutherford County Schools Backpack Program – Purchase food and provide salary for coordinator
Rutherford County Senior Center – Contribute to weekday meals for homebound and disabled seniors
Rutherford County Library Society – Purchase a collection of health-related books in Spanish
Youth Empowerment – Upgrade commercial kitchen equipment needed to prepare meals
Grants Awarded: Chronic Disease - $197,212
Chase Corner Ministries – Procure crisis medications for clients with chronic disease
Community Health Council of RC – Facilitate meetings to discuss and resolve county health needs
Rutherford County Transit – Provide free transportation to medical appointments and food pantries
Hudlow Volunteer Fire Department – Replace heart defibrillators for first responder vehicles
Isothermal Community College – Support a Student Success Coach and equipment for nursing programs
North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Offer Speedway to Healthy exhibit for all 4th Grade students
Partnership for Children of the Foothills – Support Heathy Smiles Dental Outreach for preschool children
Pisgah Legal Services – Sustain a county-based Health Advocate to provide access to medical insurance
United Way of Rutherford County – Maintain 2-1-1 program for County residents to reach crisis services
United Way of Rutherford County – Medication Assisted Treatment for inmates with opioid addictions