10 Years of Stories: 2013-2023
As the Foundation for a Healthy High Point celebrates its 10th anniversary, I’m reminded of the power of stories to help us understand and connect to shared experiences. Meaning and context come from the stories collected and told over time. As someone who was not around during the start-up of the Foundation, I have been listening carefully and reading the many stories that highlight the Foundation’s impact. There is a story behind every project we’ve funded and supported, every partner we’ve worked with, and yes, from the many challenges as well as successes.
First is the story of our founding Board of Directors, who committed to invest dollars from the sale of the nonprofit High Point Regional Health System to improve community health for generations to come. In this last decade, each community leader who joined our board continued to steward the endowment with this goal in mind, leveraging more resources and resulting in a more significant impact.
Thanks to their foresight, led by Founding Board Chair Jim Keever, the Foundation also expanded its grantmaking to encompass new initiatives, cross-sector engagement, research, and a community voice for well-being and quality of life in Greater High Point.
The stories of the Foundation’s impact are as varied as our partners—our grants have helped to jumpstart new projects and positions, expand programs into High Point, and scale efforts up to their full potential. For example, we helped the Guilford County Health Department establish the JustTEENS Clinic—filling a need for confidential medical care, education, and counseling exclusively for teens in a teen-friendly setting. Their impact includes a measurable reduction in teen pregnancies.
Then there are stories of our initiatives, such as Healthy Beginnings, which promotes healthy pregnancy and delivery and optimal early childhood development. As Healthy Beginnings grew, we invested in broader community collaborative efforts, such as Ready for School, Ready for Life—an innovative, multi-layered system of care for Guilford County’s youngest children and families—that will provide sustainable support to families for years to come.
We also launched the Healthy Minds initiative to work with behavioral health service organizations to strengthen their capacity, increase collaboration, improve access to their services, and build resilience among youth and families.
Our stories of collaboration, convenings, and capacity building intertwine, building a more robust nonprofit sector ready to carry out ambitious programs and address the difficult issues that challenge health throughout Greater High Point. We have worked closely with the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium to support nonprofit leadership training, board development, internship programs, and specialized training to strengthen nonprofit operations. When COVID-19 became the dominant story, the Foundation invested in community resilience to bolster the local food infrastructure, support remote learning for students, and ensure that our nonprofit partners could weather the pandemic and meet the basic needs of their clients.
The Foundation has been part of stories that attracted statewide attention and outside resources. This year, The Duke Endowment named Healthy Guilford as one of its Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas coalitions, joining nearly 30 others across North and South Carolina. Local stakeholder organizations formed this coalition to measurably improve residents’ health. The Duke Endowment award provides funding and technical assistance to strengthen community infrastructure and address systemic conditions leading to poor health outcomes.
The story of how our community responded to the early days of the COVID-19 vaccination efforts by creating a door-to-door outreach campaign gained national recognition of our Funded Partners. It began with a 2021 conversation at the Guilford County Health Department. How could the Foundation support the county’s efforts to improve the COVID-19 vaccination rate in low-income neighborhoods lacking access to transportation and healthcare? In partnership with the YWCA High Point, the VaxConnect program was born. Outreach workers went door to door in the targeted areas seven days a week—answering questions and setting up appointments at new, nearby vaccination clinics. In one year, the vaccination rate in those High Point neighborhoods jumped from 15.9 percent of the total population to 55.3 percent! In 2022, VaxConnect used federal and state funds to continue and expand into Greensboro. The National Association of Counties honored VaxConnect with an Achievement Award, recognizing it “as an innovative, effective county government program that strengthens services for residents.”
The telling of these stories of impact has only just begun. With support and direction from our current board members led by Board Chair Dr. Elliott Williams, the Foundation is moving forward strategically with an upstream approach. In addition to grantmaking, we will lean into our work as a convener, a collaborator, and an advocate to raise awareness of the complex factors that determine health and well-being. You’ll find these and many more stories on our website.
As we enter our next decade, we invite you to work with us and become part of our story.