February 2008

Lawmakers Jump Rope at Wake to Wellness Site

State representatives Grier Martin and Deborah Ross and other local lawmakers visited the CREATE program at Raleigh's Washington Elementary School in January. Funded in part by the Wake to Wellness Grants Program, CREATE promotes climbing, running and other activities to equip students for a lifetime of good physical health. 

Administered by the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Wake to Wellness grant program provides three-year $30,000 grants that support new standards for physical activity and improved nutrition in 15 elementary schools in the Wake County system. It's part of the Endowment's $2.5 million Healthy Weight Initiative [pdf].

Berman and Higgins Receive 2007 Hands of Health Awards

On October 23, the Endowment honored Liliana Berman and Kathy Higgins with Hands of Health Awards for their bold initiatives and fresh ideas that improve the lives of children in our community. A family nurse practitioner for Wake County, Berman works with passion, imagination and endless energy to break down the cultural and language barriers that many children in the county face. Higgins, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, has helped create programs that encourage children to be active and eat well.

Over 125 community health leaders gathered to honor these heroes of local children's health at the Endowment's annual Hands of Health Breakfast at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. Board chair Ben L. Bradsher presented both Berman and Higgins with a specially commissioned bronze sculpture, and the Endowment has contributed $10,000 to each recipient's charity of choice.

Berman chose the Making Magic Alliance, which provides summer camp experiences to Wake County youth who otherwise would not be able to participate in summer camp.

Higgins chose Be Active NC, which aims to increase physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles among all North Carolinians.

Tell More Stories, McNally Advises

Nonprofits can unleash the power of storytelling, consultant and writer Terrence McNally told those who attended the October 23 Hands of Health breakfast.

Stories, he said, can be an organization's most effective way to reach audiences--funders, community groups and others--and help them wrap their hearts and minds around what the agency does. Nonprofits have wonderful stories to tell, he said, but too often their presentations are heavy with jargon, technical language and statistics. Well-told stories help listeners truly connect with an organization and develop a feeling for what it does. Consequently, stories have the potential to be a nonprofit's most powerful communications tool. McNally encouraged organizations to collect a bank of core stories that convey how they started, the nature of their challenges, some emblematic successes, ways they're striving to improve and what they hope to do in the future.

Wake to Wellness on WUNC

The Endowment's Wake to Wellness school grant projects, part of the Healthy Weight Initiative, stepped into the public spotlight during a live broadcast of WUNC's The State of Things with Frank Stasio on October 5. Stasio discussed the obesity challenge in North Carolina with Sarah Armstrong, a pediatrician and director of the Healthy Lifestyles program at Duke University; Eric Finkelstein, Senior Health Economist at RTI International; Mark Dessauer of Active Living by Design; and Parry Graham, assistant principal of Cedar Fork Elementary School in Morrisville. Cedar Fork is one of the Endowment's Wake to Wellness grant recipients. The program was part of the series North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care.

New Projects Funded

This quarter, the Endowment awarded $1 million in support to projects from five local agencies as part of its Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health portfolio:

  • Children's Home Society of North Carolina will receive $216,621 over three years to expand services to therapeutic foster home providers and offer clinical oversight to clients with mental health needs.
  • Girls on the Run Triangle will receive $55,070 over three years for a structured, twelve-week program of exercise and sport participation to enhance the physical and mental health of at-risk adolescent females in selected communities. 
  • ReEntry will receive $57,720 over three years to offer its Life Skills Assets Program to more youth aged 9 to 18 who have admitted responsibility for a misdemeanor offense. 
  • Wake County 4-H Youth Development will receive $505,103 over three years to develop education, training and employment programs aimed at preventing gang involvement among youth in targeted communities and neighborhoods. 
  • YWCA of the Greater Triangle will receive $100,000 over two years to create real world opportunities for young women to build lifelong skills and developmental assets through mentoring and year-round education experiences that increase physical and financial fitness. 

The Endowment also awarded support to one project as part of its Physical Health portfolio:

  • Marbles Kids Museum (formerly Exploris) will receive $150,000 over three years to create a permanent outdoor "natural learning" space with exhibits and events that promote healthy food choices and promote fitness and nutritional programs for children and their parents. 

Board News

In October, Ben L. Bradsher, former vice-chair of the Endowment Board of Directors, began serving as chair. Immediate past chair David F. Boerner, MD continues to serve on the Board, which also has two new members: Marvin Connelly, Jr., Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services in the Wake County Public School System; and Donald Rosenblitt, MD, Clinical and Executive Director of the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood. Jim A. Walker now serves as vice-chair, Sherry Worth as secretary and Richard S. Myers, MD as treasurer. Charles T. Francis has completed his service.