WILLIAMSBURG — The Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) has officially reached over 25 years of service to the community.
“Certainly for us, it is a privilege to be in a position to manage the resources of the community to support the community. These funds are the result of the sale of the hospital which was the founding of the Foundation. We take our role and responsibility for stewarding and shepherding those resources back into the community, and managing them hopefully in perpetuity, very seriously,” said President and CEO of The WHF Carol Sale, “To be able to see how the Foundation has managed those funds and provided for this community over the last twenty-five years is really tremendous.”
Since 1996, WHF has provided $94 million dollars in grants to the local community and has grown its overall worth to $151 million.
Along with this milestone, the board of trustees for WHF approved $876,000 in grants to fourteen organizations for sixteen programs that will follow along with its core mission of improving health in the Greater Williamsburg Community.
“Since the Foundation first began, the health world as a whole has come to better understand the importance as to what some people call the social influences of health. Those are the things that impact health that aren’t directly related to diet, exercise, and health care,” said WHO’s Director of Community Engagement Allison Brody. “We try to be impactful in many ways and sometimes that’s a reeducation for us and for others about what it means to provide for the health of the community and to create a healthier community.”
The Foundation has a list of categories where it has awarded grants to organizations and projects. These categories align with the Foundation’s strategic plan to effectively utilize resources in a manner that would have the greatest impact on the community. Below is a list of the recipients organized by categories, project title, and recommended amount:
Community Capacity Building
NetworkPeninsula – Nonprofit Management Institute (NMI) – $22,500
United Way of the Virginia Peninsula – Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network (GWTICN) – $22,500
Organizational Capacity Building
One Child Center for Autism – One Child Capacity Building – $10,000
Healthy Eating Active Living
The Arc of Greater Williamsburg – Fitness Program – $35,000
One Child Center for Autism – Kids’ Night – $4,000
Virginia Peninsula Foodbank – Mobile Food Pantry: Fresh Produce Program – $35,000
Williamsburg House of Mercy, Inc. – Food Project – $6,000
James City County – Greater Williamsburg Guardianship Navigator – $73,000
Peninsula Agency on Aging – PAA Rides Program – $120,000
Peninsula Agency on Aging – Nutritious Noontime Meals – $65,000
Williamsburg Area Faith in Action – In-Home Support Services – $30,000
Advanced Primary Care
Olde Towne Medical and Dental Center – Support for Clinic Operations – $225,000
Behavioral Health Services
Center for Child and Family Services, Inc. – The Reboot Program – $103,000
College of William & Mary, New Horizons Family Counseling Center – Youth and Family Counseling Program – $95,000
Postpartum Support Virginia, Inc. – Healthy Perinatal People, Healthy Babies – $15,000
The Doorways – Support for Operations – $15,000
These grants help organizations like Williamsburg Area Faith In Action accomplish its missions of providing health-related services to the surrounding communities. Vince Ferrara, the executive director of Williamsburg Area Faith In Action, says that the organization is grateful for the grant.
“Up until the pandemic, in-home services was probably 50 percent of what we do, but, because of the pandemic, we really haven’t done our in-home services since March of 2020,” said Ferrara. “We’ve done a little but not much. What we plan on doing when we get this grant is opening up those in-home services again.”
Williamsburg Area Faith In Action’s In-home Services includes both friendly visits and caregiver support to those who require these services.
“One of the volunteers goes to a person’s home and just visits with them. It could be an hour a half hour or two hours. These are seniors who are living home alone for the most part and don’t have anyone to talk to. A lot of the time that leads to isolation for seniors which causes a whole bunch of problems,” said Vince Ferrara. “And there’s also Caregiver support. The significant other may be their caregiver twenty-four seven. That person, whether it is the husband, or the wife, the daughter, or the son. They need some time by themselves to go to school or go get their haircut, or whatever they need to do. We’ll have a volunteer go and sit with their loved one while they’re out doing what they need to do for themselves.”
The WHF stated that as it approaches 2022, it is optimistic after witnessing first-hand how the Greater Williamsburg Community has come together to make sure the region has been safe during the pandemic. Programs like a COVID-19 Eviction Prevention Plan, where WHF worked with the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County to provide much-needed economic support to those in need.
“We have the privilege of being a little more optimistic than most because we have seen outstanding responses to the pandemic through all the local health and human service, agencies, we’ve seen incredible partnerships grow. At our last annual awards, we’ve celebrated the community response ongoing innovation,” said Brody. “So I’d say from where we sit at the health foundation, we have the privilege of seeing so much good come out of COVID-19. I think we may not be as afraid as some because we know that this community does what it takes to be as healthy as it can.”
“We are hopeful. We certainly see our community responding well to being vaccinated and getting boosted in that process. We are hopeful that will continue and that people will make wise choices during the winter months in terms of their interactions with others inside, and masking, and all of those things, but it is a complex virus that has, as we’ve all seen, the ability to evolve into other variants,” said Sale. “So we will monitor that process. We will continue to monitor the needs of the community, and we’re in a position to respond and try and address some of those issues if this pandemic may continue to create we will certainly be looking at that.”
More information on WHF and the work it does within the community can be found on its website.