Building Impact: Strengthening Organizations from Within

Oct 31, 2019

2nd Annual Symposium

(Suffolk, VA) October 31, 2019 – Obici Healthcare Foundation has a longstanding commitment to helping local nonprofits improve their organizations, and ultimately, their communities. Earlier this year, the Foundation made that commitment even stronger when it awarded a $385,100 grant to the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, a Charlottesville-based organization with the mission of strengthening nonprofits to realize the potential of their communities. CNE will work extensively with 12 nonprofits in Western Tidewater and will also provide additional technical assistance to other regional nonprofits.

The Foundation’s partnership with CNE and its commitment to strengthening nonprofits was highlighted during the Foundation’s Second Annual Symposium on Thursday, October 31, at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Approximately 150 guests attended the event, “Building Impact: Strengthening Organizations from Within.”

The Obici Healthcare Foundation is a private foundation established in 2006 from the sale of Louise Obici Memorial Hospital to Sentara Healthcare. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $53.4 million in grant funding. Its mission is to improve the health status of the people living in the service area by responding to the medical needs of the indigent and uninsured and by supporting programs, which have the primary purpose of preventing illness and disease.

Each year, the Foundation holds a symposium to provide an update of its work and to highlight one of its programs. The 2019 symposium focused on its Capacity Building Strategy, which is designed to help nonprofit organizations carry out their missions more effectively through grants, technical assistance and partnership programs.

Foundation President and CEO Annette Beuchler explained the Obici Healthcare Foundation service area is home to approximately 168,000 people and more than 1,100 nonprofits. “Most of these nonprofits are small organizations with limited resources for building their expertise or knowledge to grow their capacity. The goal of our Capacity Building initiative is to enhance the ability of nonprofits in the Foundation’s service area to achieve their missions,” she said.

Through its grant to CNE, CNE will assist local nonprofits in various organizational areas, including strategic planning, fund development, program evaluation, financial management and sustainability.

“Nonprofits are instrumental to the quality of life. The stronger, more vibrant and robust the nonprofits are, the stronger and more vibrant the communities can be,” said Cindy Colson, CNE’s Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Obici Health Foundation to bring customized, affordable, high-quality capacity-building support to nonprofits in the Obici service footprint.”

Under the grant program, CNE will work closely with nonprofit executives and board members to support their learning and growth with the mutual goal of increasing the positive impact that nonprofits can make on community health and well-being. 

In addition to its partnership with CNE, Obici Healthcare Foundation will offer online research tools for all nonprofits in its service area. Foundation staff will help nonprofits navigate the online tools, which can be used to search for funding and grant opportunities.

At the 2019 symposium, Beuchler provided an update on all Foundation programs, which fall under its two priority areas: Access to Healthcare, which receives 50% of the Foundation’s funding, and Prevention, which receives the remaining 50%.

She explained the Foundation in 2017 commissioned its first Community Health Needs Assessment to gather local community level data to help the Foundation identify the health issues of greatest concern to its service area. The results of this assessment were used to help the Foundation make decisions on where to commit resources in order to have the greatest impact on community health status.

Access to Healthcare focuses on health “safety-net” providers, who deliver care to uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved populations who otherwise could not access it. Core safety net providers include emergency rooms, free and charitable clinics, local health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and community health centers. The Foundation Safety-net initiative focuses on improving access to primary care, oral and mental health. Under this initiative, the Foundation in 2019 awarded $3.8 million in grants to eight safety net providers.

Also in the area of Access to Healthcare, the Foundation partners with ACCESS College to provide students with the guidance and resources needed to attend and complete college. Additionally, this partnership will include a healthcare component that encourages ACCESS college graduates to enter the healthcare field in the Foundation service area upon graduation.

Access to Healthcare also includes an investment by the Foundation in improving maternal and child health outcomes. By addressing potential health issues in pregnancy or early infancy, death and disability can be prevented. The goal is to decrease the overall infant mortality rate in the Foundation’s service area, which may help children to reach their full potential in life.

The Foundation’s Prevention priority area is designed to prevent chronic illness and diseasebecause research shows that addressing social determinants of health is a path to better health status. Social determinants are the environmental conditions to which people are born, live, learn, work, play and worship. These conditions, and age, can affect a wide range of health functioning and quality of life outcomes and risks.

The Foundation’s Prevention Initiative has three components:

  • The Healthy Behaviors area supports programs that address new and expanded opportunities for better nutrition and increased physical activity. In 2019, the Foundation awarded $345,000 in grants under its Healthy Behaviors/Healthy Spaces programs in seven communities and another $700,500 in planning and implementation grants.
  • The Early Childhood Education priority area supports programs that provide training for teachers to improve kindergarten readiness and to identify kids in trauma.  Early Childhood Education is the primary path for improving overall academic achievement and ultimately better health status.
  • The Foundation’s Capacity Building Strategy represents 30% of its allocation in Prevention. The overall goal is for the Foundation to provide services and tools designed to strengthen nonprofit programs, finances, governance, evaluation and sustainability.

Center for Nonprofit Excellence’s Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships Cindy Colson credited Obici Healthcare Foundation for recognizing the importance of helping to build up nonprofits so that they can become sustainable and help their communities on their own. “We’re especially appreciative of Obici Healthcare Foundation’s vision of strong nonprofits that lead to strong communities, and for a wildly successful event.”

At the symposium, Colson and CNE Executive Director Cristine Nardi explained the capacity building partnership. After the break, Colson and Nardi led participating nonprofits in engaged conversations discussing local nonprofit trends, how are local nonprofits addressing the challenges they are experiencing, and where would nonprofit technical assistance be most beneficial.  

About the Obici Healthcare Foundation: The Obici Healthcare Foundation is a private foundation established in 2006 from the sale of Louise Obici Memorial Hospital to Sentara Healthcare.  Since its inception the Foundation has awarded over $52.5 million in grant funding. 

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