Every year the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation raises money for a fund from which improvements for local healthcare are purchased, usually in the form of upgraded equipment.
“Thanks to the good work of the board [the foundation was able to place] 57 AED units at various non-profits throughout the [HCMH] service area,” according to Dr. Bill H. Davis Jr., chair of the HCMH Foundation Board.
This year the board hopes to make its investment last longer and have a greater impact than any equipment ever could. “We have the opportunity to provide financial assistance to HCMH for training and upgrading of health care staff and to fund a scholarship program for persons interested in a healthcare career who want to live and work in the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital service area,” stated Davis.
Instead of making a request from the board for equipment, this year the hospital requested funds for continuing education for staff members causing the board to initiate the scholarship program. “This year we felt that, instead of trying to raise money to take care of one particular request,” said Davis, “we felt like we could do something bigger than that.
“We know there are a lot of people who prefer to live here,” he said. “They miss opportunities because they don’t want to leave.”
“We saw that there was a need for [continuing education],” claimed Davis. “We realize that this is a nice area to live in and we want people to be able to get the services they need without having to go out of town to other hospitals. This is a way to help people as individuals as well as to help the community.”
“Recruitment is very fierce to get qualified professionals,” explained Davis. “Rural hospitals have to compete with hospitals in the metropolitan areas. In many cases the living conditions are better. They have a lot of amenities in the larger cites that we don’t always have.” Being able to offer a scholarship for continuing education will help with the recruiting process as well as retaining quality individuals.
The board also hopes it will help encourage local youth to stay in the area. “We know in our schools there’s interest in people wanting to become nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals,” continued Davis. “We felt like if we could encourage these people that we would be able to not only help Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital provide better quality healthcare to our home area, [but] encourage them to think about living here when they finish their degree.”
To accomplish this the HCMH Foundation Board will have to raise funds. “The hospital foundation does not have an excessive pool of money,” explained Davis. “When these requests come to us we have to go to the community. We have to go to people who have supported us in the past and who are interested in good quality health care and ask them to buy into whatever our cause is for that year.
“Our immediate goals for this year is to raise at least $100,000,” identified Davis. “Our goal is to provide $20,000 this year for upgrading and training of the LPNs.” In addition to helping 10 licensed practical nurses at HCMH to return to college and become registered nurses this year, a scholarship program will be established to begin in the spring of 2018.
“We would like to establish a scholarship program that we would offer in $5000 maximum amounts. We could either offer five $5000 scholarships or if someone goes to a community college where they might only need say $3,000 we would be able to offer an additional scholarship for $2,000,” described Davis.
”Also, we hope to establish a scholarship fund of $55,000 or more that will later become an endowment,” stated Davis. “We envision in five years there will be $1,000,000 or more in this [fund] because we know that there are many people in this area who are very health conscious and they really support our hospital in so many ways. They know that we have so many valuable human resources here.”
One of the ways to express appreciation for them is to contribute to the scholarship fund. “People can give to this scholarship in various ways,” described Davis. “If someone wants to make a contribution we appreciate it.”
“There will be people who would like to have their own scholarship maybe in memory or in name of someone who was important to them,” acknowledged Davis. The foundation will establish scholarship committees to maintain the funds. Those who contribute to the scholarship fund with their own memoriam may be able to participate on the committee giving of their time as well as their money.
“We think this will be a very appealing opportunity for people to support the hospital in a way that will make a big impact,” alleged Davis. “We live in an area where there is a lot of concern. They want to invest in healthcare and they want to invest in individuals. This is a way they can help improve both and follow their success as they continue to give to the community. The board has committed our resources, now we hope others will commit theirs as well.”
Donations can be made to the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation Scholarship Fund, c/o Vicki Holcomb Clark, executive director, Foundation and Community Development, 180 Parkwood Drive, Elkin, NC 28621. For more information, call Clark at 336-527-7457.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.