Investment in health and wellness

Published 4:50 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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AHOSKIE – Since 1999, the Roanoke-Chowan Foundation has invested more than $17 million to address local health and wellness programs.

The most recent funding (2022-24) from the Foundation totals $1,008,798.

“This is a very special time for us when we present funding to those that promote health and wellness locally,” stated Dr. Mike Alston, a physician at the Murfreesboro office of Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center who serves as vice president of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Alston was joined by other members of the Foundation at their meeting in Ahoskie on April 25. There, Reba Green- Holley, Chair of the Foundation’s Mission Committee who also serves as the secretary/treasurer, noted that applications for grant funds are received through the organization’s online portal.

“We receive applications from various entities to help further the mission of health and wellness in the area. That’s our mission and we look forward to giving away money. We are here to help,” Green-Holley said.

At the April 25 meeting, grant recipients for 2022-23 were awarded checks. Those recipients are as follows:

ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital’s Cancer Care Navigator program ($51,128)

ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital’s Diabetes & Cardiovascular Case Management ($79,880)

ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital’s Pediatric Asthma Program ($58,553)

ECU Health Wellness Center – Ahoskie ($353,808)

Gates County Schools Health and Wellness Center ($81,000)

Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center – HHMA TRIP ($71,929)

Roanoke Economic Development, Inc. – Upgrade 2 A Healthy Home ($187,500)

Grant recipients for 2023-2024 were as follows:

Hertford County Office of Aging – Senior Transportation Grant ($25,000)

Roanoke Economic Development, Inc. – Digital Health Navigator ($100,000)

The checks were presented by Green-Holley along with Wendy Vann, President of the Roanoke-Chowan Foundation.

Other members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors are Ernie R. Carter, Jr. (Chairman), James W. Mason (Finance/Investment Committee Chair), Dr. Joe Almario, Cecelia Jones, Charles L. Revelle III, Dr. Geniene Jones, Linda Alexander, Charles W. Hughes Jr., Maria Jones, and Dr. Semaan El Khoury.

Wendy Butler is the Foundation’s contracted administrative assistant.

Roanoke-Chowan Foundation, Inc. was first created as a public foundation in 1985 with a cash surplus ($3 million) from Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. An additional $4.6 million was transferred from Roanoke-Chowan Hospital for a total of $7.6 million.

The Foundation held its first meeting with a five member board and the President of RC Alliance on Dec. 5, 1985.

In 1997, after a reorganization of the hospital with Pitt County Memorial/East Carolina Health, 11 new board members were added. The Roanoke-Chowan Foundation was restructured to form a private foundation with the mission of, “health and wellness of the people of the Roanoke Chowan region.”

RCF is now a fully independent entity from ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

The Foundation’s initial corpus of $7.6 million over the years has grown to $17.3 million through wise investments and prudent stewardship and management by the Board.

According to its bylaws, the Foundation is required to give away 5 percent of its corpus each year.

The following criteria was adopted to guide grant distribution:

Wellness, with a special interest in a “medical model regime” to restore wellness and maximize the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

Health, with emphasis on education, recreational, and economic factors directly impact the quest for a healthier and more productive community.

The Foundation’s first distribution was made in 1999 to see its vision of a health and wellness center in Roanoke Chowan area that addressed the diverse population come to life. Viquest, which is now ECU Health, opened its doors in 2001.

Since the opening of ECU Health, the Roanoke-Chowan Foundation continues to invest in the health and wellness center to ensure quality programs, which result in successful member health impacts. Thusly, every person that is a member is subsidized by Roanoke-Chowan Foundation funds to ensure affordability and accessibility.

Elsewhere in the local area, grant funds from the Foundation has enabled the following programs and services: health and wellness scholarships, car seat safety, pediatric asthma, diabetes, dental care, mobile health unit, urgent home repairs addressing health and safety issues for low-income families, farm-to-fork nutrition programming, cancer care, health transportation, chronic disease management, breastfeeding, assistance for flood and tornado victims, school health-wellness centers, health navigators, and digital health literacy.

The Foundation is interested in receiving quality applications that address, health, wellness and social determinates of health. Creativity is welcomed that would bring new health and wellness impactful program ideas to the Roanoke Chowan area.

Applications are welcomed each year April 1, July 1, and September 1 submitted through the grant portal found on the website It is recommended that those interested in submitting a grant discuss the idea in advance with Wendy Vann, President of RC Foundation, at

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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