July 26, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
With $185 million in total net assets through April, The Harvest Foundation has enough money to fund its commitments and to continue to invest in the community’s health, education and vitality, according to its president and annual report.
The foundation’s net assets of $185 million are $13 million more than the $172 million it had at the end of 2011 but $16 million less than its peak, according to the foundation’s 2010-11 annual report.
The foundation’s assets peaked at $201 million in 2007. The following year, the assets fell to their lowest level, $134 million, due to the nation’s financial meltdown and stock market crash in 2008.
Allyson Rothrock, president of the foundation, said she thinks its investments are doing well. They are allowing the foundation to spend $7 million to $10 million a year on grants, for a total of about $75 million in Harvest’s 10-year history, she said.
The foundation was created in 2002 from more than $163 million in proceeds from the sale of Memorial Health Systems. It invests those funds and uses the earnings from those investments
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for health, education and community vitality initiatives in the Henry County-Martinsville area.
According to the 2010-11 annual report that was released last week, Harvest awarded 25 grants totaling nearly $25 million to nonprofit and community-based organizations in 2010-11.
It paid out nearly $7.7 million in grants in 2010 and $8.2 million in 2011, the report states.
Education is the common theme in Harvest’s grants and its mission. According to a letter in the report from Rothrock and E. Larry Ryder, chairman of the board, the foundation wants to put education to work everywhere in the community because high-performance employers capable of revitalizing the economy require employees possessing 21st century job skills.
The goal is to reach out to both traditional and nontraditional students; encourage achievement in reading, math and the sciences; teach soft skills; help young people see the possibilities for employment and rewarding careers; and help the state government see the importance of making a baccalaureate degree granting institution possible in the area, Rothrock and Ryder wrote.
“This can’t be accomplished in isolation. Instead, the entire community must be tied to education so that everyone shares the responsibility,” Rothrock and Ryder wrote.
Also during the past two years, Harvest continued to focus on health and community vitality, Rothrock and Ryder wrote.
“... We facilitated the creation of new, innovative health and wellness programs. We convened community leaders around the table to develop a community health strategic plan to be implemented over the next three years. We continued to work to revitalize our uptown area. We helped bring in new business and began creating an infrastructure that will bring in even more,” they wrote.
Where grants went
The foundation awarded $6.3 million in grants focused on early childhood education, K-12 education and post-secondary education, the report stated.
Harvest invested in continuous improvements in student achievement compared to state and national standards as a result of its K-12 Education Initiative and an investment of $700,000 annually for teacher and administrator professional development, the report stated.
The foundation offered 16 Duke Nonprofit Management Courses and the Duke Nonprofit Management Intensive Track, in partnership with the Danville Regional Foundation, and it held two Nonprofit Leadership Summits, with courses taught by Duke Nonprofit Management Program instructors to 75 nonprofit organizations.
In 2010 (two-year grant), Harvest provided $2,988,673 in grants to the New College Foundation to support existing, as well as proposed, academic programs offered by New College Institute, the report said.
In the area of health, the foundation awarded seven grants in 2010-2011 totaling $6.7 million focusing on prevention and access to care.
The foundation commissioned a Community Health Assessment to identify the most pressing health and health care needs in Martinsville and Henry County, and convened community leaders in health, education and economic development to develop a three-year Community Health Strategic Plan, the report said.
In 2010, the foundation granted $1,166,000 to the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness to support the high uncompensated care load at Bassett Family Practice, the Free Clinic and Med Assist, and to continue health risk factor reduction activities targeted at youth and the general community.
In 2011, the foundation granted $3,610,049 to the coalition to again support the care load at Bassett Family Practice and Med Assist and to continue health risk factor reduction activities in the community, including development of a health “clearing house” to be called HealthConnect.
Since 2005, Harvest has worked with the coalition to fund innovative programs designed to create healthier residents. The coalition is emphasizing programs that teach self-care management. Its Diabetes Self Management Program, for example, has successfully helped many of the area’s residents learn to manage the serious, lifelong disease. In the past year, the class had 230 participants ranging from pre-diabetic to diabetic for at least five years, the report said.
Another accomplishment recently has been with the foundation’s initiative through MARC Workshop, which serves people with disabilities. The program, Mobile Employment Services, began in 2009 and trains high-functioning individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities for competitive employment.
In the past two years, 56 young adults ages 18 to 27 years found work through the program. They completed a total of 830 jobs for 210 customers, the report stated.
In community vitality, the foundation awarded $11.9 million in grants for economic development and quality of life projects.
Harvest provided nearly $6 million to leverage an additional $18.5 million in federal, state, local and other funding to buy and develop the Commonwealth Crossing industrial mega site.
It also initiated economic development assessments around industrial energy use to identify areas where local employers could reduce costs; funded an economic impact and opportunity assessment on developing a local food system across the region; facilitated community discussions on improvements in uptown and the redevelopment of the former Henry County courthouse; initiated increased coordination of partners promoting entrepreneurship and small business development; promoted cultivation of a regional tourism initiative in the Dan River Basin; and maintained its support of the Smith River Sports Complex, which saw a dramatic increase in both local and out-of-town use, the report stated.
With the Martinsville-Henry County Community Nature Initiative, which was created in 2008, the foundation encourages children’s connections to nature in a digital world. Since its inception, 247 nature-related events have attracted nearly 13,000 people, according to the report.
The report states that in 2012 and beyond, Harvest will continue to focus on:
• Preventing health problems before they arise and providing health care to the medically underserved through the three-year Community Health Strategic Plan mentioned above.
• Helping residents develop the knowledge and skills needed in the 21st century.• Economic development opportunities and making the community a desirable place to live, work and play. Future directions will revolve around an evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of efforts to date, and culminate in a community summit to get feedback and input.
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