Published on March 11, 2014
At its core, a community foundation is designed to help pool local resources to meet local needs while striving to actively involve residents in determining and prioritizing their community’s needs. Through its Cultivating Community Engagement Project, CFLeads, a national support organization for community foundations, is helping local philanthropies like the Foundation for the Mid South partner effectively with local nonprofits to meet local challenges. Philanthropy begins on Main Street
The Jackson, Miss.-based Foundation for the Mid South has supported a rural health care model developed by the Daughters of Charity Services of Arkansas. Through its participation with the CFLeads exchange, it is sharing this model with community foundations across the country.
The Daughters of Charity provides rural residents with a variety of health services, including exercise programs that encourage healthy lifestyles in a region with one of the nation’s highest rates of diabetes. Statistics show about 1 million people in the Mid South – about 10 percent of the population – have been diagnosed with diabetes, with another 3 million considered pre-diabetic. Health matters
The Daughters of Charity hosts community gardens and a farmer’s market so local residents can grow and buy affordable fresh produce. It is one strategy to promote healthy eating habits overall and especially for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
The two clinics – one in Dumas and one in Gould – provide low-cost, high-quality health care services for men, women and children who live in rural communities so they do not have to travel many miles for medical and dental care.
The Foundation for the Mid South has supported expansion of the Daughters of Charity’s diabetes program because diabetes rates are often quite high in rural areas, partially due to limited access to health services and preventative education.
Through its Diabetes Self-Management Education program, clinic staff screen patients and provide education and medical assistance to manage the disease. Patients learn why it is important to monitor blood sugar levels, the difference between good and bad cholesterol, and how to spot problems that, if left untreated, could lead to amputation or death.
The Gould clinic provides dental care for adults and children. Increasingly, studies confirm that oral health is related to the body’s overall health, with evidence showing that gum diseases can increase the risk of heart disease, put pregnant women at a greater risk for premature delivery, and affect blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.
The Cultivating Community Engagement Project is funded by the Charles Stewart Mott and W.K. Kellogg foundations.
All slideshow photographs were taken by Rick Smith of Rochester, Mich., to showcase the work of the Foundation for the Mid South. To learn more about the organization and its work, visit www.fndmidsouth.org. To learn more about Mott, visit www.mott.org.
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