Foundation gets acclimated to changes

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 04:46 PM

Val Short has been executive director of Triangle North Healthcare Foundation since March 2012.
During her tenure, she has overseen the transition of the foundation from an affiliate of Maria Parham Medical Center to an independent nonprofit organization.

The change was necessitated by the purchase of the hospital by Duke LifePoint, changing the hospital from a nonprofit organization to a for-profit corporation. In order to retain its nonprofit status, Maria Parham Healthcare Foundation cut its ties with the hospital and changed its name to Triangle North Healthcare Foundation.

For more than 20 years, the fundraising efforts of the foundation had been directed toward improving services of the hospital, such as acquiring a linear accelerator radiation treatment system for the hospital’s cancer center.

The new foundation is looking outward to the community, assisting organizations that are important to the health of the region.

“We’re making the transition from a fundraising organization to a grant-making organization,” Short said.

However, making the transition is complicated, she said.

“There are a lot of hoops to jump through,” Short said.

Not the least of these were filing new articles of incorporation and forming a new board of directors.

“We’ll probably continue fundraising on a limited basis,” she said.

She cited as an example the foundation’s annual golf tournament.

“It has great support from the community,” she said.

All of the proceeds go to a community organization.

“Last September we presented a check for $9,000 to ACTS,” she said of the local Area Christians Together in Service organization on Chestnut Street. “Next year we’ll select another organization.”

Another change came with the move of the foundation’s office out of the hospital complex.

“The board looked at five or six properties, but this one had character,” Short said. “It’s a beautiful building.”

It also brought the foundation downtown, which she said was a priority of the board.

The foundation has leased the downstairs of a former residence at 726 South Garnett Street. Kimberly Scott, the owner, has offices for her counseling service upstairs.

“It’s been beautifully renovated,” Short said.

The foundation’s space includes a small meeting room, board room, parlor, kitchen and two offices.

“I hope it can become a resource for the community, a place for meetings.”

Short said she would like to partner with the Chamber of Commerce or other community organizations to hold community forums to educate people on health issues. That would be in keeping with the foundation’s mission: “To encourage, support, and invest in quality efforts that measurably improve health in the Triangle North region.”

Short defined that region as including Vance, Warren, Franklin and Granville counties.

“Our funds came from the proceeds of the sale of the hospital,” Short said.

The funds were used to create an endowment. The earnings will be used to support projects that promote health in the region. The board is in the process of developing guiding principles to give organizations guidance in applying for grants, Short said.

The foundation’s nonprofit status means donations will be tax deductible. However, the foundation will not solicit donations, although “we certainly will accept donations.”

Short said she is networking with other foundations in the state and the southeast. “Networking will bring in other resources,” she said.

Short pointed out that, although Maria Parham was purchased by Duke LifePoint, the hospital still has the same management team.

“They have been welcoming to me,” she said. “Anything I’ve asked, they’ve provided.”

The hospital has been a primary sponsor of the golf tournament, for example.

“One thing we will continue is our contributions to a scholarship program.”

The scholarships are designed to recruit new people into health care fields. The only change, she said, is that the scholarships will not be tied to employment at the hospital.

“We’ll work through the schools,” she said. “I’m in the process of setting it up.”

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.