Local Volunteers To Be Recognized by County & State

Ten Chatham County volunteers have been selected to receive recognition for their outstanding community service:  Pamela Caruso, Kay & John Combest, Mary Dickerson, Ruth & Dick Flannelly, Edith & Joe Hammond, Hilary Murray and Larry Ross.  They were also selected to receive the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award certificate from the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

The United Way of Chatham County will recognize these local volunteers for their exceptional dedication and community service at the 2018 Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Awards ceremony.  The awards reception will be held on Thursday, May 3 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro.  Refreshments will be served.  The event is free of charge and everyone is invited.  Community members are asked to RSVP by calling the United Way office at (919) 542-1110.

Diana Hales, Chair of the Chatham County Commissioners, will present the volunteer awards.  Former Chatham County Commissioner Betty Wilson is the keynote speaker and will talk about the value of volunteerism.  Sheriff Mike Roberson will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.  “Everyone is invited to join us in celebration of the amazing spirit and generosity of our Chatham County volunteers,” said Alane Coore, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator.

Chatham residents donated 81,265 hours of volunteer service to United Way and its member agencies last year.  According to the Independent Sector, the most current hourly value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour.  This means that local volunteers donated work hours valued at more than 1.2 million dollars.  “This community activism saves Chatham’s human service nonprofits in salaries and allows them to provide a level of service they could not otherwise afford,” commented United Way Board Treasurer Jim Sink.

“Volunteerism is an important part of the proud history of community service in Chatham County,” said Dina Reynolds, Executive Director of United Way of Chatham County.  “It is our honor to recognize our neighbors who truly make a difference in the lives of others.”

Since 1998, United Way has coordinated the Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Awards to recognize individuals who selflessly give their time, talent and expertise to benefit the residents of our community.  Chatham County community members make up the local Volunteer Nomination Review Committee that reviews the nomination forms, selects the honorees and plans local recognition activities.  The committee also selects Chatham County’s nominees to be considered for recognition on the state level.  The United Way of Chatham County Volunteer Center coordinates this effort with the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

For more information about volunteering in Chatham County, please contact Alane Coore, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator at 542-1110 or visit the United Way of Chatham County website at www.unitedwayofchathamcounty.org

Posted in Communities, Events

New Interactive Tool Helps Chatham County Families Learn How Much They Need to Make Ends Meet

Chatham County’s working families will have a better understanding of how much income they need to meet their basic needs thanks to a partnership between United Way and Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International. The “Our Money Needs Calculator” is an interactive online calculator designed to show how much it takes for families of different sizes to make ends meet. In addition to providing income data, the calculator also links users to resources that may help them improve their financial situation.

The calculator uses information entered by the family along with data from the “Self-Sufficiency Standard for North Carolina 2017” to determine the costs of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and other essentials such as clothing, as well as taxes and tax credits. After viewing the income required to meet their basic needs, families are directed to financial assistance resources. “Let’s Talk Money: A Family Guide” provides tips and tools to help families review their current financial situation and set goals for the future. The “Economic Security Pathways Report” shares information on pathways for families to build long-term financial security. Links to United Way’s NC 2-1-1, nc211.org, connects users to information about health and human services programs in their communities.

The “Our Money Needs Calculator” is available at www.unitedwaync.org/our-money-needs-calculator and you can read more about it in The News & Observer.

Posted in Events

Lend Your Voice To Community Health and Well-Being!

This February, the Chatham Health Alliance began the 2018 Community Assessment. The Community Assessment is an ongoing process that includes a survey and community conversations that help us identify the issues that most affect the health and well-being of Chatham County residents. The assessment provides a snapshot of our community’s needs, challenges, strengths opportunities, and moreover; what we can do together to make life better. United Way of Chatham County is a member of the Chatham Health Alliance, and the information gathered through the Community Assessment process will help to identify priorities that guide us as we find ways to create positive outcomes for our community.

Your voice is an important part of this process, and there are several ways to participate in the Community Assessment!

  • Take the 2018 Community Survey: The Community Survey was mailed to a random sample of households in February. If you are one of the residents who received this survey, please take the time to respond. We want to hear from you, and your response ensures that your community and your voice are included. For some of the most common questions on the survey, including selection, visit the FAQs on our website www.chathamtalks.org.
  • Share your feedback: In addition to the surveys, we will also host many focus groups and community conversations over the next several months. We’ll keep you updated on our website www.chathamtalks.org and on Facebook, but you’re always welcome to check in with us to see where we are in the process. Contact us at ChathamTalks@chathamnc.org or 919-545-8323.
  • Join our collaborative effort: The Community Assessment brings together people just like you with our county leaders, public health agencies, healthcare, community organizations, businesses and academic institutions. This process is for everyone and seeks to benefit all of us. If you are interested in becoming a partner or volunteer, please contact ChathamTalks@chathamnc.org or 919-545-8323.

We look forward to hearing from you and learning what we can do together to make Chatham County a healthy, thriving community. For any questions on the Community Assessment, contact ChathamTalks@chathamnc.org or 919-545-8323.

Posted in Communities

Chatham County Recognized as a Spotlight Award Winner in Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge

Chatham County has been selected to receive $25,000 as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge (the Challenge) Spotlight Award. Nationwide, ten winners and five honorable mentions were selected for their ability to address the need to improve opportunities for all Americans – regardless of income, education or ethnic background – to take an active role in healthy living.

The Challenge was launched in 2016 by the Aetna Foundation, along with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), to help empower 50 small-to-midsize cities and counties to implement innovative solutions for their local public health issues. The 15 selected organizations have tackled community-specific health disparities head-on and developed practical, evidence-based strategies to improve health conditions and promote healthy living.

Chatham County has been highlighted as a Spotlight Award winner for identifying creative partnerships and enacting sustainable and replicable programs that address the unique health issues facing the Chatham community. Specifically, the award recognizes the collaborative effort of the Chatham County Public Health Department and Planning Department, along with the Chatham Health Alliance, to promote and foster health through the recently adopted Chatham County Comprehensive Plan. The partnership resulted in the inclusion of a new Plan Goal, “To foster healthy communities,” and a comprehensive Health Element that details strategies and recommendations to improve community health through the plan. Moving forward, the Chatham Health Alliance will work with these and other partner agencies and organizations to enact the strategies recommended in the Health Element and advance its efforts to shape a healthier Chatham for all.

“Partnership is the key to building a healthier community,” said Health Director Layton Long. “Chatham County’s Comprehensive Plan lays out a collective vision for the county, one that will guide our work in the years to come. We are grateful for this recognition and the continued support from the Challenge.”

The Challenge is a $1.5 million prize competition among small and mid-sized U.S. cities, counties and federally recognized tribes that plan to address social determinants of health, such as improving access to healthy foods, physical activity and reducing violence and crime. The 50 participants were chosen based on strategies to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five domains: healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures.

“At the Aetna Foundation, we know that a positive health impact can be made when communities work together to tackle social determinants of health,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation. “We are honored to showcase these innovative organizations as Spotlight Award winners for their commitment to improving local health conditions and creating healthier, safer places.”

Posted in Communities

2018 Chatham Community Assessment Surveys May Arrive in Mailboxes

The Chatham Health Alliance, in partnership with the Chatham County Public Health Department, Chatham Hospital, and numerous community organizations, has begun its 2018 Community Assessment process. The Community Assessment, which has its roots in the Community Health Assessment conducted in 2014, yields important and timely information about the health needs and preferences of Chatham County residents. This assessment will consider an array of factors that affect health and well-being, such as traditional metrics like access to care and underlying issues, such as economic opportunity and housing.

“With the 2018 Community Assessment, Chatham County is taking a new approach to an established process,” noted Health Director Layton Long. “This comprehensive view of the county and its residents will help to inform not only our own efforts, but also those of the many partners with whom we work on a daily basis. It is these partners who make the Community Assessment possible, and the same partners who will be instrumental in creating positive change in the community based on the assessment’s findings.”

There are many ways residents can participate in the Community Assessment process.

  • SURVEY:  A survey will be mailed to randomly selected county residents in February. “If you receive the survey, we appreciate you taking the time to respond,” added Long. “We want to hear about your access to health services, your opinions and your needs.”
  • FOLLOW UP:  Beginning in March, volunteers with the Chatham Health Alliance will follow up in person with residents who received a survey and did not respond.
  • FOCUS GROUPS & COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS: In addition to the surveys, the county will convene several ocus groups and community conversations over the next several months where residents will have the opportunity to talk about the issues that are most important to their communities. Information about these conversations will be posted on the Community Assessment’s website, www.chathamtalks.org. This website will also feature questions residents can respond to online.

Later this year, staff will put together the findings from the survey, focus groups, community conversations, website responses and data from additional sources. Based on these findings, the Chatham Health Alliance will prioritize focus areas for the next three years.

If you would like to assist with this process and work to improve quality of life in Chatham County, the Chatham Health Alliance always welcomes new members.

The Chatham Health Alliance was established in March 2015 as an extension of the 2014 Community Health Assessment Steering Committee. The Alliance is a collaborative of local professionals and residents working together to improve health in Chatham County. The Alliance brings together both traditional and nontraditional partners to work on issues affecting health in Chatham County, with a focus on the health priorities identified in the Community Health Assessment: obesity, access to mental health services, and access to healthcare. To learn more about the Chatham Health Alliance, visit www.chathamhealthalliancenc.org.

Posted in Communities

United Way & Chatham County Funding Application Workshop

A workshop to review the Chatham County and United Way funding application, as well as the entire FY19 allocations process, will be held on Monday, January 29, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.  It will take place at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center in Pittsboro.  The components of the application process, criteria used to evaluate proposals and the new online application will be reviewed.

It is strongly recommended that all human service nonprofits planning to submit a request for funding attend this workshop.  To ensure that there are enough handouts and instructional materials for everyone, attendees are asked to RSVP for the workshop by Friday, January 26 by emailing the United Way office at uwaycc@emji.net.

The application will be accessible beginning Monday, January 29.  Applications must be submitted online by Wednesday, February 28.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the United Way office with any questions at (919) 542-1110 or uwaycc@emji.net.

Posted in Agencies, Events, Funding Application, Grants, Organization

3M Employees Collect Food for Residents in Need

3M completed their United Way employee campaign and raised more than ever before in their fifteen-year history. To keep the momentum of success going, they conducted a canned food drive for CORA. All three shifts competed to collect the most canned goods. The effort yielded over 300 pounds of food for Chatham residents in need.

Posted in Campaign, Communities, Organization

Mailings Coming to Chatham Medicaid Recipients about Nutrition Benefits

Chatham County Social Services wants older residents on Medicaid to know that they may receive an unexpected letters and phone calls from a nonprofit, Benefits Data Trust, encouraging them to apply for Food and Nutrition Benefits (FNS). The program also has been known as SNAP.

“It may seem suspicious because the contact will come from Benefits Data Trust rather than the state or the county,” said Jennie Kristiansen, director of Chatham County Social Services. “However, it is safe to respond to contacts from this group, which the state is using to reach out to Medicaid recipients. The goal is to urge more of them to enroll in FNS.”

A letter to Chatham County Medicaid recipients will be mailed on October 18, 2017, with follow up phone calls in late October.

Sara Welch, the county’s administrator for economic services, said, “Research conducted by Benefits Data Trust indicated that only half of eligible seniors were receiving these food benefits. This is tragic because additional research shows that seniors enrolled in FNS are associated with a 14% reduction in hospitalizations and a 23% reduction in nursing home admissions.”

Nikia Bland, who supervises the FNS program in Chatham County, reports that older residents may be reluctant to apply for benefits because they are uncomfortable asking for assistance. “I hope that more will reconsider applying, because FNS can help them afford healthier food options that will help them lead healthier, longer lives.”

For those who are interested in applying for FNS, applications are accepted at the Chatham County Department of Social Services at (919) 542-2759 or through the state’s website: www.epass.nc.gov.

Posted in Organization

Introducing New Dial-A-Ride Minivan for Siler City!

This year’s United Way nonprofit allocations included support to Chatham Transit for a handicapped-accessible minivan dedicated to serve Siler City residents. To schedule a ride call (919) 542-5136.

Posted in Agencies, Organization

Chatham County Outstanding Volunteers Awards Nomination Forms Now Available

Each year the United Way of Chatham County coordinates the Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Awards to recognize those individuals who selflessly give their time, talent and expertise to benefit the residents of Chatham County.  Everyday in Chatham County hundreds of volunteers donate their time and talent through nonprofit organizations, churches and schools.

“The amount of hours served by volunteers of United Way and its member agencies totaled an astonishing 85,908  last year,” said Alane Coore, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator.  “This results in over 1.9 million dollars saved in salaries.  It is important to recognize volunteers for their efforts because they help nonprofit agencies to provide a level of service that they otherwise may not be able to provide.”

The United Way Volunteer Center is currently distributing the Outstanding Volunteer nomination forms to recognize Chatham County volunteers for their volunteer service.  Individuals may be nominated for volunteer service in the following categories: Arts/Culture, Education/ Literacy, Environment, Health, Public Safety, Social Services and Special Events. Click here to download a nomination form.

Nomination forms must be returned to the United Way of Chatham County Volunteer Center by 5:00pm on Friday, December 1, 2017.  Forms may be dropped off at the United Way office at 72 Hillsboro Street, Suite 202 in Pittsboro; mailed to PO Box 1066, Pittsboro, NC, 27312; emailed to uwayadmn@emji.net or faxed to (919) 542-0991.

Chatham County community members make up the local advisory committee that will review the nomination forms, select honorees and plan local recognition activities.  All nominees selected by the advisory committee will be recognized at the 2018 Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Awards reception.  The event will be held on Sunday, May 6, 2018.

The local advisory committee will also select Chatham County nominees to be considered for recognition on the state level.  The United Way of Chatham County Volunteer Center coordinates this effort with the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.   Those selected will receive recognition from the Governor, in addition to being considered for the Governor’s Medallion Award.  The Governor’s Office honors only twenty volunteers with the Medallion Award statewide and selects from nominees submitted by 100 counties.  A minimum of one year of volunteer service is required to be eligible to receive the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.

For more information about the Volunteer Recognition Program, please contact United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator Alane Coore by phone at: 542-1110 or by email at: uwayadmn@emji.net.

Posted in Communities, Events

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