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, 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

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

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

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:

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 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:

Posted in Communities, Events

2017 United Way Member Agency Meeting

United Way of Chatham County hosted its annual member agency meeting on Wednesday, October 4 at the new Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center. Agencies received information regarding upcoming events, reporting procedures and local grant opportunities. Chatham County Budget Analyst Lisa West provided an update on the impending changes to the county’s nonprofit funding process and outlined a timeline for agencies. NC 2-1-1 Statewide Strategy Director Heather Black introduced NC 2-1-1, a new information and referral source for Chatham County residents. She also shared how United Way funded agencies can help increase access to resources in our community through this new platform. Chatham County Emergency Management Coordinator Alan Byrd spoke about the vital role nonprofit organizations play in disaster response. The meeting also included a networking session so agencies could discuss potential collaborative projects and ways to address the changing needs of our growing community.

United Way Staff welcome member agencies and guest speakers to the 2017 Member Agency Meeting.

2017 United Way member agencies are welcomed to the annual business meeting.

Chatham County Budget Analyst Lisa West talks about the current nonprofit funding process for the county.

NC 2-1-1 Statewide Strategy Director Heather Black introduced NC 2-1-1 as a new community resource.

Chatham County Emergency Management Coordinator Alan Byrd highlighting the importance of “whole community preparedness.”

Posted in Agencies, Events

David Poe Receives United Way of Chatham County’s Highest Honor at 2017 Kick-Off Event

David Poe was named the 2017 Ormsbee Robinson Award Recipient. His wife, Patty, was in the audience as he accepted the award.

Ormsbee Robinson was the organizer of the first United Way campaign in Fearrington, which helped to solidify United Way’s presence in Chatham County. As a founder, he helped lead the group that built a vision for this United Way, developed the bylaws and created the operating standards. Ormsbee exemplified selfless giving and committed service to Chatham County through United Way.

The Ormsbee Robinson Award, established in his memory in 1996, is given by the United Way Board of Directors every year to an individual who has demonstrated Ormsbee’s legacy of strong leadership and long-standing commitment to the United Way and its mission.

The Board of Directors is proud to announce that this year’s recipient is mDavid Poe.  He has played an integral role in the Chatham community for many years. His service to United Way began in 2004 when he joined the Board of Directors. In 2007, he served as Board Chair until 2009.

In his longest-running and most recent role as Treasurer on the United Way Board, he is credited with shaping the financial stability of the organization. From 2011 until 2016, David’s contributions and financial expertise allowed United Way to expand staff, increase the amount of funds allocated to member agencies by almost 10% and invest more than $12,000 in additional funds for special grants and workshops for Chatham’s human service nonprofits.

Poe is a role model through his dedication to volunteerism and civic engagement.  His service to groups like the Chamber of Commerce, Chatham Hospital, Meals on Wheels and the Siler City STEP Program makes David an asset to our community and a valued friend of United Way.


Posted in Events

2017 Campaign Kick-Off Was A Great Success!

The United Way Campaign Kick-Off luncheon was held in the clubhouse ballroom at Governors Club Wednesday, September 6.  The event saw record-breaking attendance and hosted over 150 people.

United Way hosts the annual event to celebrate the prior year’s fundraising campaign and to kick off the upcoming year’s campaign.  The event featured local news personality Debra Morgan as emcee.  The keynote speaker was Chatham Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Touchstone.  He delivered a state of the county address focused on economic development and growth.  Touchstone was joined by guest speaker Vanessa Jenkins of Chatham Park, who presented an update on the progress of the development. Musical entertainment was provided by Sue Wilson on the hammered dulcimer and Betsy Kraus on the concertina.

There were 18 displays set up by United Way member agencies that portrayed the programs and services provided by the agencies and supported by United Way campaign contributions.  Sponsors for the event included:  AT&T, Briar Chapel by Newland Communities, Duke Energy, Governors Club, Laurels of Chatham, Nationwide Insurance and Realty World Carolina Properties.

Many residential communities, businesses and volunteers were recognized for their participation and efforts in the United Way annual campaign.  The residents of Governors Club were honored for their record-breaking campaign, raising more than ever before and more than any other residential community in the campaign’s history.  The Carolina Meadows Campaign saw the highest percentage of participation of all of the residential campaigns and have held this distinction for several years.  The Fearrington campaign had the second highest percentage of participation.  The campaign at Governors Village was recognized for having the greatest percentage of increase in their campaign results.

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office received recognition for 100% participation last year, as they have for the last twelve years.  Indira Everett of Duke Energy was recognized for outstanding commitment and dedication to United Way of Chatham County with the “Extra Effort Award.” Chatham Hospital and Chatham County Schools received the “Greatest Employee Spirit” Award.  3M was recognized for having the largest campaign, while Duke Energy and Nationwide Insurance had the largest campaign increase.

United Way is the advocate and the benefactor to 20 outstanding human service agencies.  They are:  4-H, Boys & Girls Club, Chatham Cares Pharmacy, Chatham Housing Initiative, Council on Aging, Literacy Council, Communities In Schools, Partnership for Children, Chatham Soccer League, Chatham Trades, Chatham Transit, CORA Food Pantry, El Futuro, Girl Scouts, Legal Aid, Reach Out and Read, Rebuilding Together of the Triangle, Salvation Army, The Learning Trail, and the West Chatham Food Pantry.

WRAL News Anchor Debra Morgan poses with United Way Staff.










Executive Vice President of Preston Development Company Vanessa Jenkins outlines the progress and plans of Chatham Park.

President of Chatham Economic Development Corporation Kyle Touchstone speaks of growth and development in Chatham County.

Posted in Campaign, Events

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