Our Opinion: Foundation grants will make Wilson healthier, happier | The Wilson Times
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Our Opinion: Foundation grants will make Wilson healthier, happier

Posted on July 19, 2021

OpinionEditorials
The Healthcare Foundation of Wilson awarded $821,300 in grant money last week. Recipients include Wilson Youth United's The SPOT with $134,000 to implement “My Classroom Moves.”

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The Healthcare Foundation of Wilson awarded $821,300 in grant money last week. Recipients include Wilson Youth United's The SPOT with $134,000 to implement “My Classroom Moves.”

THUMBS UP to the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson, which is pouring more than three quarters of a million dollars into a baker’s dozen Wilson programs to help improve our community’s health outcomes.

As Times journalist Olivia Neeley reported last week, the foundation awarded $821,300 in grants to 13 public agencies and private organizations in support of community initiatives. Three projects were funded to the tune of six figures: Wilson Area School Health Centers at Beddingfield and Hunt high schools and Forest Hills Middle ($214,000), the My Classroom Moves interactive classes at The SPOT ($132,800) and the Wilson City Miracle League Field ($130,000).

In its lifetime, the foundation has provided an eye-popping $36 million in funding for Wilson organizations. Without those much-needed dollars, many programs and services we now take for granted may have never been able to get off the ground.

“...(W)e remain committed to providing these annual, responsive grants for sustainable projects that focus on rising concerns and current needs to improve the health and wellness of the greater Wilson community,” Executive Director Denise O’Hara said. 

The Healthcare Foundation of Wilson formed in 2014 when the county sold 80% of its stake in Wilson Medical Center to Duke LifePoint. After absorbing the former WilMed Foundation and its assets, Wilson Medical Center’s cash reserves after debt and a portion of Duke LifePoint’s $56 million purchase price for controlling interest in the hospital, the foundation began managing an estimated $73 million. Yearly grants come from the investment income on that sizable nest egg.

The grantmaker and the agencies it funds are working diligently to make Wilson County a healthier and happier place. Our hat’s off to them.

THUMBS DOWN to drivers who tie up traffic on public roads to join snaking drive-thru lines that stretch far beyond Wilson restaurants.

A Twitter discussion last week lamented the long-line phenomenon in Raleigh and expressed frustration with the popular eateries, which shouldn’t be blamed for their success. Restaurants can’t control how people behave outside the bounds of their property. The fault lies with motorists who believe it’s OK to block the road. That’s thoughtless at best and downright selfish at worst.

We’ve checked North Carolina’s general statutes on impeding and obstructing traffic. There’s no exception for waiting in line for drive-thru service. When so many cars are stacked up that queues spill into the street, deciding to join the feeding frenzy is against the law.

The pandemic is no longer a plausible excuse. While Gov. Roy Cooper initially ordered restaurant dining rooms closed during COVID-19’s first wave, he allowed them to reopen at 50% capacity more than a year ago, and all restrictions for indoor dining were lifted in May.

Many Wilsonians want to support their favorite restaurants and prefer taking their meals to go. To avoid causing traffic tangles, diners would do well to consider placing takeout orders inside (there’s often substantially less wait time) or avoiding the lunch and dinner rush when planning their drive-thru pickups.

THUMBS UP to Barton College, which announced last week that it earned two favorable mentions in Colleges of Distinction’s 2021-22 guide for college-bound students. Barton is both a national and state College of Distinction honoree.

The organization highlights “student-centered schools” that “traditional rankings often overlook,” a Barton news release states, noting that some of the most prominent national ratings and rankings consider factors like the size of a college’s endowment, peer reputation and alumni salaries, which don’t capture the full picture of student experience.

Barton ranks among the most significant institutions in Wilson’s civic life, bringing young people from across the country and around the world to learn, study and grow in the heart of town. Through its own offerings and in collaboration with Wilson County Schools and Wilson Community College, it serves as a high-octane economic engine for our community.

Wilsonians who count themselves among Barton and Atlantic Christian College’s proud alumni already know what it means to be a Bulldog. Thanks to the new Colleges of Distinction guide, students from outside our area making their college choices may be more likely to join them.

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