October 11, 2016

Southside Health Education Foundation to receive community service award

After competing alongside other exceptional nonprofit organizations in the Tri-Cities area, Southside Health Education Foundation (SHEF) has been selected to receive The Cameron Foundation’s 2016 Cleveland A. Wright Award for Outstanding Community Service. The Foundation will make its presentation to SHEF during its annual ceremony on October 27. The Foundation also will honor the organization with a $20,000 unrestricted gift during the event.

By supporting education through scholarships, SHEF’s mission centers on growing the number of health care workers who live and work in Southside Virginia. It engages in other efforts beyond scholarship making to build awareness of career opportunities in the health industry. Its keystone program, the Southside Health Careers Exploring Program, helps to identify, educate and recruit young people into the region’s health care workforce pipeline. The program is highly interactive and serves both middle and high school students. Due to demand, SHEF has expanded the Explorers’ program from one cohort participating over the course of an academic year to add summer camps and to redesign the school year program into two cohorts, one running in the fall and the other in the spring. Among SHEF’s scholarship recipients, 76% now work in health-related fields across the region.

Responding to news of the award, Dr. Jody M. Dodd, vice-chair of the organization’s Board of Directors said, “Southside Health Education Foundation is deeply honored to receive the Cleveland A. Wright Award and would like to extend a sincere thank you to those who have played a significant role in helping SHEF attain this recognition. These individuals include Deborah Barfield Williamson, former executive director from 2006-2016; Dr. Fred Ende, immediate past chair of the Board and Board member for 10 years; and Sherry Channell, program manager for the Explorers’ program.” In concert with other grant support that SHEF receives from the Foundation, Dodd emphasized that SHEF will dedicate the funds from this recognition award to continuing its mission of cultivating a health care workforce pipeline for the region.

Since 2007, the Cleveland A. Wright Award for Outstanding Community Service has been made annually to one local nonprofit for its commitment to caring and generosity of spirit, as well as its openness and accessibility. The award was named after The Cameron Foundation’s first president (and current board member) for his exemplary and untiring commitment to the Foundation’s mission. The program engages a committee of community representatives to review candidates for the award and to present a recommendation to Cameron’s Board. The 2016 selection committee was chaired by Cameron Board member Chequila H. Fields and also included community members Betty Moore Beverly, Robert S. Carlon, Shikee H. Franklin, Dr. William D. Irvin, Angela M. Orrell, and Pastor J. David Tolbert.

The Cameron Foundation strives to transform the Tri-Cities and surrounding counties into a healthy, vibrant and economically vital region by strategically leveraging resources for community impact. Founded in 2003, it is a private foundation that was formed from the proceeds of the sale of Southside Regional Medical Center by the Hospital Authority of the City of Petersburg. Its service area includes the region historically served by the hospital and includes the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Hopewell; the counties of Dinwiddie, Prince George and Sussex; and the portion of Chesterfield County lying south of Route 10. Since the Foundation began grantmaking in 2004, it has awarded more than $76 million to organizations serving residents of this area.

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