One important role of a community foundation is to bring people and groups together. It sounds good on paper and occurs frequently enough to rise above a theoretical concept. But that doesn’t keep us all from being thrilled when we witness the beginning of budding collaborations. And that’s just what occurred at a recent education event sponsored by Wake County’s Women’s Network, one of the NCCF’s seven women’s giving circles.

Penny Washington, CEO of Wake Health Services, Inc. had just completed a compelling talk on the health challenges facing women, children and the entire community. She opened the floor to questions, and hands began darting up. Liz Fentress, NCCF’s former CEO, wondered if any health education efforts were being targeted to school-age children. Penny acknowledged that, given limited resources, they had not yet tackled that approach to a growing problem. A community leader then introduced herself, noting that she’d be glad to work in partnership with Wake Health: Pam Highsmith, CEO of the Poe Center for Health Education, was offering that critical resource, and Penny welcomed the idea.

The next question came from Bank of America’s Market President Kari Stoltz, who inquired about volunteer opportunities for the corporation’s local employees. Penny was happy to say she could make that happen. After adjournment, Alice Lutz with Triangle Family Services also proposed an idea for support.

“Clearly, collaboration was the major learning from this luncheon,” Penny said. “Immediately we could see how Poe Health Center could teach our medical patients about nutrition or Triangle Family Services could support families with counseling or Bank of America saw volunteer opportunities for their associates.”

So a well-respected luncheon speaker invited to enlighten a group of women givers about the health challenges in their community achieved that – and more. Potential partnerships were formed, ideas for solutions were suggested and the Wake County community will be the better for it all.   

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