Friday night Allen County was allowed to toot its horn.
The good works of individuals and organizations were put in the spotlight at the annual Thrive Allen County meeting. The purpose of the dinner is to recognize achievements that raise the standard of living here in Allen County.
It took an outsider to put Thrive’s accomplishments in perspective.
Bill Moore, Kansas City, is a vice president for the REACH Healthcare Foundation. In his role, Moore oversees and evaluates the programs REACH funds across six counties, including Allen, in Kansas and Missouri.
Since 2006, REACH has invested heavily in Allen County, through Thrive and also with grants to SAFE BASE, Hope Unlimited, the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department and the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.
It was REACH money that helped Thrive develop into a non-profit all those years ago. Grants fluctuate according to Thrive’s goals and how they align with REACH’s.
According to Moore, the two organizations are hand-in-glove when it comes to the fight against poverty, recognizing its devastating effect to society at large.
Two new programs through Thrive, Circles out of Poverty and the Rural Health Initiative, directly address poverty and receive REACH funding.
The success of the programs already has been recognized — big time. As in Washington, D.C.
“I was recently invited to attend a meeting of the White House Rural Council,” Moore said in his address Friday night. “I was able to share the promising work of Thrive and the Allen County Rural Health Initiative with senior administration officials at both the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.
“There was tremendous interest in what you are doing, particularly the efforts to connect essential services, from primary care to mental health care to public health, oral health and hospital-based services, to strategically begin connecting other sectors such as businesses and education to a vision around healthy people and communities,” he said.
That’s a mouthful that says we’re on the right track, and REACH recognizes the effort. At Friday’s ceremonies Moore announced the gifts of an additional $100,000 to support the Rural Health Initiative and $55,000 directly to Thrive for general operations.
To date, REACH has invested $2.5 million in Allen County programs. Thrive alone has benefited from $700,000 in REACH funding since 2006.
ALLEN COUNTY stands out, Moore said.
“What we see here that is different from other places,” include our:
• Passion and commitment to community;
• Willingness to rally around and make things happen;
• Strong work ethic and an understanding that it truly takes a whole community to make the community whole, and
• Love and affection for what you see as the best parts of living here, and you want to see your community realize its potential.”
We’re that awesome?
Of course, Moore’s words serve not only as a pat on the back, but as a challenge to reach higher, try harder.
Let’s take it and run.
— Susan Lynn