Healthy Foundations, during a recent community meeting conducted via Zoom, gave an overview of services it will provide for a four-county area in Northwest Georgia.
The organization, which wants to build the campus on 374 acres off Burnt Mill Road in LaFayette, would primarily serve Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker counties.
Terry Tucker, president and chief operating officer, said, “Healthy Foundations has been in the works for six or seven years. A lot of research has gone into what is planned and the research is backed up by data and experience.”
He introduced Dr. Jeff Bailey, chief programs officer, who provided an overview of the problems and solutions Healthy Foundations will deploy in meeting needs for individuals.
Specifically, the organization will have four areas of focus: mind-body-spirit health and wellness; housing stability to make it easier for people to move forward in other areas of their lives (including housing for veterans and young people aging out of foster care); job training, financial literacy and employment; and, education for people at all stages of life.
The organization plans to use evidence-based interventions and rigorous data to track outcomes. Baily noted the importance of keeping detailed data to note what’s working along with what’s not and to base future programming decisions on the data. He said Healthy Foundations will be working with experts from various fields, partnering with local groups and agencies, and providing an integrated and holistic experience for those seeking assistance.
“One thing we want people to know is that no one can do this alone,” Tucker said. “Nonprofits cannot do it alone. Government can’t do it alone. It takes all of us working together in a collaborative way.”
Healthy Foundations founder and CEO DeLaine Hunter noted how the community’s perception of the organization’s offerings have changed since the initial announcement was made in October.
“We started behind the curve in providing information to the community about our programming and plans,” Hunter said. “Since that time, we’ve worked every single day to reach out to community groups, individuals and those attending our community conversations to answer their questions and clear up any misinformation about our work. The result has been that people are beginning to understand our vision better. They also realize the good this will bring to the area.”
Among the positives will be job creation, with more than 250 jobs by the time the fourth and final phase of the campus opens.
“We want to be an employer of choice,” Hunter said. “We will have a very diverse mix of jobs available to those interested in employment. From security to healthcare, we will have opportunities for members of the community to be engaged with us. Providing an impact on the local economy is a big emphasis for us. However, an even bigger commitment is to provide living wage jobs for our employees.”
The average salary for employees will be $70,000 per year, she said.
Healthy Foundations also plans to position the organization as a thought facilitator and leader in assisting people as they transform their lives, to engage in deep and honest conversation and spread working ideas at the state, national and international level. The organization plans to do this through events held and planned at their conference center.
The meetings and conferences will be an additional economic generator for out-of-town visitors coming to the campus.
Leaders of the organization used their first two meetings to discuss campus design and security, while using the third conversation for programming.
No county tax dollars will be used for the project.