It is very likely than everyone reading this has benefitted in some way from the work of a charitable foundation. There are thousands of charitable foundations in the U.S. that support a variety of causes – children’s health, research, job training and education, among others. Some are large, privately endowed foundations, such as the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, while others are smaller, locally focused and raise funds from the public and often other foundations.

Sometimes, foundations benefit individuals in ways they are unaware of. For example, a local community foundation might provide funding for the development of a new public park, local arts programs, and more recently, funding to support communities in responding to COVID-19. Most public universities have foundations that provide scholarships for students. But regardless of its purpose, a charitable foundation helps people.

In late 2018, Highland Rivers Health created a charitable foundation to support the work of our agency. The official name is the Community Recovery Partnership, Inc., but it is known simply as the Highland Rivers Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3, which means donations are tax-deductible (and while Highland Rivers Health itself is a nonprofit and tax-exempt organization, it is not recognized as a charitable entity).

What’s most important to know is that the Highland Rivers Foundation helps Highland Rivers Health go above and beyond, supporting activities that can enhance our programs and the experiences of individuals receiving services, but which our agency might not have the funds for (as nearly 90 cents of every dollar we earn goes directly into services). So I wanted to share some of the benefits the Highland Rivers Foundation has been able to provide for our agency because of the generosity of community members and other donors.

♦ A gift from the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia has allowed Highland Rivers Health to replace the mattresses and bedding for all 74 beds in our three crisis stabilization units, in Dalton, Rome and Cedartown.

♦ A gift from the SmileUp! Foundation in Woodstock was earmarked specifically to help with the copays for children and families in Cherokee County.♦

♦ Earlier this month, the foundation received a gift that will help Highland Rivers Health purchase a generator in a facility that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Another donor donated a hospital bed for a medically fragile individual with IDD.

♦ The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse provided grants in both 2019 and 2020 to support Operation Gratitude, a Highland Rivers event specifically for veterans. Several other organizations also made in-kind donations to support the event.

♦ A gift from a local family paid for the renovation and installation of new play structures and surface for the playground at Highland Rivers Women’s Outreach residential program in Rome, where women can bring their young children wh♦ ile in treatment.

♦ Several individuals and organizations also made donations to the Highland Rivers Foundation to provide holiday gifts for women in the Women’s Outreach program, as well as for individuals in peer support programs and the Assertive Community Treatment program.

This is just partial list that highlights some of the donations – both monetary and in-kind – received by the Highland Rivers Foundation over the past couple years. While some of the donations were very specific and others were used across several programs, every donation ultimately fulfilled the same purpose: supporting individuals during their recovery journey, both directly and indirectly.

Finally, given the difficult challenges faced by many people in our communities due to COVID-19, I want to emphasize that this is not a solicitation of donations for our foundation. However, I do want people to know that if you are ever looking for a way to support individuals in recovery, and in a way that can have a very direct benefit, please consider a gift to the Highland Rivers Foundation. Lean more at http://highlandriversfoundation.org.

Melanie Dallas is a licensed professional counselor and CEO of Highland Rivers Health, which provides treatment and recovery services for individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in the 12-county region of Northwest Georgia.

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