Twenty-six out of 31 applications were approved with the biggest beneficiary being the Hope Health Clinic, which received $350,000.
Other notable grants were awarded to the Griffin-Spalding County School System to support its school nurse program ($275,000) and to the Spalding County Board of Health to be spent on its medical clinic ($262,000) as well as its children’s dental project ($156,000).
Although none of the 26 organizations receive their entire budget from the authority, some projects certainly depend on the contribution.
“These funds have to be spent on Spalding County citizens,” said Yvonne Langford, executive director of the Hospital Authority. “This money belongs to the people of Spalding County.”
Bonnie Pfrogner, chairwoman of the authority, said that all authority members are happy to give away that money.
“It gives us a great deal of pride to be associated with something that has the opportunity to provide financial assistance (to people in the community),” she said. “It’s a very rewarding situation.”
The Hospital Authority is comprised of eight members, four of whom are appointed by the Griffin Board of Commissioners, the other four by the Spalding County Board of Commissioners. Each member serves a four-year term but is eligible for reappointment.
In its mission statement, the authority pledges to “help improve the health of the people of Spalding County by addressing root causes of problems.”
One of the way to accomplish that goal, the mission statement reads, is by awarding grants to organizations to improve the health and well-being of the people in the county.
Thus, all grant recipients were either nonprofit organizations or local government entities.
The Council on Aging, which received $35,000, will be able to buy food for its Meals on Wheels program, for example.
The Salvation Army’s House of Hope was given $62,000.
The Hospital Authority has the right — and makes use of it in certain situations — to require a grant to be spent on an organization’s specific program. When the Spalding County Collaborative, for instance, received $20,000, this money was earmarked for its Prevent Child Abuse program, one of many areas the collaborative is involved in.
The authority operates with the money that was once generated from the sale of the Griffin-Spalding County Hospital.
A trust fund was established at that time, and has grown considerably since.
The grants awarded to the community are derived from the interest earned by the fund.
Pfrogner said that Spalding County has been a pioneer in Georgia by establishing a trust fund after the sale of a hospital.
“It’s a very unique opportunity, because not every community has this,” she said.