Wholespire, SC Office of Rural Health receive funding to collaborate on community health initiative

Wholespire, formerly Eat Smart Move More SC, and the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) received a grant from the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, for a collaborative project to improve the health of South Carolina’s economically vulnerable citizens.

The project will expand upon the current work of both agencies to address the root causes of poor health outcomes across the state. Wholespire and SCORH each have a strong track record of using a coalition-driven approach to effect health transformation in local communities. The two agencies collectively work with coalitions in 38 counties across South Carolina.

“We know that the health of a community is about more than the medical care received in a doctor’s office or hospital. The social determinants of health – food access, opportunities for recreation and exercise, safe housing, employment and other factors – also play a role in the well-being of a community,” said Darlene Lynch, SCORH’s director of community health transformation. “SCORH and Wholespire are excited to deepen our partnership and serve rural communities as they work to elevate their overall health status.”

The grant will support this work for four years across the state. The primary components of this project will be the creation of a technical assistance model that includes scalable training and coaching, and capacity building and financial support for urban and rural coalitions across the state to improve population health.

“Over the years, our organizations found that our work increasingly overlapped, so in 2020, Wholespire and SCORH began conversations to create a formal partnership and establish a collaborative project,” said Wholespire’s Executive Director Meg Stanley. “We both view this as an opportunity to leverage the expertise and resources of Wholespire and SCORH to create greater impact and to be a model of collaboration for local communities and state partners.”

This initiative will build off the successes of SCORH’s Blueprint for Health program and Wholespire’s Let’s Go 3.0 mini-grant initiatives that also were funded by the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation.

  • Blueprint for Health allowed SCORH to offer funding of up to $25,000 to 12 communities to bring together rural community leaders from multiple sectors to collaborate on solutions to the root causes for poor health and build capacity at the local level to solve community health issues.
  • Let’s Go 3.0 mini-grants offered funding of up to $5,000 each for projects that increased access to healthy foods and safe places for physical activity through policy, systems, and environmental change projects.