The following column by Foundation president Shari Landry was printed in the Culpeper Times on October 11, 2018. This is the first installment in a new column Shari will be contributing to the Times each month.

In August 2016 I came to Culpeper to take the position of president of Culpeper Wellness Foundation.  It was a big move for me after living in New Hampshire my entire life but I haven’t had a moment of regret.  When I arrived for my first interview I was immediately taken by beauty of the area, the quaint town and the friendly interactions with everyone I met.  But what really sealed the deal for me was when I was given a tour of Powell Wellness Center.  As I walked through the building I saw people of all ages and sizes and abilities exercising with varied levels of intensity.  Some people were obviously athletic and regular gym-goers while others were beginning exercisers learning to use the equipment or building stamina by walking along the indoor track.  I decided right then that I wanted to be part of this organization and its mission to improve health and wellness.  Thankfully the hiring committee and I were on the same page!

Culpeper Wellness Foundation was established in October 2014 when the University of Virginia purchased Culpeper Medical Center. As a condition of that purchase the University contributes annually in support of the Foundation.  The mission of the Foundation is to address health and wellness needs in Culpeper, Madison and Orange counties, the hospital’s service area.  Typically, a “legacy foundation” formed upon the sale of a community hospital is solely a grantmaking organizations that provides funding for program and services consistent with its mission.  Culpeper Wellness Foundation is not your typical legacy foundation.

In addition to making grants throughout the three counties, this Foundation operates the Free Clinic of Culpeper, Powell Wellness Center and Culpeper Sport & Fitness.  In 2018 we will provide $1 million in grants and charitable investments, up from $875,000 last year.  Let me share a quick overview of our 4 major initiatives.

Grantmaking:  We invite nonprofits, schools and municipalities to submit health and wellness related grant requests each spring.  The grant decisions are made by a volunteer advisory board.  Other grants are made throughout the year for strategic initiatives or time-sensitive, high-impact requests.

Free Clinic of Culpeper:  Free health care and prescription medicines are provided for 500+ uninsured low-income adults.  If a family of 4 earns less than $62,750/year, the adults can receive care at the clinic and get free or reduced fee services at Powell Wellness Center.

Powell Wellness Center:  PWC is one of only 3 certified medical fitness facilities in VA.  That means our staff are highly trained and that we have medical oversight of programs designed for people with limitations or medical conditions.  We also offer fitness programs for children, families and active adults.

Culpeper Sport & Fitness:  A fun workout facility that offers adult fitness classes, youth classes including tumbling, Tae Kwon Do and sports performance training; boot camps for children and adults and indoor tennis and pickleball.  Both fitness facilities offer reduced fees for low-income residents.

The Foundation is guided by local volunteers who serve on our Advisory Boards and is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors.  We work closely with community organizations to provide programs that are needed and sustainable and build on our vision of healthy people in healthy communities.

Going forward this monthly column will focus on health and wellness.  I look forward to sharing information you can use to improve your health!