Care Clinic Seeks Financial Aid
Like many other nonprofits in the wake of the recession, the Moore Free Care Clinic has seen demand for its services rise at a time when fundraising is unable to keep pace.
"It could get worse before it gets better," said Tony Price, the clinic's CEO. "The economy has created a very difficult environment for personal donation and development activity, so we are left to be creative in our fundraising quests.
"Grants are also drying up. There are not as many opportunities out there today."
Price and the clinic board have spent much of the past year seeking new revenue streams or tweaking existing ones.
For example, a fundraising letter sent earlier this month was split into two versions: one for individual donors and another for businesses and churches. It was also sent to new ZIP codes in Moore County.
"Typically, we have only mailed to those patrons who have donated in the past," Price said. "This campaign, we're expanding to include the northern part of Moore County, Horse Country, (Pinehurst) No. 6, Seven Lakes and Beacon Ridge. It's somewhat targeted by neighborhood."
Earlier this year, the clinic netted almost $7,000 from its annual pig pickin' and about $12,500 from its inaugural golf tournament. Upcoming events include a New Year's Eve bash at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club and a telethon in February.
"This is a first for the clinic, and a first to my knowledge for the community," Price said of the telethon. "The plan is to have the telethon in February, with a concentrated print, radio, television and direct mail campaign beginning prior to the event."
Price said he got the idea for the telethon while driving his car.
"I just happened to switch over the radio station and catch a part of the Jimmy V telethon," he said. "I thought a telethon could become an annual event and brand for the clinic."
The clinic provides high quality primary, preventive and specialty care to Moore County residents who are uninsured and can't afford access to health care.
The clinic has grown from the 800 square feet it initially occupied at the county health clinic in Carthage to the current 3,000 square feet in which it operates at the former Proctor-Silex building on Trimble Plant Road in Southern Pines.
Price said the clinic had more than 3,200 "patient encounters" last year and provided $4.9 million in medical and pharmaceutical services.
"Our medical partners chipped in an additional $2.9 million in ancillary and referral services for a total of $7.8 million in services," he said. "Our No. 1 goal is to sustain our current level of service."
But Price said that goal will be hard to achieve because the clinic started 2012 with a $120,000 deficit and is projected to fall at least another $120,000 in the hole by the end of the year.
"We've been using reserve funds to keep the doors open, but those funds are not unlimited," he said. "It has been very difficult for us to close the gap between our expenses and our income needs as the economy recovers."
Price added that relying on Moore County residents for operating funds is a double-edged sword.
"I don't want to sound like our only option is to lean on the local community, but we need their help to keep this very important mission moving forward," he said. "For every dollar donated, the clinic is able to provide $13 in health care to our patients."
Dr. James Tart, a retired cardiologist, noted in the clinic's fall newsletter that an anonymous donation of $100,000 provided the seed money to start the clinic.
"But to sustain the clinic, ongoing support is vitally important today as ever," said Tart, a former board member who volunteers at the clinic. "Let us remain committed to maintaining the best possible health status for ... those in the community unable to care for themselves."
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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