Recipients of the 2021 Joy W. Pope Memorial Grants in Human Services Announced

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Today, The John William Pope Foundation’s Board of Directors announced the 2021 Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services recipients. The prizes went to two Raleigh nonprofits. The Green Chair Project and NAMI North Carolina each received a $50,000 grant. The foundation will announce the grant recipient of the arts category at a later date.

The Green Chair Project will use the funds to purchase a delivery truck that will double their transportation project’s capacity. In the past, The Green Chair Project has outsourced transportation to deliver furniture to families in need and pick up furniture donations. The new truck will increase the organization’s capacity and provide more flexibility. You can read more about The Green Chair Project and its grant below.

NAMI North Carolina will use the grant to transform a conference room into a state-of-the-art media center. With the new center, NAMI North Carolina will offer programs in areas of the state where there are no NAMI affiliates, reach out to underserved populations at risk for mental health challenges, and train leaders for educational programs and advocacy. Read more about NAMI North Carolina and its grant below.

“These two nonprofits are doing invaluable work, particularly given the health crisis and economic impacts of the past year,” said Pope Foundation Chairman Art Pope. “We are grateful that they are expanding their capacity to serve more individuals through these projects, which will strengthen our communities.”

Established in 2015, the annual Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant Program has awarded more than $1 million in project funds to organizations across the state. Each September, more than 50 nonprofits submit applications for consideration. You can learn more about this grant program here.

The Green Chair Project

Founded in Raleigh in 2010 by Jackie Craig and Beth Smoot, The Green Chair Project reuses furnishings donated by the Raleigh community to help neighbors in need. The organization operates three programs: Furnishings, Sweeter Dreams Beds, and Disaster Recovery. The Furnishings Program is the organization’s core work. The group works collaboratively with over 100 Wake County nonprofit agencies and social services to identify families that have established housing but live in poverty and lack the resources to purchase essential household furnishings. Green Chair helps clients select furnishings in a showroom style setting for a small buy-in fee. The process brings dignity and respect to clients’ shopping and adequately identifies and meets their furnishing needs.

The Sweeter Dreams Beds Program delivers bed bundles that include bedding and a twin size mattress to Wake County children who don’t have a sleeping space of their own. The Disaster Recovery Program was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in 2018. State leaders and relief agencies realized no other nonprofit provided whole household furnishing replacement. So, they turned to The Green Chair Project to help the more than 7,000 households who lost everything.

The Green Chair Project believes that lives change when families and individuals are nurtured and sustained in well-equipped homes. Since The Green Chair Project began, their programs have reached 15,852 individuals, 5518 households, and provided 5,000 children with a bed of their own.

“We are so grateful to the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant Program for loyal support and its investment in expanding our transportation program,” said Craig. “As the need for our services grew exponentially this past year, so did our need to increase the capacity of our transportation program. Not only did the demand for our services increase, but so has the generosity of our community. This expansion will allow us to dedicate more resources to picking up furnishings donations and deliver households of furnishings to more families in need, and beds to children daily.”

NAMI North Carolina 

Established in 1984, NAMI North Carolina is a statewide affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the largest grassroots organization in the country serving individuals with mental health conditions, their families, and caregivers. NAMI North Carolina supports 24 affiliate groups that reach 57 counties. Since its formation, the national organization has continued to develop evidence-based programs and training materials for use by state affiliates.

NAMI North Carolina offers public education workshops and webinars at the state level and trains affiliate program leaders to execute programs at the county level. Programs provided by NAMI North Carolina affiliates include education and support groups. Education opportunities help those with mental illness and their parents, caregivers, and family members understand mental health conditions alongside others experiencing similar scenarios. The support groups NAMI North Carolina offers are peer-led. They give adults living with mental illness and families supporting them opportunities to speak confidentially and help each other through challenges that arise.

In 2020, due to COVID-19, NAMI North Carolina found new ways to reach out and has transformed many of its programs to online platforms. But the pandemic has only highlighted how many people in North Carolina still need access to educational and supportive programming. NAMI estimates that a little more than half of the people with mental illness never receive treatment. And suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people and young adults ages 10 – 34. Their new media center will help North Carolina address these shocking statistics.

“NAMI North Carolina is honored to receive this generous grant from the John William Pope Foundation. Even before COVID-19, one in five adults in North Carolina suffered from a mental illness; the pandemic, with the social isolation and fears it brings, has made it even worse. This media center, made possible by the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grants Program, will allow us to reach out to people across the state in ways that we never before dreamed possible!”



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