Ten nonprofits in the Triangle recently received $40,000 dollars each for their integral community support in the age of COVID-19 – three of which are located right here in Orange County.

Three Chapel Hill nonprofits just received big awards from GSK – the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. The Compass Center, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County and the Orange County Rape Crisis Center each received $40,000 dollars courtesy of the GSK IMPACT Awards to further their unique missions.

Celebrating 12 years in the Triangle region, the GSK IMPACT Awards is a highly competitive program recognizing organizations that are working hard to improve the health of the community. This year, the winners have shown a keen flexibility in adjusting their approaches to meet community needs amid the onset of the coronavirus.

To qualify for the award, nonprofits needed to demonstrate innovative and sustainable approaches to address at least one of the following six community health factors: Community Safety, Education, Employment, Family and Social Support, Housing and Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Rachel Valentine is the Executive Director of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, or OCRCC.

She said it is an honor to not only receive these critical funds, but to receive recognition for all of the OCRCC’s efforts during what has been a very difficult year.

“One of the things that is really beautiful about the GSK Impact Award is that, unlike some other grants or funding streams, they’re not asking us to build a new program,” Valentine said. “They are looking for who are the organizations in our community that are already doing critical, vital and innovative work and let’s just support them doing what they already know how to do really well. So that’s really important to us to have the meaning and impact of our work be recognized.”

As the country continues to wade its way through the pandemic, Valentine said she expects funding for nonprofits to only get rockier in the coming months. Because of this, having GSK’s unrestricted funding will allow the OCRCC to prepare for a difficult year ahead.

In addition to the $40,000 dollars, Valentine said receiving this recognition alongside other deserving nonprofits is an honor in itself.

“I love that this award works in a cohort because that is how our work gets done,” Valentine said. “We are not who we are, we can’t do what we do, our mission cannot be accomplished without the missions of these other organizations in our community that are working towards a really similar vision. We all have our own thread that we’re holding in it, but it’s all wound together in the same garment of our vision.”

Jennifer Player is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.

Like the OCRCC, this is the first year Habitat has won GSK’s IMPACT Award. Player said even if they didn’t win the award, the application process for this recognition allowed for great reflection on all their past achievements.

“Our organization is 36 years old and I’ve only been here for six of those years,” Player said. “So, to be able to look back at the many years and the many people who have made this organization what it is, it makes it a really special award.”

Player said the $40,000 dollars of funding will be crucial in the upcoming year – especially as Habitat’s fundraising efforts have been heavily disrupted due to cancelations of events and lack of volunteer opportunities due to COVID-19.

“This award is a confirmation of our role in the community and how impactful the work is that we do,” Player said. “So often, in the nonprofit community, we have really long days and we often don’t get paid the same as our for-profit counterparts. So to be able to have confirmation that what we do in the community is recognized and is important, it allows you to take a deep breath and say ‘the community recognizes that we’re important – the community supports our work – we’re going to be okay.’”

Lead photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.

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