Norton Community Hospital foundation board takes new name, mission

Mike Still • Nov 19, 2019 at 1:30 PM

NORTON — Norton Community Hospital’s former board of directors has established a new healthcare foundation for Southwest Virginia.

Community Healthcare Foundation, Inc. has announced its renaming as The Rapha Foundation, less than two months after completing the sale of its 49.9% share of Norton Community to Ballad Health.

Mark Vanover, the new foundation’s executive director and Ballad’s vice president/director of operations for Dickenson Community Hospital, said on Monday that Rapha is independent of Ballad in its new role as a 501(c)(3) philanthropic foundation tackling issues of health and education inequality.

“We’re very excited,” said Vanover, who officially takes over as director on Dec. 2. “The board is still forming criteria for what we’ll be doing, but that will become clear in the coming weeks.”

Rapha’s board carries over Community Healthcare’s nine local members — Chairman Charles “Jibber” Ward, Jim Manicure, Ernie Ward, Bill Wampler, doctors Matthew Wilson and Matthew Cusano, Valerie Lawson, Bob Leonard and Chuck Slemp III.

“This is an exciting opportunity to enable positive change and strengthen our community beyond hospital walls,” foundation chairman Ward said in a statement released on Friday. “Our work has already begun to identify significant areas of need where we believe The Rapha Foundation can make an impact in addressing health literacy, healthcare access and creating new pathways to education.”

Vanover said that Rapha and Ballad are not releasing the amount of the sale. He did confirm that Ballad paid 39% of the total on sale completion, with the remainder to be paid in the next five years to form the foundation’s endowment.

Foundation attorney Freddie Mullins said the foundation will serve Wise and Dickenson counties and Norton.

Vanover said the foundation will make its first gift announcement in December. While declining to discuss specifics of that gift, he said the foundation board will look at scholarship programs and health education in area school systems.