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Community seed grant in review 2022: Fifth Baptist Church

Feb 01, 2023

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During the earliest days of the novel coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the leaders of Fifth Baptist Church in Richmond realized that underlying health issues often contributed to the outcomes of individuals who contracted COVID. At that time, they adopted a mission for their community to be as healthy as possible.

After receiving $5,000 from VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Community Grant Initiative, Fifth Baptist Church was able to launch an effort to educate children, teenagers and adults about tobacco use, nicotine and vaping.

It worked with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to develop the virtual program. Dentists, retired police officers, nurses and others then volunteered their time to facilitate the discussions. The Caron Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based behavioral health nonprofit, led an all-ages breakout session.

“Teens were able to express their views of why [they] are smoking and vaping,” explained Ricardo L. Brown, D. Min., co-pastor of Fifth Baptist Church. “In turn, the adults were able to be educated about vaping, an area relatively unknown to many of them.”

According to Nov. 2022 data, Fifth Baptist Church shared information about tobacco cessation, including programs offered at Massey, with more than 100 people in the Richmond metropolitan area and beyond.

“One example is a lady in her 60s who lives in Fredericksburg, Va., which is an hour drive north of Richmond,” said Brown. “She participated in many of the Zooms due to the fact that she works in her church in Fredericksburg with children and youth. [She] wanted to be educated.”

Fifth Baptist Church used Massey’s seed grant to fund a project coordinator and print materials. Because of his church’s positive experience, Brown encourages other organizations meeting the criteria outlined in the Request for Applications (RFA) to pursue 2023 seed grants.

“It is evident that Massey Cancer Center values partnerships with those in the faith-based community,” Brown commented. “For such a center to recognize the value is important.” 

In addition to Fifth Baptist Church, six other organizations across Massey’s catchment area also received 2022 seed grants:

  • World U.P. Foundation (Richmond)
  • Vance Street Missionary Baptist Church (Danville)
  • Saving Pennies 4 A Cure / Trials of Color (Petersburg)
  • Northern Neck Middlesex Free Health Clinic (Kilmarnock)
  • Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation (Richmond)
  • Ebenezer Baptist Church (Richmond)

Launched in Dec. 2021, Massey’s Community Grant Initiative helps community partners expand programs focused on the promotion of health, health equity, person-centered care across the cancer continuum (from prevention through survivorship) and reducing suffering from cancer.

Massey will score the 2023 applications on merit and notify the winners by Feb. 3, 2023.

Written by: Amy Lacey

This article is part of a series highlighting each of the seven 2022 seed grant recipients.

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