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Community seed grant in review 2022: Vance Street Missionary Baptist Church

Jan 18, 2023

seed-grant-vance Robert A. Winn, M.D., director of VCU Massey Cancer Center (right), took part in Vance Street Missionary Baptist Church's Community Health Awareness Day with several members of Massey's team.

Vance Street Missionary Baptist Church (VSMBC) in Danville, Va. is committed to providing a "safe place" for people to gather and engage in meaningful dialogue with healthcare professionals. As a 2022 VCU Massey Cancer Center seed grant recipient, VSMBC was able to expand its efforts in September by holding a Community Health Awareness Day centered on cervical and colorectal cancer awareness and prevention.

“Holding the event at the local community center allowed for the neighborhood members to walk from their homes directly to the event,” said Yolanda Pool, VSMBC seed grant project director. “Attendees received educational materials, listened to mini lectures, engaged in fun, physical activities and enjoyed a meal.”

The seed grant is part of the Community Grant Initiative, launched by Massey in Dec. 2021 to support community 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.

VSMBC used the $5,000 from Massey to cover costs to rent a venue, print materials, buy supplies and order food for Community Health Awareness Day attendees.

“The event extended VSMBC's reach into the local community and strengthened and established many personal and professional connections,” said Rev. Maurice Ferrell, Ph.D., the pastor of VSMBC. “This outreach provided the platform to build trusting relationships.”

VSMBC’s Community Health Awareness Day hosted 246 individuals. It provided them with information about cervical and colorectal screening and connected them with community partners, including Massey’s Cancer Resource Center (CRC) in Danville.

VSMBC joined six other organizations to make up Massey’s first cohort of seed grant awardees:

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

Massey announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for the next round of seed grants on Nov. 29, 2022. The application period is open until Jan. 20, 2023.

“We encourage other organizations to apply because being a recipient of the Massey seed grant opens many doors to improving health and wellness,” said Pool. “Massey has phenomenal individuals available to assist with outreach and can provide educational materials and subject matter experts. The Massey seed grant can catapult an organization into meeting its mission, no matter how overwhelming the mission may seem.”

VSMBC is thankful for the relationships fostered by the Massey seed grant; healthcare leaders were willing to participate without compensation, city officials were engaged, various businesses provided donations for door prizes and additional people volunteered their time.

“When we shared the meaning and mission of the seed grant, the outpouring of assistance from community partners was amazing,” Ferrell described. “Receiving this seed grant has opened new avenues for participation and collaboration for the health and wellness of our Danville community. Various healthcare organizations have asked VSMBC to participate and host future events since Community Health Awareness Day in September. We have exciting times and great work ahead of us!”

To be eligible for a Massey seed grant, organizations must be located in its catchment area, defined as the 66 Virginia localities served by the cancer center.
Massey will score the 2023 applications on merit and notify the winners by Feb. 3.

Written by: Amy Lacey

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

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