On April 19th, the Golden LEAF Foundation held a gathering in Jacksonville, N.C., for organizations interested in learning about the Golden LEAF Community-Based Grants Initiative, currently active in the Southeast Prosperity Zone. As part of the gathering, breakout sessions were held on each Golden LEAF priority areas: Job Creation and Economic Investment, Workforce Preparedness, and Agriculture. The gathering also featured project development sessions and a panel of recipients of Golden LEAF funding.
In 2020, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $300,000 through the Community-Based Grants Initiative in the Sandhills Prosperity Zone to support the Fayetteville Area Health Education Foundation’s project to improve the regional nursing pipeline through professional development. This project supports professional development to help reduce nursing student attrition.
During the roundtable, Sheree Hayes, Southern Regional AHEC’s Administrator of Continuing Professional Development said that this project is helping to pull together a regional partnership focused specifically on the Sandhills Region’s challenges and strengths around nurse training. In the Sandhills Region, there is a shortage of nurses. It is estimated that for every 65 students, the region loses 40 nurses, said Hayes.
Hayes talked about the importance of partnerships in building out a successful project.
“Know who to bring to the table,” said Hayes. “Then ask yourself, who else can you include at the table?”
Hayes spoke about how the Golden LEAF funding process worked for her project.
“The planning process went well,” said Hayes. “Unfortunately, COVID happened. We had to change from face-to-face meetings to virtual. It’s good to have a plan B.”
Data collection is a part of Golden LEAF project management. Hayes noted that while working with partners is absolutely essential, there needs to be time allotted for collecting the data and a great process in place to receive data in a timely manner.
“You need to look at measurable, attainable outcomes,” said Hayes. “Then you need to allow for enough time to get that data from your partners, and don’t reinvent the wheel. Use a proven method to collect the data.”
Hayes said they had strategically looked at tracking data that included increasing the number of students retained in nursing programs, number that completed their NCLEX exams, as well as the increase in the number of nurses entering the workforce.
Visit Golden LEAF’s website for more information on its funding programs.