In recent years, the NorthLakes Community Clinic has doubled its response to the health care needs of undeserved communities in rural northern Wisconsin. NorthLakes acquired three clinics in northeastern Wisconsin, an optometry clinic in Ashland, a retired dental practice in Birchwood, a new clinic in Hurley, as well as new buildings in Turtle Lake and Hayward.
“These much-needed investments in the economic development of our communities and the health of its members have created important responsibilities in our fiscal outlook,” said NorthLakes. “Yet we survived and managed to get to the other side.”
Now in a better financial place, NorthLakes decided it was time to get things done.
A doctor from NorthLakes approached CEO Reba Rice with the idea of an endowed scholarship available to registered members of the Wisconsin tribe to attend college or technical school for careers in healthcare frontline.
Rice agreed that creating practical, tangible supports to increase the number of Indigenous people involved in health care is essential to healthy communities in many ways. The clinic chose to partner with the American Indian College Fund, which has 32 years of experience in awarding and managing scholarships, for endowment management.
Their minimum endowment scholarship is $ 25,000, so Northlakes went to work with that as a goal. Now, five months later, through call letters, emails, phone calls and referrals, the clinic has reached $ 100,000 for the NorthLakes Indigenous Health Care Scholarship.
“We hope this investment in education will bring lasting economic impact to our Indigenous communities and healthcare entities of all kinds in our region,” said NorthLakes. “We are grateful to all of NorthLakes’ many new long-time donors who made this endowment a reality. It was truly a community enterprise: individuals and organizations, businesses and private foundations.
NorthLakes said it was especially heartening to receive such overwhelming support from so many healthcare professionals across multiple disciplines: doctors, therapists, dentists, administrators. Several of the doctors who donated commented on the need for more Native American staff in health care facilities.
“We all recognize that the lack of diversity is a cultural deficit in the provision of quality health care for all,” said NorthLakes. “Our collective hope is that endowment creates lasting positive change.”
The generosity of donors created a Lifetime Scholarship to provide scholarship – including tuition, room, board, transportation, books, and fees – to Indigenous students looking for college or technical health care diplomas and certificates, which are awarded on academic merit. and financial needs.
“We are very happy to have exceeded our target, but we will continue the fundraising efforts and the events for the stock exchange,” said NorthLakes.
Due to the endowment creation process, the NorthLakes scholarship will be available for the 2022-2023 academic year.