The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service received a $40,000 reward from GlaxoSmithKline earlier this month, and it was one of 10 Triangle area recipients of the company’s IMPACT award.
The award is meant for organizations working with communities to further their health and well-being, according to the website of the Triangle Community Foundation, an organization that helps GSK choose award recipients.
Julia Da Silva, the programs and scholarships associate for TCF, said recipients of the award typically support community health in an innovative, measured, partnered, accountable, community-centered and transformative manner.
“We’re really looking at those boxes," she said. "How are you partnering with other organizations? How are you measuring the work that you’re doing? What’s your creative process and thinking differently about the services that you’re offering in terms of innovation and transformation."
She said IFC, founded in 1963, met these criteria well. Since its early days, it has worked to address issues of social justice, such as hunger and housing.
The IFC operates a free community kitchen and a food pantry for those without reliable access to food. It sources food and volunteers from individuals and organizations in the area.
It also offers temporary housing for men at its Community House, and its HomeStart program does the same for women. All guests receive help with housing placement and the job search, as well as health care.
Through its Crisis Intervention program, IFC also does its part to prevent homelessness. It helps eligible people pay outstanding rent and utility bills to avoid eviction. IFC also offers people help getting IDs and free bus passes for urgent business such as funerals or job interviews.
Jackie Jenks, IFC’s executive director, said her organization also collaborates with those it helps.
“We have our Community Building and Advocacy program, which is really looking at how we foster leadership among our residents and members and create spaces where people can come together, work on different solutions to the problems that are impacting them,” she said.
This program aims to train and equip disadvantaged people to press for changes in affordable housing, public transit and more.
“We’ve been doing that for a very long time, and I think that when it came to the GSK IMPACT Awards, GSK really recognized the work of IFC over the years and how our various services were impacting the health and well-being of our community, and we are delighted and very humbled by the recognition from GSK,” Jenks said.
Da Silva said this degree of collaboration with other organizations and stakeholders makes IFC stand out and sets a good example for other organizations.
“I think IFC is a great example of what (collaboration) can look like when done effectively and used appropriately,” she said.
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