Foundation will continue legacy of Hospice of the Carolina Foothills

Published 10:06 am Thursday, June 23, 2022

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Hospice of the Carolina Foothills (HOCF) recently sold its hospice and palliative care licenses to Agape Care Group in Spartanburg, SC. The Carolina Foothills Foundation was created by funds from this sale to ensure patients can receive care regardless of their ability to pay. The primary focus of the Foundation is to provide much-needed elder care services in Rutherford and Polk counties where HOCF first began hospice and palliative care. 


The Foundation is still in the beginning stages of formation and should be complete by Fall. Retired HOCF chief executive officer, Rita Burch, who has been a certified fundraising executive since 2003, will serve as CEO of the Carolina Foothills Foundation. The nonprofit foundation board consists currently of Chair Bob Keith, Vice Chair Pat Keeter, Secretary Linda Edgerton, Treasurer Jackie Hampton, and member Doris Clark. The Foundation offices will be located at 376 Hudlow Road, Forest City, in the Carolina Event and Conference Center. The Foundation will operate the conference center which has returned to business as usual now and is available for reservations.

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“We are very fortunate that the people of Rutherford and Polk counties will benefit immensely from Foundation grants in the very near future,” Bob Keith, Foundation chair said. “It is so important that our senior communities receive hospice and palliative care, as well as many other services so they can remain in their homes as long as possible.” 


“We plan to receive grant applications beginning January 2023,” Burch said. “We will publish guidelines this fall that will outline exactly what groups or individuals can apply.  HOCF had a reputation of providing the highest quality care regardless of ability to pay, and the Foundation is committed to continuing this legacy for those patients, as well as other seniors.” The Foundation will also consider limited grants for the purpose of wellness and youth development, but the primary focus will be elder care since that’s the primary focus of the former HOCF.


Regarding hospice care in the former HOCF service area, nothing has changed. Former HOCF CEO Elect Heidi Owen remains to lead the hospice in Forest City. Staff, volunteers, and medical providers remain as before.  The care also remains the same, and the inpatient unit operates as always. The Foundation continues to operate the Resale Shop on Oak Street in Forest City. All donations for hospice care will be designated to the Carolina Foothills Foundation to distribute for patient care as before. The address remains the same at PO Box 336, Forest City, NC 28043. For more information, contact Rita Burch at (828)245-0095.


Submitted by Heidi Owens