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|Foundation changes name; Paul West hired as CEO|
The former Ward 5 Healthcare Foundation on Friday unveiled its new name and CEO before dozens of local residents at the West Monroe Convention Center.
The group, which was established following the sale of Glenwood Regional Medical Center to IASIS Healthcare last year, will now be known as the Living Well Foundation.
Paul West was announced as the foundation's new CEO during Friday's event.
West, for years, was the director of the Opportunities Industrialization Center in Ouachita Parish. He most recently conducted mission work in Guatemala.
"I'm excited about what the future holds for this foundation," West said. "It's a rare opportunity to work with an organization that holds so much promise and so much hope. I'm confident this foundation in the days ahead will lead the way for positive changes in our area and our citizens. I'm excited to work with this organization to make our area a better place."
West said the new name was chosen for several reasons. First, the foundation's purpose is to help the community live well. Secondly, the foundation is a "living, working well with resources" to help the citizens of northeast Louisiana.
Mayor Dave Norris, the foundation's chairman, said the $44 million the foundation received from the sale of Glenwood has been invested and is now earning interest. The interest will be used to fund various health care initiatives throughout the region.
The foundation today has $46.55 in total assets.
"The funds of the foundation are public funds and they have to be invested like public funds and managed like public funds," Norris said. "We want this foundation to be a perpetual foundation. Even though we can come up with $45 million dollars worth of projects in a very short period of time, we wanted to make sure this foundation lasted forever. So, our policy that we've adopted is we are only going to spend the income that's earned off this $44 million endowment. What we want to do is try to leverage these funds by making our funds available as matching funds to groups, organizations or state and federal grants so we can make the impact of the foundation much greater than the amount that we have on an annual basis."
He said the foundation hasn't awarded any grants during its first year because it has not earned enough income off the endowment.
"We have not been without some activity, however," Norris said.
The foundation has maintained funding at the Riser School-based Health Clinic. It also has allocated money for the addition of a health clinic at West Monroe High School.
Also, this year, the foundation has been involved in a community health-needs study to determine what health care initiatives it should tackle first.
"When the foundation was established one of the first things we were mandated to do was do an area-wide health assessment," Norris said.
That health assessment should be completed within a month.
"We should make an announcement on what that assessment has encouraged us to do as far as the foundation's activities," Norris said.
The foundation hopes to begin accepting grant applications for health care initiatives sometime in March.
The Living Well Foundation will operate from its new office at 315 Stella St. in West Monroe.