Mission Health Beyond the Hospital

Buncombe County has only a handful of organizations that have served generations of families and individuals. Among the groups who have had the honor of working with our Buncombe County community for over a century are United Way of Asheville and Buncombe Co (UWABC), and Mission Health.


We both have a robust history of serving the county for 100+ years, and we intend to continue to grow and listen to work with county residents for another 100 years.  Mission Health and UWABC’s purpose in Buncombe Co is different. At first glance, it may seem that only our history and love for the community overlap. However, when two organizations care about the citizens of this region, there are bound to be multiple areas of co-working and communication to ensure that the communities we serve have every possible opportunity to thrive.


Examples of our collaboration are the Live United Campaign; this annual campaign helps UWABC sustain our work from Community School initiatives to Community investment funds. Mission Health has consistently ensured that UWABC is highlighted as a local organization where anyone can become a philanthropist. UWABC is one of the top recipients of the Mission Health HCA Healthcare Colleague Giving Match. However, as our world has evolved in the past 100 years, so has our partnership. 



Beyond the typical campaign, Mission Health’s Whole-person Healthcare staff often utilize NC 211, to help connect patients with resources in the community that they need to be healthy or recover well. Additionally, there is a rich history of Mission Health encouraging their colleagues to engage their community by volunteering their talents and passions using Hand On Asheville Buncombe. For example, mission Health has participated in almost every aspect of the Annual School Supply Drive for many years. Whether it is the donation of funds, backpacks, or time volunteering during the packing, this annual event has long highlighted our partnership.


While the School Supply Drive draws the interest of many Mission Health philaprothis and volunteers, there are other ways in which Mission Health has been showing up for UWABC and the Buncombe community. Community Nights featuring Homework Diners are a wonderful example of Mission Health is looking to engage its colleagues. UWABC is participating in the national Community School Initiative, which aims to create hubs of support and wrap-around care within our county's schools. A small aspect of this work is the Community Nights featured weekly at 6 Community Schools in Buncombe. Recently, Mission Health began internal advertising for volunteer positions at the Asheville High School/SILSA Community Night.

We spoke with two Mission Health employees at the Asheville High School Community Night and asked them about their reasoning for volunteering. Patrick Kenny is a prosthetist at Mission. When asked about his reasoning for volunteering, he said, “I just felt like it was an opportunity to give back to the community in something that reflected what I could contribute and my skill set. ” At any Community Night, students may ask for help with homework ranging from English to math and science, and there are volunteer hands needed to check in students and serve food. UWABC also emphasizes volunteers making authentic connections with students by sitting at the table and eating together. 


These connections are precisely what Sara Lewis-Wallace of Mission Health likes to see. “I’m always looking for ways for our colleagues to make the connections to organizations like United Way,” she says, “I know there are so many Community Nights happening across the county, and I thought this one at Asheville High would be a great place to start because it’s right across the street from us!”



The proximity to the area of volunteerism is crucial in helping our community connect. Patrick sums up proximity's benefit as a Mission Health employee: "I think it’s an effortless way to apply my interests just by clicking the link and crossing the street.” For a volunteer, just crossing the street to a different building can open doors to new opportunities, and it also helps students open doors to new career paths and connections.

Mission Health will continue to work in all these ways with UWABC to ensure our partnership benefits this county's youth, families, and individuals. Mission Health also hopes to continue with the UWABC-backed United for Youth, which focuses on building a network of partners and organizations to support our youth and youth leadership in our community. Mission is looking forward to the United Way Block Party in August of 2023, sharing their Mobile Hospital Simulation Lab with students, recruiting applicants for Kesha Young Heath Careers Scholarships, Junior Volunteer Program and their Earn As You Learn CNA program for HS graduates who are interested in starting clinical careers.


United Way of Asheville and Buncombe Co. thanks Mission Health for their generous sponsorship of our Centennial Year and looks forward to continuing serving the residents of Buncombe Co.

Don't Stop There...

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