Free Clinic of Franklin County Receives $1 Million to Expand Health Care for Uninsured

The Free Clinic of Franklin County in Rocky Mount, Virginia, has received a $1 million gift from Guy E. Beatty, founder and chair of the Beatty Companies, and his wife, Betty, the Roanoke Times reports.

The Free Clinic, which began as a one-room, one-night-a-week operation in 1992, will use the gift to build a 1,700-square-foot facility, add doctors to its staff, and expand healthcare services for the county's residents. The clinic assisted twenty-two hundred patients in 2012 and expects to double that number after the expansion project, which is expected to be completed some time next year. The new facility is especially important for Franklin County, where more than 18 percent of residents have no medical insurance, Free Clinic executive director Lois MacDonald told the Roanoke Times. "We're going to help make the healthcare safety net in the community even stronger," said MacDonald.

Jennifer Braaten, president of nearby Ferrum College and a longtime friend of the Beattys, helped broker the donation. Braaten had been in conversation with the Beattys — who are benefactors of the college — for five years about establishing a healthcare clinic in the area, the Franklin News-Post reports. A spokesperson for the college told the Roanoke Times that Guy Beatty's family lineage could be traced back to the area.

"Our community will benefit for years to come through Guy's desire to share his blessings with us," said Braaten. "It is a great privilege for me to have worked with him to secure this tremendous gift for those in need of quality health care in Franklin County."

Chase Purdy. "Franklin County Clinic to Use $1 Million Gift for Expansion." Roanoke Times 12/22/2012. "Philanthropist Donates $1 Million to Free Clinic." Franklin News-Post 12/21/2012.