Free Medical Clinic wins $10,000 from the newspaper’s charity arm

The Oak Ridge Free Medical Clinic – which provides free primary care to low-income and uninsured people in Anderson, Roane and Morgan counties – has won a $10,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation as part of its A Community Thrives program.

Gannett is the parent company of The Oak Ridger, The Knoxville News Sentinel, The Tennessean and many national newspapers.

Billy Edmonds, executive director of the free medical clinic, said the $10,000 will be used to help cover expenses for a mobile clinic.

Clowns at the Oak Ridge Bash Free Medical Clinic are entertainer/auctioneer Elaine Graham and Leslie England, who lead the fundraiser for the dancing teams.  The fundraising event was held on Saturday August 13, 2022 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Oak Ridge.

Edmonds said the free medical clinic had 7,500 patient appointments this year, and those involved with the nonprofit are working to ensure that number increases in the coming years. He said 14,000 people in Anderson, Roane and Morgan counties served by the free medical clinic are eligible for medical care at the clinic. He said if each of those people saw medical professionals at least three times a year, which most insured people do, that would amount to 42,000 appointments.

The key to increasing this number is securing the funds and raising awareness, especially in minority and rural communities, about the free medical clinic and its services.

“We have to create awareness that we are here,” Edmonds said. “We have to pull out all the stops.”

RAM Clinic comes to Oak Ridge

Free Medical Clinic works with partners across the region to provide assistance to people in need of medical care. In February, he said, Remote Area Medical (RAM) will move into Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge in February to see and serve at least 1,000 patients. This will be RAM’s first clinic in Oak Ridge.

“We are thrilled to hear that the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge, which has clinics in Oak Ridge, Briceville and Harriman, has won one of the grants through A Community Thrives,” said Donna Smith, editor of The Oak Ridger. “We know the people in our area, our neighbors, need a lot of things and medical care is one of the most important.”

Since the free medical clinic was established in 2009, it has had more than 50,000 patient encounters and provided millions of dollars in primary and medical care to residents of the three counties, according to the clinic’s website.

A Community Thrives supports local organizations that alleviate the hardships residents face every day. Nationally, organizations receiving grants address homelessness, medical care, immigration reform, addiction services and more.

Across the country, 16 National Merit Grant recipients will receive between $25,000 and $100,000. In addition to these grants, more than 200 local nonprofit organizations will receive operating and fundraising grants of $2,500 to $25,000. The local grants were chosen by the leaders of the 250 news sites in Gannett’s USA TODAY Network.

A Community Thrivs has contributed over $26 million since 2017.

Visit gannettfoundation.org/act in summer 2023 to find out how to apply for a grant for your organization.

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