A Million Dollar Partnership
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have been a proud partner of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals since 1972, when the cooperatives’ Board of Directors pledged $40,000 to help create the center. Since then, the co-ops have contributed more than $2.2 million in support of youth burn prevention and education outreach programs, improvements in the pediatric playroom, research for wound care and healing processes and other projects.
In 2011 the Burn Center opened its new Acute Burn and Wound Care unit, made possible by support from North Carolina’s electric cooperatives. The new unit allows staff to cross-train in burn care, provides space for a new wound treatment area and adds 15 beds to increase the center’s total capacity to 36.
The general managers of North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives created an annual golf tournament in 1998 to finance the sponsorship of the Burn Center and programs like Start Safe. With the support of dozens of partners and vendors from across the state, the tournament consistently raises more than $100,000 a year.
The electric cooperatives are also working in conjunction with the Burn Center and the N.C. Head Start Program on the Start Safe program, a free fire and burn safety program for preschoolers and their families available in English and Spanish. The program’s goal is to reduce the number of home fires and burn injuries to preschoolers. The Burn Center’s community outreach staff works with preschool educators and fire departments throughout the state to conduct training sessions and familiarize them with the curriculum.
Through its partnerships with both the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center and UNC Athletics, North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives facilitate an uplifting visit by UNC athletes to patients at the Burn Center each year. This visit, which lifts the spirits of both the Burn Center patients and the athletes, is captured on film and shown at a UNC football game.