Where are They Now: Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter

They called it Project Inclusion. The goal: bridge the barriers and gaps that prevent Lupus Thrivers from getting the education they need.

Lupus can strike at any time. It can prevent mobility, thus isolating individuals. The Lupus Foundation of North Carolina serves the entire state, and reaching Lupus Thrivers in rural areas, and those physically unable to attend their educational events was becoming more challenging. 

In 2016, The Lupus Foundation of North Carolina won Apparo’s Technology Innovation Award (now, Mission Possible Award), sponsored by Accenture. Project Inclusion was born. 

“The grant elevated our ability to be more creative and innovative,” said Ally Hunter, Operations Director. “We went from only sharing content in person to sharing with Lupus Thrivers across the country, and the reviews have been incredible. Apparo has allowed us to expand our possibilities and offerings.”

Through the grant, the organization was able to create educational seminars through Facebook Live, develop a text message system to push wellness updates and educational content, and create a virtual board room to bring more board members and volunteers outside of Charlotte into the process. 

lupus3

Technology opened doors for the foundation to reach more people. Since launching the text message system, they have more than 200 subscribers. The tips subscribers receive are informative and show Thrivers what resources are out there so they can take an active role in their care. 

“The grant has changed the way they are able to offer educational content- with less traveling I can put more time and energy into other areas. It’s been cost effective and human resource effective.”

Working with Apparo and Accenture has brought structure to getting their plans up and running. The foundations learning and findings have also allowed them to find other purposes in their organization apply their new knowledge.  “The Accenture consultants’ knowledge was invaluable,” said Hunter. “We would be floundering without it. It was the launching pad for the success we hoped to achieve.” 

What’s in the future for the North Carolina Chapter? The foundation is thinking about potential niche markets with online communities, and partnering with physician’s offices.

(Photo Credits: @lupusorg on Instagram)