Appalachian Life Quality Initiative (ALQI)
Purpose Prize Fellow 2007
Improving the quality of life for underserved children in rural America.
In 1999, Terrie Cross had just sold her medical equipment business and was asked to help with a problem: 4,000 Medicaid children in Scott County, a government empowerment zone in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee, needed local access to dental care. A new project, Appalachian Life Quality Initiative (ALQI), was organized with Cross as Executive Director. She operated from her home for over a year, launched a self-taught grant writing campaign, and gathered donations of dental equipment and support from across the state. A new dental clinic opened in 2000 which has served more than 4,300 children to date. In addition, Cross has assisted other nonprofits by providing the administrative support and infrastructure they need with the goal of becoming self-sufficient within their first five years – 15 programs in all. Among those programs: the Children’s Health and Maintenance Program, Imagination Library, Boys & Girls Club of Scott County, Children’s Center, Students Together Allowing No Drugs, and a Data Collection program. Five other counties in TN, KY and VA are being provided assistance for similar programs. Cross hopes to continue finding grants and donations to support the existing programs, and in the future to address the problem of childhood obesity through a collaboration of the schools, medical community, parents, and community services.