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Guilford County is one of 15 North Carolina counties selected to receive a $20,000 planning grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation's Opportunities for Families Fund.

The grant will be used to fund the development of specific program plans, budgets and partnership agreements and secure local funding commitments to attack family poverty.The 15 counties have until Aug. 1 to develop and submit plans to the foundation. The foundation will then review the proposals, after which as many as five counties will receive grants of up to $1 million to implement the plan over a three- to five-year period.

Guilford County Board of County Commissioners committed funding for the planning grant application, which focused on five main objectives to be pursued during the planning phase:

Development of a countywide public policy initiative setting priorities for services to poor, pregnant women and their families.

Development of a multidisciplinary team of care coordination.

Creation of opportunities for the families to be involved in shaping their own movement toward self-sufficiency.

Development of a system that promotes positive self-concepts and draws out human potential.

Development of evaluation methods.

A advisory board for the planning phase was established to coordinate activities and design the final operating grant proposal. The planning advisory board held its first meeting Feb. 18. Dr. Donald Smith was elected chairman.

A task force will be formed to assess the grant's major objectives as they relate to specific geographic areas and to develop strategies to achieve the objectives. The first task force meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. March 4 in the Medlin Campus Center of Guilford Technical Community College's Jamestown campus. The meeting is open to the public.

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