Michael L. Suggs is the President of the Goler Community Development Corporation, a faith-based community development corporation that is revitalizing a community in downtown Winston-Salem.
In this episode of Healthcare Insights Podcast, Andrew Brewer discusses social determinants of health, racial disparities in health with Michael Suggs as they talk about how Goler has been keeping these at the front of mind.
Michael was always curious about the east side of Winston-Salem and the separation with US 52. He started his career working at RJ Reynolds and worked on the 14th floor and would look out and see the east side of Winston-Salem. This got him thinking about how we need to revitalize the community in downtown Winston-Salem.
He started a economic development ministry when he was getting started out which turned into what the Goler Community Development Corporation is today. Recognizing that the church had been in the community for so many years, they planned to rebuild the community around the church. The area around the church was in need of repair, which motivated him to get started on this project.
The goal is to make the area more desirable for development, which has created a chain reaction of other businesses to come into the area. A business plan and strategy with collaboration in mind was put in place, generating support from City of Winston-Salem and City Council.
A wholistic approach was taken to develop a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mixed-income community...a utopia where everyone was comfortable no matter how much money you made, how old you were, etc.
By partnering with Truliant Federal Credit Union they put a branch of the bank into the community. Having a banking partner is so important for the area to succeed. This branch has ended up being one of the most successful in the city.
Access to healthy foods has been a topic of conversation and efforts with Goler. Winston-Salem has one of the worst food desserts in the country, which limits access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Groceries stores do not tend to be in minority communities due to typically lower income levels, these stores prefer to be in higher income neighborhoods due to their corporate structures. Eating healthy is a key aspect in being healthy, so they have developed a community garden through a partnership with Downtown Health Plaza, and the produce is given to patients of the Downtown Health Plaza.
You really want to take a few minutes of your day to listen to the full podcast, click below!
Watch the podcast on video here
Thanks so much to Michael Suggs for taking time to discuss these important issues in our community.
Goler CDC's mission is to create a mixed-income, multicultural community consisting of a variety of housing choices, small businesses and commercial offerings in a healthy and safe environment. Find out more at www.golercdc.com