Stephen E. Sallee Assistive Technology Award Winner in 2019
Assist M.E. is a non-profit organization that provides durable medical equipment to low-income uninsured and underinsured residents of the Charlotte area. The organization collects donated mobility-related rehabilitation equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers,scooters, canes and crutches, and bath aids. With the help of volunteers, they prepare and redistribute this equipment into the community. Their website proclaims, “This previously ignored or forgotten equipment kept in garages, basements and attics find a new purpose in a new life.”
Assist M.E. is a group of concerned healthcare professionals and members of the
general Charlotte community who came together in 2014 and committed to addressing this need with a community-based model. Winning the coaches’ award during the Charlotte SEED20 competition in 2015 helped launch the organization’s non-profit effort. JackSheehan, the founder, recruited a core team of volunteers and has continued working hard to grow the organization to fulfill the mission that everyone in Mecklenburg that needs mobility equipment to get it.
During 2018, Assist M.E. gifted 334 pieces of equipment to 187 individuals in need. In
the first half of this year, Assist M.E.’s gifting includes 238 pieces of equipment to 149 individuals, which represents a 50%+ increase over 2018 and is on track to save $5million in 2019 healthcare costs for Charlotte-area residents. It should be noted that Assist M.E. also assisted a survivor of Hurricane Florence in eastern North Carolina who needed equipment. The organization’s website states their goal “That every patient in the community has the medical and mobility equipment they need.”
Assist M.E. has convinced major healthcare systems in the Charlotte area to contribute volunteers and assisted him in securing donated operational space from local organizations. Letters of support from representatives of these healthcare systems describe their reactions to Jack’s efforts. Todd Bennett, Vice President at Carolina Rehabilitation wrote, “Every patient that receives equipment enjoys a higher quality of life and improved safety. The family members or caregivers for that patient get greater peace of mind. Jack and the AssistME team are ‘angels’ to the people they directly help.” Meanwhile, Laura Weiner, the Office Coordinator at Carolinas Rehabilitation-Charlotte, stated, “Assist M.E is a miracle worker. I am amazed by the effort they put into making sure that our patients have what they need. They go above and beyond.No matter how large the order, where the family is located, or how short of notice is given, Assist M.E. is able to coordinate for the patient.”
The coaches award from SEED20 competition in 2015
In March, 2015, Assist ME (formerly the Charlotte chapter of F.R.E.E. Foundation) won the coaches’ award in the 2015 SEED20 competition. Created by Social Venture Partners (SVP), the annual SEED20 program identifies, highlights and connects the community to our region’s most innovative ideas for tackling pressing social challenges. These innovations can be developed by:
An individual or start up with a well-formed idea
An emerging nonprofit
A well-established nonprofit with a new program
Each year, over the course of two months, a class of twenty nonprofit participants receives training, coaching, feedback, and mentoring on how to succinctly and powerfully tell their story – who they are and why they matter. These efforts culminate in SEED20 OnStage, a high-energy event where ten members of the class compete to win cash awards by making three-minute pitches to a panel of judges and a community audience. SEED20 OnStage includes a celebration before and after the pitches where the audience can interact and connect with all twenty nonprofits to learn more about their mission and opportunities for support and engagement.