The Montgomery County Free Clinic has reached one of its two significant fund-raising goals, and now qualifies for a $900,000 matching grant from North Central Health Services (NCHS).

MCFC Executive Director Bill Doemel announced Thursday that a $300,000 goal had been met when the Montgomery County Medical Trust (MCT) donated $20,000 to help establish the Dr. Mary Ludwig Free Clinic on Mill Street. In order to qualify for the NCHS grant, the community had to raise $300,000 on its own.

Fund-raising began in earnest with a public kickoff in June. At that event, the Medical Care Trust presented a first check of $10,000 to get the fund-raising drive started.

"How appropriate and exciting it is that before the year was out, the Medical Trust gave an additional $20,000, which brought the total received to more than $300,000," said Doemel.

"The Medical Care Trust enthusiastically supports the efforts of the Dr. Mary Ludwig Free Clinic," said MCT Board member Jill Rogers. "The MCT's mission is to help provide healthcare access to the medically underserved in our community. The Clinic will play a key role in addressing this mission, and we are thankful for all of those who have worked to make this clinic become a reality."

The Free Clinic grew out of the long-standing work of the Christian Nursing Service, which for 45 years has served uninsured citizens of Montgomery County. Unable to sustain its work without a physician, CNS volunteers worked with community leaders and local healthcare professionals to develop a plan for the Free Clinic based on the Volunteers in Medicine model.

"This is a very exciting time for all of associated with the Christian Nursing Service and Free Clinic," said CNS President Chris Amidon. "From our volunteers to the many individuals and groups that have supported our fund-raising efforts, it's clear that there is a need for the services the Clinic will provide and this community has risen to the challenge in support of those needs."

The Free Clinic Board sought and received a grant from North Central Health Services in Lafayette for a new facility for medical and dental examination rooms, but in offering the grant, NCHS challenged the community to support the clinic, The clinic is named in honor of Dr. Mary Ludwig, who provided free physician services to the Christian Nursing Service throughout her career.

Last summer, the MCFC purchased the Main Source Bank Building on Mill Street. Renovation of that facility is now underway and Doemel believes it will be operational by mid-summer.

In spite of the good news in reaching the NCHS challenge grant, there is a second, significant fund-raising goal to meet. Doemel said the Free Clinic Board has set a $350,000 goal for an operational fund. "While we have sufficient funds for the building itself, we now need operational funds since we receive no funding from the federal government."

Approximately $50,000 has been raised toward the operations goal.

To make a gift in support of the Free Clinic's operations fund, contact Kelly Taylor at Kelly@mccf-in.org or call (765) 362-1267.