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Good News Clinic needs to match gift of $95,000
Dr. Wiley Black talks Tuesday morning with patient Laura Gonzalez at Good News Clinics. The clinic recently received a $95,000 donation from an anonymous donor who requested the organization match it by raising an equal amount from the community. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

How to help

Donations: Send to Good News Clinics, Box 2683, Gainesville, GA 30503

Contact: Cheryl Christian at 770-297-5040, or www.

An anonymous donor has given Good News Clinics $95,000, but there’s a catch.

In exchange for the donation, Gainesville’s free clinic for the poor has been asked to raise a comparable amount of money from the general public.

"This person (the donor) is a longtime supporter of what we do," said Cheryl Christian, executive director of Good News Clinics. "They just wanted to send a message to the community that we should all try to work together."

In response, the clinic has launched "95 in 95," an effort to raise $95,000 in three months, mostly through small donations.

"We understand why, in this economy, people who’ve given us a large gift in the past may not be able to do so now," Christian said. "But if they can only give $30, that’s enough to pay for one patient visit."

The nonprofit clinic provides basic medical and dental care at no cost to patients who are uninsured and whose income is less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

Christian said the $95,000 is particularly welcome now, when the clinic’s budget is tighter than usual.

"This is a very significant gift, especially with our drop in donations and increase in patients," she said.

Good News lost about $200,000 this year because three foundations were unable to contribute as they have in the past.

At the same time, the number of patients applying to enroll is up 68 percent as more Hall County residents have lost their jobs and health insurance.

Even before the $95,000 donation was announced, Gainesville’s dentists had been planning a fundraiser for Good News’ Green Warren Dental Clinic. For the next two months, participating dentists are offering free professional teeth-whitening to anyone who makes a $250 donation.

Richard Bennett, a Gainesville dentist who also serves as president of Good News’ board of directors, said that effort will continue alongside the "95 in 95" campaign.

"I think the Brighter Smiles campaign is going to be very successful," he said. "I’ve already had three patients do it in my office."

The goal is to raise $75,000 by having 30 dentists each do the whitening on 10 patients.

For "95 in 95," the parameters are much less specific. Basically, people are being asked to just give whatever they can.

"In these economic times, there are no small donations," said Bennett. "Just a small amount can go a long way in helping people get the care they need. We’re able to keep our overhead low because most of our providers are volunteers."

So a donor’s dollar goes a lot further at Good News than it would at a standard health care facility. A gift of $25, for example, can cover one patient’s lab work.

Christian hopes those who are still doing relatively well financially will feel compelled to help because they have seen friends and loved ones affected by the recession.

"Perhaps you’ve had a family member who’s been without insurance, so you understand what that means," she said.