The Chatham County Council on Aging was founded on July 8, 1974, by Mattie Paige, Lacy D. Marsh and Charlie Baldwin. Long-time Chatham County residents remember Lacy Marsh from her days teaching at J.S. Waters School and Charlie Baldwin as a political leader in the county.
The first members of the Board of Directors were Paul Alston, Lillie Lee, Novia Jordan, Mattie Paige, Clementine Strowd, John Cooper, Mary Lindley, Billie Rogers, Marietta Subart, Ben Wimberly, Charlie Baldwin, R.G. Bryant, Earl Dark, Laura Lee, Minter Hadley and Lacy B. Marsh. Lacy Marsh was the original president. The first budget was $10,000, and the offices were housed in Pittsboro in the Farm and Home Organization building located between the Courthouse and Horton School on Sanford Road. The agency hired a service coordinator and received operating funds from the Federal Older Americans Act of 1965 through a contract with Triangle J Council of Governments.
In 1978, the Council on Aging moved into the Hill House on Rectory Street. John London, a lead supporter of the Episcopal Church, reached an agreement with agency officials that the Hill House could be renovated and used for offices through a rent-free lease. Approximately $40,000 and many hours of volunteer labor were invested in the renovation, and the new offices were occupied. Services offered included information and referral, home repair, volunteer transportation, support for senior citizen clubs and telephone reassurance.
The original mission was “to promote the independence and dignity of our older adults and to help them remain healthy, secure and involved in their own homes and community as long as possible.”
The agency’s mission has changed very little over the years. Today, the Council owns and operates two senior centers, both certified by the State of North Carolina as "Centers of Excellence." We annually provide more than 31,000 meals,16,000 transportation trips, 27,000 hours of in-home aide, two fitness rooms and daily exercise programs, health and disease self-management sessions, numerous interest issues groups and caregiver support programs, and a full schedule of social and recreational opportunities, including a hiking club.
There are currently 24 full and part-time employees and more than 230 dedicated volunteers who donate 10,000 hours annually. The bylaws mandate a Board of Directors consisting of 9 to 15 members, a majority of whom are aged 60 or older.
The Council on Aging is a 501 ( c )( 3 ) organization. Clients, sponsors and donors participating in events throughout the year are the backbone of our annual funding. Without their support, many of our clients would remain, indefinitely, on waiting lists for services. Funding is provided primarily through:
- Chatham County
- Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) and other Older American Act programs administered by the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services
- Volunteers’ In-kind Contributions
- N.C. Department of Transportation and the Elderly and Disabled Transportation Assistance Program
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Private Grants and Bequests; Individual and Group Donations
- Client Contributions for Meals, Transportation, Activities and Programs
- United Way