Big blessings from Obici Foundation

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2016


We’ve written many times on this page about the wonderful legacy left by Amedeo Obici, an Italian immigrant to the United States who eventually found a home here in Suffolk.

Obici loved this place so much that, upon his death, he directed nearly his entire considerable estate, grown through the formation and stewardship of Planters Peanuts, to be used for construction of a hospital in Suffolk. That facility, Louise Obici Memorial Hospital, provided excellent care for people in and around Suffolk for many years, and when it was bought by Sentara the funds helped provide the seed money for a health care foundation that continues to grow Obici’s legacy even today.

The Obici Healthcare Foundation awarded its 19th round of grants recently to a variety of organizations working to improve the health of people in Western Tidewater. The $2.3 million awarded in this round of grants was split between 29 nonprofit organizations, which received total funds ranging from $10,000 to $357,859. This round of funding increases the total awarded by the foundation to $38 million.

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“Grants made by the Foundation continue Amedeo Obici’s legacy of improving the health status of people living in the service area,” said Angelica Light, foundation interim executive director. “Mr. Obici, the founder of Planters Peanuts, was successful in business and passionate about helping the people in Western Tidewater and Gates County, N.C.”

There were grants that will allow organizations to begin or expand programs to fight diabetes, a disease that’s especially prevalent in Western Tidewater. There were grants to provide or expand psychiatric services to those who might otherwise wind up in dangerous encounters with the police. There were grants to help build trails and provide exercise and playground equipment to help area residents, young and old, get fit. There were grants to help provide meals to those who cannot get out of their homes to provide for themselves. There were grants to help provide dental care to those who cannot afford to get it. And there were many others.

We like to think Mr. Obici would be proud to know that his legacy lives and how well the money he left has been invested and spent. Western Tidewater is surely blessed to have such a fine resource in the Obici Healthcare Foundation.