Around Town 31


Hippotherapy Becomes More Accessible Thanks to $7,500 Grant From Mecklenburg Medical Alliance and Endowment

Mount Holly & Charlotte, NC – Shining Hope Farms (SHF) is excited to announce that they have received a $7,500 grant from the Mecklenburg Medical Alliance and Endowment (MMAE) to purchase a lift system which will help patients transition safely on and off horses for their Hippotherapy Program.

Recently MMAE awarded $69,000 in grants to 11 area health and community organizations, whose work supports MMAE’s mission of building a healthier Mecklenburg community, with SHF being among them.

Shining Hope Farms’ Hippotherapy Program is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy. It utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention to achieve functional outcomes in order to improve quality of life for patients and their families. It is the only one of its kind in the Charlotte Metro area.

The addition of the lift system will make the program more accessible to certain patients who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to transition safely on and off the horse with just human assistance due to size or certain mobility issues.

“The lift is something we have needed for a long time, but has been financially out of reach for our nonprofit,” states Milinda Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of SHF. “This grant is an incredible blessing to our farm and community members.”

The organization serves 179 children and adults weekly and receives calls daily from prospective patients. “There is a tremendous need in our community for these life-changing services, which is why we want to make it as accessible as we can,” adds Kirkpatrick.

About Shining Hope Farms

Shining Hope Farms is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to enable children and adults with disabilities to achieve functional goals through the use of equine assisted activities and Hippotherapy. Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention to achieve functional outcomes. They are a Premier Accredited Center of PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International) as well as the American Hippotherapy Association, and currently operate sites in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties with 22 horses and ponies, 28 staff members consisting of occupational and physical therapists, speech language pathologists, and PATH Intl. certified riding instructors, as well as many wonderful volunteers, which help to make a well-rounded program. Shining Hope Farms is also a GuideStar Exchange Gold participant, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability among nonprofits. For more information, visit

South Charlotte Lifestyle Partners with uBack to Make Local Charities More Accessible to Readers

Charlotte’s charity scene is getting a boost from mobile technology, thanks to uBack. The free mobile app (iOS, Android) launched last year and has gained momentum with area charities due to the ability for donors to donate within seconds. It was founded in part by a team of Charlotte-based volunteers who found themselves increasingly frustrated with finding local nonprofits to support and cumbersome donation processes, either as part of their company employee giving campaigns or their own efforts to support area causes.

“We are doing more and more on our phones, especially when it comes to financial transactions,” said Melissa Bodford, one of uBack’s founders. “I can buy paper towels with a screen tap, but I can’t help send a kid to camp with the same behavior.” There is no cost for nonprofits to be featured on the app. The app is also free for donors. After download, donors have the ability to discover and donate to any charity in seconds, with receipts/tax letters from the receiving charity stored in the donor’s profile, streamlining one’s giving behavior.

Donations can be linked to a donor’s social network (FB, Twitter), and nonprofits can stay in touch with donors via push notifications. There are currently 400+ charities on the app, many are Charlotte based – yet due to demand, Charlotte donors will soon have the ability to donate to more than 1M nonprofits nationwide later this fall.

That’s why South Charlotte Lifestyle is partnering with uBack for our “Around Town” feature. Our magazine is driven by our mantra, “Inspired by the Community.” We hope you, our readers, will be inspired by this partnership and support critical causes in our community. As you may be aware, each month, we highlight a different charity working to better our community and now, through uBack, readers can donate to the charities we highlight within seconds and be entered to win prizes.

This month, download uBack and support North Carolina’s chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America as they work to provide critical services to the 45,000 people who fight this chronic, autoimmune disease in our state alone.

Why should our readers care about Lupus? Lupus is one of the cruelest, most mysterious diseases on earth—striking without warning, with unpredictable, sometimes fatal effects, lasting a lifetime, with no known cause or cure. Thanks to readers like you, you can bring new money to the fight, so that research and resources can be deployed to our community to make progress to solve the cruel mystery of Lupus and end its devastating impact.

Be sure to check our column every month for a new charity feature and be “Inspired by the Community”. If you know of an organization who could benefit from uBack, email