The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM) today announced it has been awarded a grant of nearly $200,000 from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to support “Prescription for Health” (PFH). This focus of this new health and wellness program is to improve food choices, diet and nutrition of the communities served by bridging the gap between medical advice and financial accessibility to fresh produce.
The Community Foundation brought this opportunity to the attention of Alcona Health Center, Thunder Bay Community Health Center and District Health Departments 2, 4 and 10 in late September. All agencies were eager to partner, enabling the Foundation to prepare and submit the grant in October. The resulting grant award will serve Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogema, Oscoda and Presque Isle Counties. PFH will begin in January 2016 with grant funding covering a two-year period.
“The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan proactively seeks out opportunities to bring much needed funding resources to northeast Michigan. In this case, we were fortunate to have an excellent and willing set of nonprofit healthcare partners willing to jump on board quickly and bring their innovative ideas and expertise to the table. We are very pleased we could submit a competitive grant application within such a tight timeframe,” said Barbara Frantz, CFNEM Executive Director.
More than 30 community foundations across the state applied for funding through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund’s fall 2015 grant application process. Grant requests focused on areas such as prenatal care and infant mortality, health services to support adopted and fostered children, healthy food access, wellness and fitness programs, access to mental health services, technology enhancements, health related transportation needs, access to care/integrated care, and teen pregnancy prevention.
“The Michigan Health Endowment Fund board is proud to support a variety of successful programs already positively impacting the health of Michigan’s children and seniors as a result of our first grant funding effort,” said Rob Fowler, board chairman. “We look forward to building additional relationships with Michigan’s community foundations and other non-profit organizations as they continue their focused work to improve the health of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents.”
Community foundations were eligible to apply for grants in support of programs to improve the health of minor children and seniors in their regions. Those foundations awarded grants, in turn, now have the ability to offer their community nonprofits funding to focus on the delivery of services and outcomes while the Foundation continues to serve as the overall grant administrator.
“We are excited to collaborate this year with community foundations on projects that seek to enhance the well-being of Michigan’s children and seniors in their local communities,” said Paul Hillegonds, executive director of Michigan Health Endowment Fund.
Speaking on behalf of District Health Department No. 4, Medical Director Josh Meyerson, MD, MPH, said that the Health Department is excited to join efforts in helping create a cultural shift away from heavily processed, less nutritious foods. “Prescriptions for Health is all about making it easier and more affordable for residents in northeast Michigan to make healthier food choices.”
Christine Baumgardner, CEO of Alcona Health Center, which will serve as the overall coordinator for tracking the delivery of services and outcomes, said that Denise Thompson, a certified dietician, will coordinate the educational components of the program, “ensuring that it includes diet and nutrition information, as well as how to select, prepare and store fresh food.”
Alcona Health Center and Thunder Bay Community Health Center will refer patients to the Prescriptions for Health program. The District Health Departments will provide health educators for special events and enrollment sessions. Participating local retailers include IGAs, Neiman’s Family Markets, Glens of Cheboygan and Presque Isle, Kris Mart of Lincoln, as well as each county’s farmer’s markets as sites for patients to get fresh fruits and vegetables on a seasonal basis.
The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan is a charitable organization committed to providing people who care about the future of our region with unique and effective ways of supporting their community now, and for generations to come. It serves as a community resource for creating and administering charitable funds and endowments, scholarships, grants and partnerships that serve the unique needs of each community. To learn more, visit www.cfnem.org or call 1-877-354-6881.
The mission of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund is to improve the health of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care, with special emphasis on the health and wellness of children and seniors. The fund was created as part of 2013 state legislation that allowed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to become a nonprofit mutual health insurer. Nearly $38 million in grants were awarded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund last year. Additional information can be found at the Michigan Health Endowment Fund website at mhealthfund.com.