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The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Grants Made in 2011

The Foundation’s 2011 grantmaking included the awarding of three Health Care and Health Promotion Synergy Initiative Year 3 Implementation Grants totaling $557,648. These are to continue implementation of projects that received planning grants in 2007 and were piloted in 2008. These projects are beginning to conclude their work and have shifted their focus to sustaining their work beyond the funding from the Foundation.

Synergy Initiative Implementation Grants – Round 2:

• Choices – A Program for Youth at Risk in Webster/Dudley
• Hunger-Free & Healthy
• The Winchendon Project

In 2010, the Foundation issued a call for new Health Care and Health Promotion Synergy Initiative projects and the Board funded 2011 planning grants for four new projects.

Synergy Initiative Planning Grants – Round 3:

• A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way
• Greater Worcester Prisoner Reentry Initiative
• Improve Access to Care
• The Compass Project
Grants Made in 2011$1,721,171
 
A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way - Planning Grant $155,950
Choices: A Program for Youth at Risk in Webster/Dudley - Implementation, Year 3$50,000
Dismas House Reentry Initiative - Planning Grant $138,413
Expand Audiology Services$73,460
Family Options Manual and Toolkit$104,200
Healthcare Career Ladder Expansion$48,000
Hunger-Free & Healthy - Implementation, Year 3 $259,894
Improve Access to Care - Planning Grant $124,500
Mosaic Cultural Complex Capacity Building$50,000
Pharmacy Program Development$99,000
The Compass Project - Planning Grant $120,000
The Winchendon Project - Phase IV $247,754
YouthFIT Program$50,000
 
Title:A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way - Planning Grant Amount:$155,950
Recipient:The Worcester Housing Authority
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way
Public housing was originally intended to provide temporary housing to help unemployed workers through a transition period. However, over the years tenancy durations have become increasingly more permanent and have continued from one generation to the next. This planning grant will focus on developing a model to serve those families living at Great Brook Valley Gardens or Curtis Apartments. It is anticipated that the participants would develop a personal improvement plan, including either full-time enrollment in school or work. Participants would receive mobile housing vouchers to move into the private rental market. Participation will be voluntary; no one will be required to participate. Research indicates that poverty and environmental conditions are serious risk factors for poor health. This planning grant will enable the WHA to research what other housing authorities have done to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and reliance on public housing and to develop a model to pilot a similar change in Worcester.

The WHA will be working with a group of community partners who have agreed to oversee and advise the planning effort by serving on an Advisory Board or Steering Committee.

Project Director: Mr. Raymond Mariano
Fiscal Agent: The Worcester Housing Authority
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Title:Choices: A Program for Youth at Risk in Webster/Dudley - Implementation, Year 3Amount:$50,000
Recipient:Boys & Girls Club of Webster-Dudley
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Choices: A Program for Youth at Risk in Webster/Dudley
This will be the final year of funding for Choices. The Boys and Girls Club of Webster-Dudley is continuing to direct at-risk youth ages 12 - 15, toward positive alternatives by offering programming on a variety of issues to help youth make better choices. Counselors from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) are on site regularly and offer a weekly program dealing with self-esteem and self-confidence. Choices is using MSPCC's Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) to measure functioning in various areas such as school, home, behavior and mood, and has seen improvements in those youth who regularly participate in Choices programming. Their advocacy agenda includes continued support for the Children's Mental Health Campaign, including efforts to require coverage for coordinated care and working to ensure that the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative is implemented effectively.

Project Director: Mr. Tony Poti
Fiscal Agent: The Boys & Girls Club of Webster-Dudley
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Title:Dismas House Reentry Initiative - Planning Grant Amount:$138,413
Recipient:Dismas House of Massachusetts
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry
There is currently no government entity at either the state or federal level that is charged with addressing issues of prisoner reentry. Dismas House will use this planning grant to gather information about successful prisoner reentry initiatives, develop a new model for prisoner reentry and create a network to facilitate the introduction of a new model in Worcester. Prisoner reentry is a complex issue. Many of those returning to the community have a history of substance abuse, along with other physical and mental health needs. These factors place them at risk for homelessness, unemployment, relapse and recidivism. This grant will begin to explore ways to improve the likelihood that prisoners will be able to successfully reenter the community.

Project Director: Mr. Dave McMahon
Fiscal Agent: Dismas House of Massachusetts, Inc.
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Title:Expand Audiology ServicesAmount:$73,460
Recipient:Worcester State Foundation
Grant Type: Activation Fund
Worcester State University is planning to expand the audiology services currently offered through its Speech-Language-Hearing Center (part of their Communication Sciences & Disorders Department). The Center serves approximately 175 clients annually who receive disorder specific services from the speech-language pathology graduate students. Fees for these services are based on the client's ability to pay but no one is turned away because they cannot pay for services. Access to hearing aids or other assistive listening devices is frequently not covered by insurance. This grant will enable the Center to hire a part-time audiologist and purchase the necessary equipment to establish an affordable and sustainable hearing aid technology program serving Central Massachusetts. Hearing aid devices will be available at significantly reduced prices and sales are anticipated to generate enough revenue to ensure the sustainability of this program.

Project Director: Dr. Linda S. Larrivee
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Title:Family Options Manual and ToolkitAmount:$104,200
Recipient:Employment Options
Grant Type: Activation Fund
Employment Options (EO) is seeking to produce a theoretically-informed and empirically-based manual and companion toolkit to meet the needs of families in which the parents have mental illness. The manual will provide essential support for the replication of this intervention in multiple sites. The companion toolkit will be relevant to providers adapting existing interventions and approaches. Parental mental illness is very common. About 2/3 of women with serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI) living in the community have children and about 3/4 of the men with SPMI living in the community are fathers. The manual and toolkit will provide guidance and support to community organizations in developing their capacity to address the needs of parents with mental illness.

Project Director: Ms. Toni A. Wolf
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Title:Healthcare Career Ladder ExpansionAmount:$48,000
Recipient:Quinsigamond Community College Foundation
Grant Type: Activation Fund
Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) has been operating in Southbridge since 2009 and enrollment in the classes being offered there has exceeded their early projections. QCC is now planning to expand their healthcare career ladders programs. QCC will offer programming to train certified nurse assistants and home health aides. This grant would be used to hire instructors for these programs and equip the lab and classroom for the classes. QCC has agreements in place (with Radius and Holy Trinity) for the CNA students to do their practicum training.

Project Director: Dr. Jane June
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Title:Hunger-Free & Healthy - Implementation, Year 3 Amount:$259,894
Recipient:Worcester County Food Bank
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Hunger-Free & Healthy
Hunger-Free & Healthy (HFH) is focused on sustaining various elements of their work that have been successful in addressing food insecurity locally. HFH continues to work with Project Bread, the Worcester County Food Bank and the MA Department of Transitional Assistance to increase SNAP (food stamp) enrollment through the work of an outreach worker who visits various food pantries and other social service locations throughout the city. HFH also continues to work with the Worcester Public Schools to improve the nutritional quality of the meals offered in the schools. The Regional Environmental Council (REC) is working with HFH to operate two Farmers' Markets – in Main South and Great Brook Valley; to continue to oversee the Worcester Educational Garden and expand some of the existing school/community gardens; and REC has become the local partner with Cooking Matters (formerly Operation Frontline) in offering cooking/nutrition classes. HFH advocacy efforts played a role in the passage of both the School Nutrition Bill and a bill creating a statewide Food Policy Council in 2010. Effort will continue to focus on the implementation of the Food Policy Council as well as some local initiatives.
 
Project Co-Directors: Ms. Jean McMurray
Mr. Dennis Irish
Fiscal Agent: Worcester County Food Bank
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Title:Improve Access to Care - Planning Grant Amount:$124,500
Recipient:Milford Regional Medical Center
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Improving Access to Health
Milford Regional Medical Center (MRMC) is planning to convene organizations and agencies in its service area to develop a plan to improve access to care for vulnerable residents. A community health assessment done in 2010 identified a need to improve outreach to area residents who are not accessing basic healthcare services. The Emergency Department at MRMC was constructed to accommodate 45,000 visits per year. In recent years, the number of visits has been about 60,000. Patients seen in the ED often do not follow through on recommendations for treatment because of difficulties in finding a primary care physician or specialist. Thus, MRMC is interested in working with area providers and social service agencies in exploring the establishment of a community health center.

Project Director: Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak
Fiscal Agent:

Milford Regional Medical Center

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Title:Mosaic Cultural Complex Capacity BuildingAmount:$50,000
Recipient:Henry Lee Willis Community Center
Grant Type: Activation Fund
Mosaic Cultural Complex is a grassroots organization whose mission is to provide the highest quality of services to improve the quality of life for vulnerable populations through holistic services based on Christian principles, with a focus on men of color. Mosaic is seeking funding to help them develop a strategic plan to make more effective use of existing resources by better focusing their efforts. They have identified a local consulting firm to help them with this strategic planning process. Mosaic is also interested in implementing Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) as a means of assessing the effectiveness of the various programs they are running. The Henry Lee Willis Center will serve as the fiscal agent for this grant and assist Mosaic in their ETO implementation.

Project Director: Ms. Brenda Jenkins

Fiscal Agent: Henry Lee Willis Community Center
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Title:Pharmacy Program DevelopmentAmount:$99,000
Recipient:Community Health Connections
Grant Type: Activation Fund
Community Health Connections (CHC) is planning to develop a pharmacy at their Leominster Health Center site. The pharmacy would be similar to the one CHC is currently operating at their Fitchburg Community Health Center (a 340B pharmacy program which has been operating since 2005). CHC anticipates that the pharmacy in Leominster will fill more than 16,500 prescriptions annually once it is fully operational. The addition of pharmacy services in Leominster will reduce barriers to filling prescriptions and increase medication compliance among the patients.

Project Director: Ms. Sharon Cormier
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Title:The Compass Project - Planning Grant Amount:$120,000
Recipient:LUK, Inc.
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - The Compass Project
The Compass Project has as its ultimate goal the creation of a comprehensive and systemic approach to the problem of homelessness among transition age youth in Worcester. Recent local surveys have indicated that as many as 150 to 200 young people between the ages of 13 and 22 are homeless. During this planning grant year, LUK will work with the various agencies that serve transition age youth in Worcester to assess what is currently being done and to create a more effective model to address this problem.

Project Co-Directors: Dr. Gordon Benson
Dr. Laurie Ross
Fiscal Agent: LUK, Inc.
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Title:The Winchendon Project - Phase IV Amount:$247,754
Recipient:Winchendon Public Schools
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - The Winchendon Project
Phase IV of The Winchendon Project (TWP) will continue to build on the work done in each of the first three phases and focus on integrating this work into the Murdock Middle High School. In order to facilitate the sustainability of this work, The Winchendon Public Schools (WPS) has replaced the Montachusett Opportunity Council as the fiscal agent for this project. WPS is working to train school staff to continue various aspects of this work including offering psycho-educational group counseling sessions, offering the All-Stars curriculum (a program to delay the onset of or prevent substance use, violence and sexual activity in youths ages 11 to 14) in grades 7 and 8 and continuing the social norming campaign to address perceptions about substance use/abuse in the school.

The Winchendon Project will continue to be supportive of the Children's Mental Health Campaign, most specifically in their efforts to ensure payment for coordinated care which is especially important in behavioral health services for children.

Project Director: Mr. Steve Meyer
Fiscal Agent: Winchendon Public Schools
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Title:YouthFIT ProgramAmount:$50,000
Recipient:Clark Memorial YMCA
Grant Type: Activation Fund
The Clark YMCA in Winchendon has offered a wide range of community programs for almost 60 years. The YouthFIT program will incorporate a variety of physical fitness activities -- personal training, group instruction and interactive gaming -- for a group of about 50 children, ages 10-16, who have been identified as overweight or obese. These will be offered along with educational and nutritional workshops for the children and their families. Partners in this project include the Winchendon School District and the Winchendon Health Center.

Project Director: Mr. Michael O. Quinn
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