Achieving Today. Sustaining for the Future.
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The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Grants Made in 2017

Grants Made in 2017$1,632,326
A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way - Implementation, Year 5$305,000
Partnership for Refugee Wellness - Implementation$40,000
ReImagine North of Main - Implementation, Year 2$394,734
Worcester HEARS - Implementation, Year 2$392,517
Worcester Regional Food Hub - Implementation, Year 1$500,075
Title:A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way - Implementation, Year 5Amount:$305,000
Recipient:Worcester Housing Authority
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way
This is the fifth year of implementation for A Better Life (ABL). This Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) program aims to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and reliance on public housing by providing comprehensive wrap-around services that promote self-sufficiency. ABL currently serves 247 participants and their families. The grant will support 4 family life coaches and an employment specialist in order to ensure continuity in ABL until the passage of legislation allowing the implementation of ABL in the WHA’s federal housing units. This legislation would represent a significant accomplishment in federal-level systems change for ABL. At the state level, systems level change is expected to happen through statewide implementation of ABL. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development has budgeted $500,000 to support the first-year of statewide implementation of ABL beginning July 1, 2017.

Outcomes through November 1, 2016 indicate that ABL is effectively helping residents move to self-sufficiency. In the past 18 months, WHA has placed 98 individuals in full employment, with a retention rate of 76% for the first year of employment. 43% were unemployed, compared to almost 65% at time of enrollment. Since enrollment, overall work hours increased by 73%, overall income increased by 85%, total amount saved in escrow and personal savings increased 10-fold, and 32% were enrolled in an educational program compared to 11% at time of enrollment.

Project Director: Mr. Alex Corrales
Fiscal Agent: The Worcester Housing Authority
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Title:Partnership for Refugee Wellness - ImplementationAmount:$40,000
Recipient:Ascentria Care Alliance
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Partnership for Refugee Wellness
This implementation grant for the Partnership for Refugee Wellness (PRW) will allow Ascentria to deliver flexible and integrated case management services to refugees in Worcester through community health centers. The November 4, 2016 approval of MassHealth Section 1115 waiver offers an opportunity for community-based organizations to partner with Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to help manage the total costs of care by addressing social determinants of health.

Previously, the PRW aimed to develop a new model for refugee integration that could, through the demonstration of significant program impacts, create systems change by reforming the federal model for refugee resettlement. The unfavorable political climate towards refugees and the infeasible sample size required to demonstrate significant program impact have rendered this approach insufficient, however. The MassHealth Section 1115 waiver has emerged as an auspicious alternative. With this grant, Ascentria will solidify its relationships with the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center and the Family Health Center of Worcester, both of which will participate in the ACOs.

Project Director: Mr. Tim Johnstone
Fiscal Agent: Ascentria Care Alliance
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Title:ReImagine North of Main - Implementation, Year 2Amount:$394,734
Recipient:Montachusett Opportunity Council
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - ReImagine North of Main
The ReImagine North of Main project is moving into its second year of implementation in transforming the North of Main of Fitchburg into a vibrant community where people want to live, work, play and invest. The overall theme is to brand the neighborhood as the “Gateway to Arts and Culture.” To support this, the project is focusing on two key domains – economic and neighborhood development. The other domains of Housing, Quality of Life and Resident Engagement will be incorporated into these two primary domains. For example, Housing is included in the Neighborhood Development efforts through the development of the B.F. Brown property into live-work artist housing.

The other two domains – Education and Resident Self-Sufficiency – is led by other partners, with the ReImagine team serving as a supportive partner. The Fitchburg Public Schools is taking on the Education efforts, and the Fitchburg Community Connections Coalition is taking the lead on Self-Sufficiency as part of their ongoing work with the Department of Children and Families.

MOC is partnering with the City of Fitchburg, Fitchburg State University, the Fitchburg Public Schools, the Fitchburg Art Museum and NewVue Communities on this project. This project is also receiving funding from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Project Director: Ms. Patricia A. Pistone
Fiscal Agent: Montachusett Opportunity Council
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Title:Worcester HEARS - Implementation, Year 2Amount:$392,517
Recipient:Worcester Public Schools
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Worcester HEARS
Worcester HEARS is helping educators create school environments that support children's health, social and emotional development, and academic success. It brings together advances in brain science, child development, and best practices in addressing childhood adversity in our complex society. Worcester HEARS has launched in five schools in Worcester: Rice Square Elementary, Grafton Street Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, City View Elementary and Worcester East Middle School. The lead partners of the project are the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) and the Worcester Education Collaborative.

As part of Worcester HEARS, the unused school-based health center at Worcester East Middle School is being renovated, with an opening targeted for Spring 2017. A Support Team comprised of a licensed clinician and social worker began the 2016-2017 school year serving children in the five schools, rotating to a different school each day. Community Healthlink is providing mobile crisis intervention services, and WPS is also in the process of partnering with other local behavioral health providers to expand services to students and their families.

In 2016, Worcester HEARS received a $75,000 grant over three years from The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation to implement the MindUP program, which provides children, educators and parents with vital social and emotional literacy skills, helping them increase focus, improve academic performance, reduce stress and gain emotional resilience and optimism in four elementary schools.

Project Director: Dr. Marco C. Rodrigues
Fiscal Agent: Worcester Public Schools
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Title:Worcester Regional Food Hub - Implementation, Year 1Amount:$500,075
Recipient:Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Worcester Regional Food Hub
The Worcester Regional Food Hub is designed to improve the regional food system by strengthening sustainable agriculture, promoting healthy eating, and fueling economic development.

The Food Hub Pilot consisted of three main program areas: a commercial kitchen incubator program; aggregation, marketing and distribution services for local farms and producers; and a workforce development culinary training program. In 2017, the Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce will concentrate on expanding the activities of the culinary kitchen and aggregation efforts. They will support the transitioning of the culinary training program to the Working Cities Worcester Initiative led by the Worcester Community Action Council.

The incubator kitchen is up and running and was used by nine tenants in 2016, with several new tenants in the pipeline for 2017. The Worcester Public Schools have been one of the best customers for the Food Hub as they continue their efforts to purchase more local produce. In 2017, the Food Hub plans to expand the number of farmers that provide product for larger institutional buyers, as well as to increase the number of institutional buyers that purchase local produce.

Co-Project Director: Mr. Steven D. Fischer, Regional Environmental Council 
Co-Project Director: Mr. Timothy P. Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Fiscal Agent: Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
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