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Thumb Area Community Foundations Receive $294,000 Grant

Posted on January 6, 2016

Four local community foundations today announced they have been awarded a grant of $294,000 from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to support initiatives aimed at improving the quality of health for youth in the region. The Huron County Community Foundation applied for the grant as the representative for the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Sanilac County Community Foundation, and Four County Community Foundation.

The $294,000 grant will be divided amongst the four community foundations to ensure a large impact on the health and wellness of the region. “The main goal of the grant is to help youth lead a healthier lifestyle through access to healthy foods, fitness programs and wellness programs that include nutrition education and teaching our youth how to prepare healthy food” according to the application submitted by the region. 

“As we have been going through the process of updating our strategic priorities at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, we are seeing an emerging need to support the basic needs of students throughout the year, all year, in order to help them live a healthier lifestyle,” said Community Foundation of St. Clair County board chair, Donna Niester.  “With our continued focus on career pathways, this opportunity is filling a gap that will ultimately give more kids an opportunity to succeed in school and in life.”

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 very 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 receiving funding, in turn, now have the ability to offer their affiliate foundations or smaller community organizations the opportunity to seek grants that support similar programs.

“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.

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.

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