Health Foundation Awards Nearly $1 Million in Grants in the Second Quarter of 2021

Funded projects include early childhood programs; expanded services for older adults living at home; and an innovative approach to highlighting caregiver issues

Between March 10 and June 16, 2021, the Health Foundation awarded grants totaling $999,005 to organizations across western and central New York for projects that are enhancing the health of their communities. These grants are listed here in alphabetical order:

ABC Cayuga – Play Space Expanded Services ($50,000)

ABC Cayuga is the home of the Play Space, a dedicated safe environment that is focused on play, early childhood learning and healthy development. Since 2017, the Play Space has served over 40,000 children and families. To help meet the need for services that were eliminated in Cayuga County due to COVID-19-related funding cuts, ABC Cayuga will expand its support for families with children ages zero to five by transitioning to a hub that connects parents to critically important early childhood resources. 

This funding will allow the ABC Cayuga Play Space to add a dedicated Family Liaison who will work strengthening relationships among service providers, identifying new partnerships and providing more direct resource referrals for families in need. These resources may include early intervention services, breastfeeding support, and other opportunities for both parents and children to find social support and interaction.

CALL to Action: Health Literacy – Visiting Nurse Service ($10,000)

These funds cover the costs of stipends for two additional organizations to participate in the CALL to Action: Health Literacy training program. This program uses a “train the trainer” model to help participating health care providers identify and support champions to work within their organizations and their surrounding communities to advance practices that promote health literacy. Thanks to these funds, a total of 12 organizations will participate. 

Cayuga Community Health Network – Rural Doula Coordination Planning ($8,000)

These funds will support three rural health networks working together to identify and apply learnings from other doula programs, including those previously funded by the Health Foundation, with the goal of determining the best approach for developing a rural doula collaborative program. Cayuga Community Health Network will lead this initiative in collaboration with Seven Valleys Health Coalition and Madison County Rural Health Council, Inc. 

PEDALS in CNY: Transition to Hub ($766,285)

The Health Foundation developed the Positive Emotional Development and Learning Skills (PEDALS) program in 2012 with the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, and partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation helped expand PEDALS in western New York and into southeast Michigan. A 2019 study of the early childhood landscape in central New York led by the Early Childhood Alliance of Onondaga and Child Care Solutions included recommendations to bring PEDALS to CNY classrooms. To date, PEDALS has been offered in over 500 classrooms serving three and four year olds across multiple states including 62 classrooms in Onondaga County. 

Over the next two school years, the Health Foundation will work to establish a regional hub for the program in central New York, and will implement PEDALS in 64 classrooms in Onondaga County. Technical assistance will be provided by Community Connections of New York. This implementation will also include formalized partnerships and coordinated services with Help Me Grow, the Early Childhood Alliance and other early childhood providers, and the identification of other potential funders for future expansion.

Education Development Center – Elder Mistreatment Community Stakeholder Convening ($10,000)

These funds will support the Education Development Center’s convening of local stakeholders in Niagara County working on elder mistreatment to extend the learnings of the National Collaboratory on Elder Mistreatment, and to enhance collaboration between local hospitals and community organizations. The Collaboratory supports the implementation of a national model that aims to ensure that older people seen in emergency rooms are assessed for potential mistreatment and receive appropriate treatment and referral.

Genesee Valley Central School – Remote Area Medical Clinic ($10,000)

These funds will enable Genesee Valley Central Schools to organize and run a Remote Area Medical Clinic (RAM) on October 9-10, 2021. RAM’s free clinics deliver quality services to underserved and uninsured individuals who do not have access to or cannot afford a doctor. RAM is committed to providing all their services and support at no charge to patients.

Health Workforce Collaborative ($75,000)

Well before the Covid-19 pandemic, New York State was struggling with health workforce shortages, and that worsened in 2020. The Health Workforce Collaborative believes that without a community-focused infrastructure of health care worker development and support, the trend we are currently experiencing of not being able to care for those in need, especially our most vulnerable populations, will rapidly worsen.

The Health Foundation’s support will be used to help the Collaborative continue building this statewide infrastructure and further develop a resource called the Health Workforce Digital Platform, which brings together the key health workforce stakeholders. The Digital Platform offers valuable health workforce development information, tools, and resources such as a career center, a training center, a networking center, and a marketplace where a host of programs, products, and services are posted for review and engagement by healthcare employers. The essential workforce data collected through the project’s efforts will serve to guide coordinated workforce planning and facilitate joint advocacy. The Collaborative will do extensive outreach and incorporate existing workforce efforts in western and central New York counties.

Love Living at Home – Health and Wellness Initiative ($19,115)

Love Living at Home utilizes the Village concept as a means of creating a virtual retirement neighborhood of older adults who want to support one another as they age. This model provides a mixture of social opportunities, volunteer opportunities and services, and coordinated access to community resources. 

This funding will support Love Living at Home’s Health & Wellness initiative, including developing a formalized model to meet an array of needs for their members and fill some of the service gaps in Tompkins County’s otherwise extensive system of care. These key services will include weekend and evening transportation; escort services upon participants’ release from the hospital; accompaniment for older adults to medical appointments to assist with notes; bill paying; checkbook balancing; and other identified needs.

Solutions Journalism Network – Finding Solutions: Connecting with Elusive Caregivers ($18,125)

Solutions journalism is an innovative approach to covering social issues that examines how people are responding to problems in an effort to find potential solutions. The Solutions Journalism Network will build on their existing work through the first interstate collaborative of journalists focused on caregiving in the western New York and southeast Michigan regions. The Finding Solutions: Connecting with Elusive Caregivers project, funded in partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, combines standard platforms of the media collaborative with experimentation in other forms of outreach and data analysis/visualization. 

The first project of this kind run by a local media collaborative, the ultimate goal of the project will be transforming the way journalists engage with and cover caregiver-related issues as a means of offering stronger community-centric information and storytelling rooted in the caregivers’ personal accounts of the issues. The overall outcome will be to build a data and information hub that presents an accurate picture of today’s caregivers of older adults and brings more attention and greatly needed assistance on the challenges they face.

New York State Association for Rural Health – Public Health Partnership Conference ($1,500) 

This sponsorship supported a mindful meditation presentation for participants in the April 2021 Public Health Partnership Conference. The session led participants through three forms of meditation: Focus, Awareness, and Guided. The Public Health Partnership Conference enables public health professionals from all settings in New York State to engage in learning opportunities designed to enhance personal and professional growth as well as to benefit the communities they serve.

State University of New York at Oswego – Recollection: Storytelling through Mementos 3.0 ($20,980)

Entering into its third iteration, SUNY Oswego’s Recollection: Storytelling through Mementos (RSTM) is a collaborative project that brings university students and older adults together through storytelling with objects during facilitated sessions. Design students document these stories and objects in an interactive exhibition for others to experience. 

From now through 2022, this iteration of the project will expand the experience for both students and older adults via the completion and publishing of a DIY Toolkit for individuals and caregivers unable to participate in onsite experiences. Five sites will host in-person sessions and exhibitions, with the majority being at community-based organizations serving older adults in Oswego County. The project will also develop a “train the trainer” program to allow both organizations and individuals the ability to replicate and facilitate iterations of the program with little assistance from the RSTM team.

Universal Primary Care – Strategic Planning ($10,000) 

These funds will be used to enable Universal Primary Care to secure a consultant to facilitate strategic planning and needs assessment. Universal Primary Care is the only federally qualified health center serving Cattaraugus, Allegany and McKean counties.