Health Foundation Awards Nearly $2 Million to Programs and Projects Across Western and Central New York in the Second Quarter of 2022

Funded projects include urgent community needs following May 14 shooting; doula coordination; and infant and child safety in the Southern Tier.

In the second quarter of 2022, the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York awarded grants totaling $1,927,023 to support projects that are advancing health equity and enhancing the health of their communities. These programs include:

BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund ($250,000)

The BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund was established to broaden the educational opportunities of low-income families through scholarship provision to local private schools throughout the eight counties of western New York. BISON scholarship recipients have consistently displayed outstanding school attendance, exhibiting significant improvement in Math and English. Through its support for the Bison Fund, the Health Foundation builds on its investment in preparing young children for success in kindergarten by assisting low-income families who want an alternative to public schools, with funding providing scholarships for 37 new kindergarten students per year for the next five years as they journey through academic and post-secondary success.

Blackwell Chapel – Jamestown Baby Café ($10,000)

The Jamestown Baby Café is dedicated to supporting pregnant people, new parents, infants, and children to achieve better health outcomes. The Baby Café is a friendly environment where people can access free lactation care, training, mentoring and weekly support groups, creating a nurturing community that supports women and infants in addressing physical, emotional and social wellbeing.

Common Ground Health – My Health Story 2.0 ($50,000)

Common Ground Health will be launching its second iteration of the My Health Story survey this summer. My Health Story is a large, regional survey that creates linkages between social determinants of health and health outcomes among residents of the Finger Lakes region. The survey measures overall health and well-being, primary health concerns, health care access and usage, chronic conditions, and several other factors related to health outcomes.

The development of this survey has been a collaborative process seeking involvement and feedback from many organizations and stakeholders from diverse racial, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds. Additionally, Common Ground Health is partnering with the Monroe County Language Access Coalition to ensure they hear from residents with limited English proficiency (LEP), and the deaf and hard of hearing.

Buffalo Together Community Response Fund ($50,000)

In response to the May 14 mass shooting, the Buffalo Together collaborative effort supports Black-led organizations on the frontlines of addressing immediate needs in our community, ensuring availability of mental health services, long-term community rebuilding, and systemic issues that have marginalized communities of color.

Endeavor Health Services – Mental Health Emergency Response ($50,000)

This funding supported Endeavor Health Services’ programmatic, operating, and administrative costs as they met mental health needs in the city of Buffalo following the mass shooting that took place on May 14, 2022.

Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center – Doula Coordination and Services Program ($602,000)

With a three-year grant from the Health Foundation, the Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (AHEC) will enhance its work to improve maternal health outcomes by connecting Medicaid eligible pregnant and birthing people with trained doulas and community health workers in Erie and Niagara counties. Erie Niagara AHEC will provide expanded support for the doulas and the families they work with, while continuing in the role of coordinator for the Erie County Doula Task Force. The Task Force meets regularly to discuss maternal health concerns and relevant advocacy issues.

An important and exciting feature of this program is the addition of a Community Health Worker that will work with the new parent and child up to the child’s first birthday, providing information about maternal and child health and developmental milestones.

Partner agencies for the project include Calming Nature Doula Services; Melinated Moms; and Our Mommie Village.

Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center – Doula Task Force ($7,000)

The Doula Task Force was created to enhance the work being done through the New York State Medicaid Doula Pilot Project in Erie County. The Doula Task Force provides an opportunity for doulas and others working on maternal health issues to come together for networking, information exchange and training. Advocacy on issues related to doula services is also supported.

Grantmakers in Aging – Changing the Care Conversation Project ($25,000)

Grantmakers in Aging is partnering with Community Catalyst and the LeadingAge LTSS Center at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, to lead a national, action-oriented campaign for improved, tangible government support of low- and moderate-income family caregivers of older adults and people with disabilities through capacity-building grants and programming for 10 state-based caregiving coalitions, including New York.

Holy Cross Head Start – Cavity Free Kids ($3,000)

These funds support the continuation of Cavity Free Kids, oral health education for young children – from birth through age 5 – and their families. Cavity Free Kids is designed for use in Head Start and Early Head Start, childcare, preschool, home visiting, and other programs.

Institute for Nonprofit Practice ($50,000)

The Health Foundation will partner with other Western New York foundations to bring Institute for Nonprofit Practice leadership development opportunities to the western New York community through 2022 and 2023. The Institute for Nonprofit Practice works to transform communities by equipping the most promising social impact leaders – nonprofit, public sector, and social enterprise – with the skills, networks, confidence, and resources they need to effectively lead, advance justice, and make their organizations more effective, innovative, and sustainable.

National Compassion Fund – Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund ($25,000)

In partnership with Tops Friendly Markets, the National Compassion Fund has established the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund to provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of the deceased and those directly affected by the mass shooting that took place at the Jefferson Avenue Tops on May 14, 2022. One hundred percent of the contributions donated to this fund will go directly to victims and survivors of the shooting.

New York Academy of Medicine – Age-Friendly: Go Local! ($441,783)

Age-Friendly: Go Local is a new initiative of the Health Foundation that will empower neighborhood-level groups and organizations to get involved in building equitable, livable, and age-friendly communities. Beginning in the summer of 2022, the Health Foundation will partner with the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) to develop a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will support up to 25 community-based organizations in implementing grassroots age-friendly projects, with the goal of improving quality of life for older adults and all people in those communities. NYAM will serve as the project managers, providing subject matter expertise and technical assistance to grantees, and host three virtual convenings for the grantees.

New York Academy of Medicine – Health and Age Across All Policies Evaluation ($22,500)

In partnership with the Health Foundation and the New York State Office for the Aging, the New York Academy of Medicine will conduct a mixed-methods evaluation of the Health and Aging Across All Policies (HAAP) project. The evaluation will seek to identify parts of the HAAP initiative that were the drivers of success, including, but not limited to: evaluating the implementation of the initiative; the tiered program structure; and the technical assistance. The evaluation will also assess how previous livability and age-friendly work in New York State laid the foundation for this initiative.

Fellows Action Network Support ($212,740)

The Fellows Action Network (FAN) was formed by graduates of the first Health Leadership Fellows classes, providing a forum of for community health leaders to work collaboratively across western and central New York on critical health issues. With this funding from the Health Foundation, the Fellows Action Network will introduce new approaches to engage Fellows. Goals for the program include making resources directly available to Fellows interested in organizing events and projects in their communities; leveraging the Fellows to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizations; and making the Fellows Action Network a welcoming and nurturing place for professionals of color.

A weekly newsletter and maintenance of a website, implemented by the Population Health Collaborative, will maintain communication across the Network. Networking opportunities for learning, collaboration, and mutual support will remain, and a new micro-grant fund will give Fellows access to grants up to $5,000 to support dialogue and action.

Solutions Journalism Network – Connecting with Elusive Caregivers, Year 2 ($24,000)

This funding supports year two of a project led by Solutions Journalism Network for the first interstate collaborative of journalists focused on caregiving in the western New York and southeast Michigan regions. The project “Connecting with Elusive Caregivers,” funded in partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, combined standard platforms of the media collaborative with experimentation in other forms of outreach and data analysis/visualization.

Southern Tier Health Care System – Safe Kids Southern Tier Coalition ($100,000)

Southern Tier Health Care System (STHCs) leads the Safe Kids Southern Tier Coalition to implement evidence-based child safety programs in Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua counties. The programs include car-seat safety, safe sleep education, and water safety to help parents and caregivers prevent childhood injuries. With this funding, STHCs will continue to fund the project coordinator’s role in the Safe Kids Coalition. The coordinator has developed strong relationships with coalition and community members, and has helped to create many programs, such as Safe Summer Bike Helmet Program, Child Passenger Safety, and Cribs for Kids Safe Sleep Training.

WNY Public Health Alliance Trauma Symposium ($4,000)

These funds supported two guest speakers at the Western New York Public Health Alliance Trauma Symposium on June 15: Yodit Betru, Professor at the School of Social Work at University of Pittsburgh, who addressed trauma in marginalized populations and Darryl Tonemah, PhD, a psychologist who spoke on the impact of trauma on brain health and health behaviors. The symposium, entitled “Trauma and the Brain: The Impact of Trauma on Health Behaviors,” also featured presentations from trauma experts Vicki Grant, Sheriff Jim Quattrone, Brent Schlafer, and Melanie Churakos.