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Blue Ribbon Foundation Announces Grants for Access to Care, Healthy Families

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
July 17, 2014

Funding Will Help Nine Nonprofits Serve More than 2,000 Individuals

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Mammogram screenings for un/underinsured women, cardiovascular disease education for older adults, and an adaptive exercise program for adults with disabilities are among the areas of need being addressed by grants just awarded by The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Nine grants were approved at the July 15 meeting of The Foundation’s Board of Directors, providing $73,142 in funding to regional nonprofit programs that will serve more than 2,000 individuals.

The Foundation awarded the grants to health education and prevention programs in eight counties across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. Each project met criteria under one of three grant categories: Health and Wellness Mini-Grants, Health and Wellness Impact Grants and Access to Care Grants for the Un/Underinsured.

“We’re pleased to be in a position to support such an array of critical health and wellness programs,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation. “Without these grants, it’s likely that at-risk individuals may not otherwise have access to the services they need.”

Care for the un/underinsured

The Luzerne County Community College Dental Clinic will use a $7,000 Foundation grant to purchase supplies necessary to provide preventive dental services to 520 uninsured residents of Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming Counties.

Palmerton Hospital will provide free mammogram screenings to 95 un/underinsured women from Carbon, Luzerne, and Monroe Counties thanks to a $9,975 Foundation grant.  Participants will also be educated about the importance of yearly screenings.

Healthy children and families

With $5,000 in Foundation funding, Eastcentral Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center will providethe Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) program to 150 community participants in Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming CountiesYMHFA is an evidence-based program designed to train individuals who work with adolescents to better understand and recognize mental health and crisis situations.

In Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, case workers at the Catherine McAuley Centerwill be able to provide 425 hours of specialized health and safety-related support to 200 women and children experiencing homelessness thanks to $6,737 in Foundation funding. 

Programs for at-risk individuals

An $8,000 Foundation grant will allow the Deutsch Institute to offer an onsite Adaptive Exercise Program to 160 adults with disabilities at four day program locations in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.  Staff members at each location will also be trained to continue the program with their clients after the grant period concludes.

The Greater Hazleton YMCA/YWCA will use $8,836 in Foundation funding to waive the fee for, and expand, its existing Arthritis Aquatics Program.  No less than 120 individuals from Carbon and Luzerne Counties will take part in specialized exercises led by a certified instructor and designed to increase strength and flexibility, as well as reduce pain.

In Lackawanna County, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern PA (UNC) will educate 200 older adults about cardiovascular disease risk factors and prevention with the help of an $8,089 Foundation grant.   A registered nurse and trained public health professional will lead the program at four UNC senior centers.

A $9,576 Foundation grant will enable Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers to extend a proven diabetes self-management curriculum to patients at seven community-based clinic sites in Lackawanna, Pike, and Wayne Counties.  A Certified Diabetes Educator will provide self-management instruction and post-program follow-up calls to 210 diabetic patients and their family members.

With a $9,929 Foundation grant, counselor advocates at Women’s Resource Center, Inc. will be able to provide 600 hours of safety planning assistance to 400 women from Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties who are at risk for domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  The Foundation has accelerated its 2014 grantmaking.  As a result, The Foundation will not be accepting new funding requests for the remainder of this calendar year.  Please check online at www.bcnepa.com/Community/BlueRibbon.aspx for future updates.