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

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
April 17, 2013

Funding will help nine nonprofits serve more than 2,600 individuals

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Individualized exercise and nutrition for cancer patients, medication safety education for older adults, and early intervention and prevention screenings for at-risk children 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 April 16 meeting of The Foundation’s Board of Directors, providing $67,329 in funding to regional nonprofit programs that will serve more than 2,600 individuals.

The Foundation awarded the grants to health education and prevention programs in ten 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.

“These grants will help our community health partners serve at-risk individuals and families who are facing health and safety issues,”said Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation.  “We are pleased to be in a position to support a variety of critical programs.”  

Supporting care for the un/underinsured

In Luzerne County, Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) provides health care services each year to approximately 2,500 uninsured individuals.  In 2011, VIM also opened a free dental clinic at its Wilkes-Barre location to address the gap in oral health services available to the uninsured. A Foundation grant of $10,000 will allow VIM to expand the hours of a dental assistant and purchase dental and educational supplies to serve 500 additional adults in the coming year.  

For residents of Clinton County, the Clinton County Community Dental Clinic provides free or low-cost dental services and education to un/underinsured children and adults.  Established in 2009 with the help of a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the clinic is the only facility within 30 miles of Lock Haven that accepts patients of all ages on Medical Assistance.  The clinic will use a Foundation grant of $7,750 to expand the hours of a dentist and dental hygienist to serve 100 additional un/underinsured adults currently on its waiting list.

Supporting care for older adults

In lower Luzerne and Carbon Counties, volunteers from Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries transport seniors to medical appointments and help them with grocery shopping to ensure that their basic health needs are met.  A $5,000 Foundation grant will help volunteers continue to serve 74 older adults in lower Luzerne and Carbon Counties in the coming year.

In Susquehanna County, Trehab received a Foundation grant of $3,660 for its Medication Safety Education Program for older adults.  The program will be offered at no cost to 300 seniors and 50 caregivers at 12 senior centers and nursing homes across the county. Workshops led by Trehab’s certified education specialists will address topics such as safe and appropriate medication practices, recognizing common side effects and how to reduce or avoid medication errors.

A $5,800 Foundation grant to the Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind will provide free eye health education and vision screenings to 360 older adults at 18 senior centers across Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties.  Screened participants identified as requiring intervention will receive follow-up care at no cost through the Blind Association’s Gift of Sight program.

Supporting healthy children and families

In Bradford County, The Blue Ribbon Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to Memorial Hospital to support client education and program supplies for the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program. NFP is a research-based home visitation program for low-income first-time mothers and their babies.  Weekly visits by an RN ensure safe and healthy pregnancies, healthy birth weight deliveries, and quality care-giving during the first two years after birth. The Foundation’s grant will help NFP complete home visits to 52 new mothers and their children in the coming year.

In Monroe County, The Foundation’s grant of $10,000 to the Pocono Alliance will help improve the quality of life among economically at-risk families through the Bridges Out of Poverty program.  As part of the program, identified families complete an intensive 22-week training module called “Getting Ahead” where they create a life plan with achievable goals to overcome the barriers to self-sufficiency.  With Foundation funding, 15 Monroe County families will participate in Getting Ahead training in the coming year.

A $9,919 Foundation grant to the Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency will be used to conduct a lead and anemia screening program for pre-school children at 25 Head Start Centers across Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna and Wayne Counties.  An estimated 1,200 low-income youngsters will be screened in the coming year.

Supporting patients through cancer recovery

In Luzerne County, The Greater Pittston YMCA received a $10,200 Foundation grant to support the THRIVE (To Help Restore and Increase Vitality through Exercise) Cancer Wellness Program, a comprehensive, individualized exercise and nutrition program for cancer patients.  The Greater Pittston YMCA will use Foundation funding to offer THRIVE to 20 low-income individuals identified by local health care professionals who would not otherwise be able to participate.

Find out more

For more information on The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s upcoming funding cycles, application deadlines and eligibility criteria, please visit www.bcnepa.com, click on Community Initiatives then select The Blue Ribbon Foundation tab.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania 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.  During its first decade of service, The Foundation has awarded nearly $10 million in grant funding to 170 nonprofits to help meet the health and wellness needs of more than 186,000 at-risk individuals.

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Anthony Matrisciano
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