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

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
July 15, 2013

Funding will help eleven nonprofits serve more than 2,500 individuals

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Dental services for the un/underinsured, exercise and nutrition for at-risk individuals, and child abuse prevention education are among the areas of need being addressed by grants just awarded by The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Eleven grants were approved at the July 11 meeting of The Foundation’s Board of Directors, providing $77,525 in funding to regional nonprofit programs that will serve 2,560 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.

“These grants will help our community health partners provide services that at-risk populations may not have access to otherwise,”said Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation. “We are pleased to be in a position to support critical programs that will help so many people across our service area.”  

Care for the un/underinsured
In Susquehanna County, the Dental Unit of Barnes-Kasson Hospital’s Family Health Clinic is experiencing an increase in limited-income, un/underinsured patients. With a Foundation grant of $7,940, the Dental Unit will expand staff time and purchase the supplies needed to provide dental health services to 85 additional un/underinsured children and adults in the coming year.

In Lackawanna County, The Wright Center Medical Group provides primary care services to approximately 10,000 un/underinsured at-risk individuals each year. With the help of a Pennsylvania Department of Health grant, a dental center will open this October in the Medical Group’s Jermyn location. Foundation funding of $10,000 will help purchase a start-up inventory of dental supplies to serve 600 un/underinsured children and adults in the coming year.

Marywood University’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic received a $12,589 Foundation grant to provide speech, language and audiology screenings for 350 children, ages 3 to 5, at 14 Head Start Centers across Lackawanna County in the coming year.

Health and wellness for at-risk adults
Also in Lackawanna County, The Greater Carbondale YMCA’s “In the Cardiac Direction” program provides a comprehensive approach to exercise and nutrition for at-risk adults under the supervision of a registered nurse, dietician and personal trainer. With a Blue Ribbon Foundation grant of $10,000, the YMCA will expand the program to include 14 limited-income individuals who would otherwise be unable to participate.

North Penn Legal Services (NPLS) has created the S.T.O.P (Senior Training, Outreach and Prevention) Elder Abuse Project to educate 250 seniors and caregivers about the signs of elder abuse. With a $3,100 Foundation mini-grant, NPLS will conduct eight free workshops at senior centers and assisted living centers across Luzerne and Wyoming Counties in the coming year.

Goodwill Industries of Northeastern Pennsylvania received a Foundation mini-grant of $4,561 to provide a specialized exercise and nutrition program to 20 Lackawanna County adults with developmental disabilities who participate in the agency’s Day Care Program. Sessions will focus on cardio/respiratory endurance, muscle strength, balance and flexibility, and increasing the use of fruits and vegetables in participants’ diets.

Healthy children and families
In Lycoming County, Susquehanna Health’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) uses a national, research-based nurse visitation approach to provide health education and screenings, counseling, and life skills training to limited-income expectant women or new mothers and their babies. The Foundation’s mini-grant of $4,924 will help the NFP program purchase the materials and kits needed to complete developmental screenings for 125 babies in the coming year.

Women’s Resources of Monroe County will use a Foundation mini-grant of $5,193 to offer “Where We Live,” a four-week series of educational workshops for at-risk parents and caregivers on child abuse prevention. The series will be offered seven times during the grant period, with two series offered in Spanish, to reach 70 Monroe County families.

In Lackawanna County, The Greater Scranton YMCA received a Foundation mini-grant of $7,200 to support the C.A.T.C.H. (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) after-school curriculum.  This anti-obesity program for youngsters has been adopted by YMCAs across the U.S. with great results. The Foundation’s grant will open the program to 55 limited-income, physically at-risk children, grades K to 6, who otherwise would not be able to participate.  

The Victims’ Intervention Program received a Foundation mini-grant of $5,968 to deliver Expect Respect, a healthy relationships curriculum, to more than 560 8th and 9th graders in Pike and Wayne Countiesduring the 2013/14 school year. Presentations will cover topics such as bullying, sexual harassment, dating abuse, and leadership skills.

Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania received a Foundation mini-grant of $6,050 for its Medical Professionals Education Initiative. The program, which is designed to educate local medical professionals and health care students about the signs, symptoms, and behaviors of child abuse, will reach 420 medical professionals and students in the coming year.

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 (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.  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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