Springfield’s Interfaith Hospitality Network is one of several groups receiving grants from Community Health Foundation. Bill Lackey/Staff

Community Health Foundation awards $179K in grants to Springfield, Clark County groups

For its annual grant program, the Community Health Foundation awarded funds to 44 non-profit organizations who are working to promote local health and wellness.

Organizations were awarded between $2,000 and $10,000 each, with the foundation donating a total of $179,925. The grants range from funding for food pantries to prenatal care to health resources for seniors.

“I think we do a pretty good job of funding health-related programs on a wide spectrum,” said Joan Elder, program coordinator for the Community Health Foundation.

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Every year, the foundation accepts applications for grants from mid-fall through mid-winter. The applications are then reviewed by a 13-member grant committee who decides which organizations will receive funding and how much each will be awarded.

Applications for the Community Health Foundation’s 2019 grants will be available on their website in October.

Recently, Elder said, more resources have been allocated to organizations addressing health and wellness issues related to the opioid crisis.

For example, Springfield’s Interfaith Hospitality Network, which was granted $9,000 by the Community Health Foundation this year, provides drug counseling in addition to its emergency shelter and other housing resources.

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The Citilookout Counseling Center, another grant recipient, offers trauma counseling. Often now, Elder said, that trauma is related to a family member’s drug addiction or deaths related to drug use.

The foundation also awarded a grant to the Clark County Family and Children First Council for the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program. The program, which promotes personal self-management and social skills for elementary, middle and high school students, was created to reduce the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

“I think it reflects how we are really looking at ways to get on the side of prevention,” Elder said of the foundation’s decision to support the program.

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The Family and Children First Council will also be partnering with WellSpring, an organization that provides counseling services, to train teachers on how to use the LST program in their own schools, Elder said. Some of the strategies students learn are how to refuse drugs, avoid violence and reduce stress and anxiety.

Botvin LST, which has been used in communities across the United States and in 39 other countries, has been recognized by Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute on Drug Abuse for its evidence-based approach.

“We really look for programs that are proved to be effective and will help move our community to a healthier place,” Elder said.

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