CVS Health Partners with Alzheimer’s Association

GCRI member CVS Health and the Alzheimer’s Association announced a three-year corporate partnership aimed at fighting Alzheimer’s disease – a disease impacting more than 5 million Americans and 16 million caregivers across the country. The partnership is launching with an in-store fundraising campaign that will provide $10 million to support Alzheimer’s Association programs, including those aimed at caregiver education, care and support, and disease research.

“I know from my own experience caring for my mother as she battled Alzheimer’s how important it is to support both the patient and the caregivers in that patient’s life,” said Kevin Hourican, Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, CVS Pharmacy. “Our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association will fund important programs to help our customers who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, while also connecting them to needed resources and services that can support them.”

The in-store fundraising campaign, which launched Sunday, November 3, will run at the 9,900 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide through November 23. During these three weeks, CVS Pharmacy customers will have the opportunity to contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association at the register in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. The in-store fundraising campaign will repeat the next two Novembers, coinciding with National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.

Throughout November, the Alzheimer’s Association and CVS Health will communicate with customers about tips and resources available to support family caregivers. Currently, more than 16 million family members and friends are serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers. Nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Some of the proceeds from the campaign will be used by the Alzheimer’s Association to develop a new caregiver education program for in-person and online delivery in English and Spanish.

In conjunction with the partnership, beginning in 2020, CVS Health will also serve as a national presenting sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held annually in more than 600 communities across the country. CVS Health will also participate in the event, joining the National Walk Team Program, providing its 295,000 employees across the country an opportunity to join in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm CVS Health brings to the fight against Alzheimer’s,” McCullough said. “The funds raised through our partnership will bolster our efforts to support families facing Alzheimer’s and advance much needed research that will one day change the future for millions.”

BCBSRI Launches Rhode Island Life Index

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), through a partnership with the Brown University School of Public Health (Brown), unveiled a report summarizing a new data resource – the RI Life Index – based on interviews conducted with more than 2,200 Rhode Islanders about life factors influencing health and well-being in the state.

The survey results, representing Rhode Islanders’ perceptions about their own health and well-being, as well as that of their community, offer a first-of-its-kind, unique window into what state residents believe to be significant challenges as well as community strengths.

The RI Life Index showed strengths in the following areas: availability of safe and reliable transportation; access to affordable, nutritious food; availability and quality of civic, social, and healthcare services for seniors and the ability to age in place; and programs and services available for children. In contrast, respondents had lower perceptions of the availability of quality affordable housing, job opportunities and job training programs.

“At Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, our vision to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island was the impetus for creating this index. As a proud local company celebrating 80 years, we are committed to building a healthier Rhode Island,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI president and CEO. “The RI Life Index confirms something we’ve seen reported at the national level – when it comes to health outcomes and overall well-being, zip code is more important than genetic code. Where people are born and live in Rhode Island has a profound impact on their lives.”

Keck continued, “Using the RI Life Index data as a foundation, for the first time in our company history we will launch BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) focused on housing, complementing our existing philanthropic investments.”

BCBSRI unveiled the RI Life Index at an event that included remarks from Keck and Bess Marcus, Ph.D., dean of the Brown School of Public Health. Melissa Clark, Ph.D., professor of health service, policy and practice, and director of the Survey Research Center at the School of Public Health, presented the RI Life Index and talked about the research she and her team conducted.

“The School of Public Health worked to develop and ensure the highest quality data collection for the Life Index survey in order to capture the perceptions of health and well-being from Rhode Islanders,” said Brown professor of health service, policy and practice Melissa Clark. “As many residents of Rhode Island already know, social determinants of health, such as the cost of housing and employment issues, often make it incredibly challenging for many families to experience the highest quality of health and well-being.”

The RI Life Index survey was conducted in April and May 2019 with randomly selected Rhode Island residents from across the state. The survey focused on social determinants of health, as well as topic areas specific to older adults, children, social integration and access to healthcare. The survey also asked about the opioid epidemic, access to mental health and substance use treatment, discrimination in healthcare and emergency room use.

Using the data, percent of the possible (POP) scores were created for various aspects of health and well-being in a community. This allowed for the combination of multiple indicators into a single score, allowing for easier observation of targeted areas for improvement, as well as community strengths. Scores ranging from 0 to 100 show how close the community is to the ideal, with a higher POP score indicating moving toward a healthier community. Scores were also determined factoring in geography, age and income.

“The Rhode Island Life Index is truly a data resource, one that will guide us in how we assist boots-on-the-ground organizations in their essential work to improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders,” said Keck. “This is just the beginning. Armed with our vision and these data, BCBSRI will develop new approaches – and strengthen existing programs – to address health disparities and gaps in health outcomes. And that effort will start by directing our BACHG competitive grant program to support initiatives that result in more Rhode Islanders being able to access safe, healthy and stable housing in 2020.”

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards Grants for Rhode Island Senior Centers That Step(ped) Up (to the) Challenge

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) motivated older adults to log steps and physical activity in September in support of senior centers across the state – all part of BCBSRI’s first-ever Step Up Challenge.  The friendly competition not only helped participants maintain or increase their own physical activity, but also helped three senior centers – one from each of three regions in the state – earn a $2,500 grant for health and wellness activities.

Throughout the month of September, participating senior centers tracked a total of 141,780,081 steps. The winners of the Step Up Challenge were recognized on October 19 at the Life Expo at Twin River in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Each was presented with a $2,500 check.  Winners were North Providence Mancini Center, Benjamin Church Senior Center and Cranston Senior Center.

“We are thrilled with how many older Rhode Islanders participated in our first-ever Step Up Challenge and for the support they showed to senior centers around the state,” said Ivette Luna, manager, Consumer Engagement at BCBSRI. “Helping older adults maintain their health and wellness is a priority for BCBSRI and events like the Step Up Challenge reinforce our vision of passionately leading a state of health and well-being in Rhode Island.”

In addition to the first place winners, runner-ups in each region will receive one month of fitness programming sponsored by BCBSRI. The Step Up Challenge began on September 1 with kick-off walks in Warwick, Bristol and Lincoln.  In all, 20 senior centers participated in the challenge.  In addition, participants who were not members of a senior center could also register as part of a team at one of the three BCBSRI Your Blue Store locations.  More than 1,300 people registered for the Step Up Challenge.

Textron Volunteers (and Golf Carts) Connect Veterans to Services at Operation Stand Down RI

Textron employees volunteered at Operation Stand Down RI, an event that provides access to social and supportive services for military veterans. With the donation of seven E-Z-GO golf cars and the many volunteers that gave of their time, the Textron team was able to provide shuttles around the site to allow veterans take advantage of all the services offered at the event.

Volunteers drove veterans to and from the different tents to get haircuts, massages, career advice, clothing, legal counsel and complimentary meals.

Erik Wallin, Executive Director of Operation Stand Down RI said, “On behalf of the over 450 veterans served at this year’s annual Stand Down Weekend, Operation Stand Down RI wishes to thank Textron for donating the use of golf cars to transport veterans and service providers. We also express our gratitude to the dozens of Textron employees who volunteered their time over three days and showed such compassion towards our veterans who came for life changing services. The dedicated team of Textron volunteers honored our local veterans by their own service as they have done for the past several years.”

“It was a privilege, and such a small token of my appreciation to do something for our veterans who have sacrificed so much for this country,” says Al Casazza, Director of Global Services and Real Estate. “I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.”

Tufts Health Plan Employees Designate $25,000 to Local Nonprofits

Community organizations aiding veterans, single mothers with low incomes, LGBTQ+ Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness, immigrants and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities will each receive a $5,000 grant as a result of a program engaging Tufts Health Plan employees in grantmaking.

“This grant program is an opportunity for our business resource groups to recommend nonprofit organizations addressing important community issues,” said Tufts Health Plan president and CEO Tom Croswell, who also serves on the Tufts Health Plan Foundation board of directors. “Giving back isn’t just something we do; it’s part of our culture. I’m incredibly proud of the dedicated employees who demonstrate their commitment to the community through this program and each and every day.”

Each of Tufts Health Plan’s five business resource groups (BRGs) nominated an organization aligned with their affinity to receive a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation.  Two Rhode Island organizations were beneficiaries of the grants, Crossroads Rhode Island and Operation Stand Down Rhode Island.

·        Prism, the LGBTQ and allies BRG, recommended Crossroads Rhode Island, an organization that provides services and supports to LGBTQ residents of Rhode Island. The grant will support Crossroads’ programming that assists LGBTQ individuals with shelter, food and other services. (Providence, R.I.)

·        Veterans & Military, the veterans and allies BRG, recommended Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, an organization that connects military veterans with services, supports and job opportunities. The grant will support the annual Stand Down Weekend outreach event, where hundreds of veterans are connected to services and supports from agencies across Rhode Island. (Johnston, R.I.)

More information

Citizens Celebrates Anniversary and Community Engagement

Citizens Bank is celebrating the five-year anniversary of becoming a public company this month by reflecting on the many ways it has been able to help Rhode Island communities reach their potential.

The Bank shared the following ways they have helped their communities grow over the past five years:

  • Employees have volunteered more than half a million hours to community organizations.
  • The Bank has invested roughly $70 million in programs to benefit local neighborhoods.
  • Employees have served annually on more than 700 boards or committees.
  • The Bank has invested over $3 billion in affordable housing and other projects to benefit communities.
  • Employees and partners have reached more than one million people with financial literacy programs.
  • The Bank has provided more than 27 million meals to our hungry neighbors in partnership with local food banks and pantries.

Congratulations to Citizens for this anniversary and their continued community engagement!

Nine Nonprofits Receive Grants from HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island

Harbor One Foundation Rhode Island announced that nine nonprofit organizations in the Greater Providence have received a combined $32,500 in financial support for their work helping children and families.  The foundation focuses its support on organizations that provide educational opportunities, create access to “safe and affordable” housing, and “deliver basic human services to our most vulnerable citizens.”

“It is an honor to be able to help organizations that make such an amazing impact in our community and positively affect so many lives,” said HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island President William White in a statement.

James Blake, CEO of HarborOne Bank, noted that the bank has been “warmly welcomed” into the Rhode Island community and that the foundation is “one way that we can help that community and the people and organizations in it to thrive.”

The grants each organization received ranged from $1,000 to $5,000. The organizations that received grant funding from the foundation are NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Olneyville Housing Corp./One Neighborhood Builders, Sojourner House Inc, West Elmwood Housing Development Corp., Pawtucket School Department, The Miriam Hospital Foundation, Adoption Rhode Island, Young Voices and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island.

HarborOne Employees Help Supply Schoolchildren

For the third year, employees at GCRI member HarborOne Bank packed and distributed backpacks to local community organizations for children who might need school supplies.

HarborOne Bank and HarborOne Mortgage provided more than 5,000 at-risk children with backpacks and educational supplies. On Aug. 7, more than 100 employees of HarborOne Bank and HarborOne Mortgage packed more than 3,000 backpacks at the Brockton Boys & Girls Club. Additionally, the local offices of HarborOne Mortgage provided another 2,000 to nonprofits across New England.

 

PCU Announces $104,500 in Grants to Support School Achievement

Pawtucket Credit Union’s announced over $100,000 in grants to 11 local nonprofits focused on providing academic support to low-income children.

The awardees include The Learning Community, Comprehensive Community Action Program, Kennedy-Donovan Center, Books Are Wings, YMCA of Pawtucket, Friends of Pawtucket Public Library, Back To School Celebration of Rhode Island, Children’s Friend, Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School, and The Empowerment Factory.

“Improving the lives of families and individuals in the communities we serve is a key component of the credit union’s mission,” Charette said in a news release. “We believe funding programs that provide academic support and enrichment to children and [youths] in some of our most vulnerable communities will help these children achieve a brighter tomorrow.”

 

LISC RI Celebrates New Neighborhood Health Station

GCRI member LISC RI celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls with members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, project visionaries and leaders, funders, staff and residents. GCRI members Rhode Island Foundation and The Champlin Foundation were also significant partners in the development of the comprehensive new health facility.

LISC Rhode Island provided an investment of $12.2 million for the $15 million project which included an investment of $4.2 million in New Markets Tax Credits through the New Markets Support Company (NMSC), a Chicago-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of LISC and a syndicator of federal New Markets Tax Credits. These credits were part of an $85 million allocation to LISC from the U.S. Treasury Department that are used for transformational community development projects across the LISC footprint. The tax credit equity was combined with low interest loans from LISC and Morgan Stanley through LISC’s Healthy Futures FQHC Financing Fund II, an innovative loan fund to support Federally Qualified Health Centers that provide services designed to address social determinants of health. LISC also provided a pre-development grant of $50,000. At the end of the NMTC compliance period, the Blackstone Valley Neighborhood Health Station will retain nearly $3 million in equity as a result of LISC’s investment.

“LISC heard of the concept through our work leading the Pawtucket and Central Falls Health Equity Zone,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. “Dr. Fine and Ray Lavoie wanted to change the way that residents thought about their health, and how they accessed health care. It was a new model and targeted one of Rhode Island’s most underserved communities. That kind of mission-driven project deserved our full support.”

Dr. Michael Fine, a member of the LISC PCF HEZ collaborative and the former director of the state health department, brought a particularly ambitious vision to the table. Together with Ray Lavoie, Executive Director of Blackstone Valley Community Health Care (BVCHC), and other members of its Leadership Team, they proposed creating a centralized facility that could provide residents with everything they might need to get and stay healthy, outside of the traditional healthcare system—and all within walking distance of their homes.

“It’s a new concept. It is Dr. Michael Fine’s vision of a Neighborhood Health Station, where 90 percent of the folks in the community can get 90 percent of their health care needs met. And, that is something new,” said Ray Lavoie, executive director of Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, at the Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls. “It will also sidestep the current structure, where everyone’s medical records are in different doctor’s offices and it is all silo-ed. This is a big step in the right direction.”

The team envisioned a Health Station that would provide comprehensive care, education and recreational opportunities for residents of Central Falls. The new facility will provide family doctors, pediatricians, emergency medicine specialists, nurses, obstetricians, midwives, social workers, behavioral health, dental, physical and occupational therapists, recovery coaches, health coaches, community health workers, translators, and educational programs. The facility provides a dedicated team for taking care of the residents of Central Falls with the goal of making it the healthiest community in Rhode Island.

The goal demands a new way of thinking about health care. Currently, the community is one of Rhode Island’s most underinvested and a third of the residents live in poverty, 27 percent have no health insurance, and per capita income is just more than $14,000. Latinos in this community face particularly high barriers that directly impact health, including poverty, high unemployment, lack of access to educational opportunities, and linguistic and cultural challenges.

“The health station will be a transformational project for this community,” said Cola. “LISC has invested extensively in affordable housing, workforce development, public safety, and childcare and early learning facilities in the Pawtucket and Central Falls communities. And for the past five years, we’ve also worked to improve the social determinants of health for residents. We’re proud to get behind this initiative in such a comprehensive way.”

The Health Station will be a hub for classes in nutrition, diabetes prevention, and financial literacy, as well as recreational opportunities, in addition to providing access to services. More culturally competent and readily-available doctors, dentists, and behavioral health specialists were seen as a critical component to improving the overall health of community members.

The Health Station goal to enroll 90 percent of residents in programs will empower an entire community to strive for optimal health and wellbeing. The facility will create more than 80 permanent full-time jobs, and change the health of thousands.