Tufts Health Plan Foundation Announces 10 Momentum Grants in RI

Ten Rhode Island organizations each will receive a grant of $10,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s new Momentum Fund. The fund was established to foster new ideas and support cities and towns in their efforts to make their communities better places to grow up and grow old.

“We developed the Momentum Fund to help smaller communities and organizations that want to do this work,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “They are adopting more inclusive policies, building accessible parks and public spaces, and integrating age-friendly practices.”

In addition to the 10 projects in Rhode Island, the Momentum Fund is supporting 10 projects in Massachusetts and 7 in New Hampshire. Each is community-led, addresses healthy aging and includes older people in the planning and implementation process.

“Many New England communities recognize older people as tremendous assets,” said Phillip González, the Foundation’s senior program officer. “This is an opportunity for us to learn from communities as they innovate and collaborate to address the needs of that community.”

The first Rhode Island recipients of the Momentum Fund grants are Benjamin Church Senior Center, Inc.,  Catholic Social Services of RI, Child and Family Services of Newport County, Cranston Senior Services, Educational Center for Arts and Sciences, PACE Organization of Rhode Island, Progreso Latino, Inc., Roger Williams University, The Providence Village of Rhode Island, and Westbay Community Action Program.

More information

Rhode Island Foundation Awards $280,000 to Improve the Health of Rhode Islanders

Through its RIGHA Foundation Fund, the Rhode Island Foundation recently awarded more than $280,000 in health-related grants to seven local organizations to improve healthcare access and address health issues in the state.

Awardees included Blackstone Valley Community Health Care (BVCHC) to add health coaches to its primary care teams; the City of Central Falls to help develop partnerships between the city’s EMS service and nearby urgent care centers; Clinica Esperanza for chronic disease screening and treatment programs;  the Rhode Island Free Clinic to provide expanded behavioral health services; Rhode Island Hospital to expand its Connect for Health program (community resources to address social determinants of health); and The Providence Center to support counseling programs in seven Providence elementary and middle schools. 

The RIGHA Foundation Fund was created after Harvard Pilgrim Health Care acquired the former Rhode Island Group Health Association. In 2010, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the RIGHA Foundation transferred its $1.6 million endowment to the Rhode Island Foundation. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care continues to make annual contributions to the fund, which promotes the development of an effective primary health care system in the state.

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RI Foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg’s ProJo op-ed on the importance of the state taking a steady course for both health care and education

Blue Cross Teams Up with Gloria Gemma Foundation to Provide Breast Cancer Education

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is teaming with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation to bring breast health and breast cancer education to schools, businesses, and community centers through the Foundation’s Pink Spirit Program.

BCBSRI awarded Gloria Gemma a $10,000 charitable gift to help fund the Pink Spirit Program, which will enable the Foundation to visit more sites throughout the state.

“Bringing education as important and as focused as what is found in the Pink Spirit Program is essential to raising awareness of the importance of good breast health and early detection of breast cancer. We applaud the work done each and every day by the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation and we are honored to provide our support for their vital work,” said Carolyn Belisle, BCBSRI managing director of community relations.

The program is designed to educate students (middle through post-secondary) and employees at local businesses about the risk factors, symptoms, and screening methods for good breast health and early detection of breast cancer.

 

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Supports Efforts for Make Communities Better for All Ages Through $1.8 million in Grants

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced nearly $1.8 million in new community investments that reflect its commitment to make cities and towns great places to grow up and grow old. The new grants will support initiatives at 16 community organizations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire working to make communities healthier for people of all ages, with a specific interest in engaging older adults. These investments are in addition to nearly $1 million in previously announced work.

The supported grants in systems improvement and best practices reflect a trend of increased regional and local efforts to create age- and dementia-friendly communities. The initiatives promote cross-sector collaboration, expand engagement of older people, advance improvements to support the health and wellbeing of older people, and foster intergenerational connections.

“Each community will follow its own path to becoming age- and dementia-friendly. Support from Tufts Health Plan Foundation helps ensure resources reach under-represented communities at greatest risk for disparities,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “Everyone has a voice; it’s important that we listen.”

The two Rhode Island recipients of grants were:

Local Initiative Support Corporation (Providence, R.I.) The Intergenerational Farmers’ Market Project—to address social isolation for older adults through relationship-building activities that capitalize on the integration of arts, culture and community resources across Rhode Island. Two-year grant for $120,000.  (For more information on this innovative program, read the ProJo feature on it!)

Rhode Island Parent Information Network (Cranston, R.I.) Own Your Health: A System to Support Evidence-Based Health Promotion in R.I. for Older People—to improve Rhode Island’s system for providing evidence-based programs for older adults and their caregivers. One-year grant for $63,085.

United Way Awards $100,000 in Affordable Housing Grants, Releases 2-1-1 Data Report, Invests in Olneyville

United Way Awarded $100,000 to five community organizations from the Housing for All Fund, established at United Way’s 2016 Housing for All Summit in 2016

The funded programs, by Foster Forward, Housing Network of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Center for Justice and West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, focus on education, financial literacy, workforce and economic development and collaboration.

“We know that too many working families are housing cost-burdened, spending more than one-third of their income to keep a roof over their heads and face difficult choices among the basic needs they can afford,” said Anthony Maione, President and CEO, United Way of Rhode Island. “We also know there’s a lot of good work happening in our state to tackle this issue, which was evident in the proposals we received, and we are excited to see the progress of the programs we’re investing in.”

More information

2-1-1 Data Report Released

United Way also released its annual 2-1-1 data report, with analysis of the almost 200,000 calls for assistance 2-1-1 received in 2017.  The most common requests include financial assistance (rent, utilities, etc.), health information, food and housing.

Full report

UWRI Awards Olneyville Grants to 9 Local Organizations

Nine local organizations were the recipients of a shared total of $90,000 in grants from the United Way of Rhode Island’s Olneyville Community Fund in late June.

The 10-year-old fund, which was created when UWRI moved its headquarters to the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence in 2008, aims to support community-based organizations that benefit local residents and businesses.

Recipients include The Manton Avenue Project, Providence Housing Authority, Meeting Street ONE Neighborhood Builders, the Center for Resilience, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Providence Community Library and Sojourner House.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI, LISC, Rhode Island Foundation Release 2017 Community Reports

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has released it 2017 Community Report, focused on its wide range of involvement in child health and wellbeing, healthcare access and equity, the opioid crisis, and volunteerism and philanthropy.

Full report

LISC RI, a GCRI member, is part of national LISC, which  invested $1.2 billion nationwide in 2017, including $27 million in Rhode Island.  One of the featured stories in the report is the work of the Health Empowerment Zone in Pawtucket/Central Falls, which is adminstered by LISC RI.

Full report

The Rhode Island Foundation’s annual report details information on the $43 million in grants to more than 1,700 the Foundation awarded in 2017, including grants in strategic areas such as economic security, educational success, and healthy lives.

Full report

CVS Health and United Way Launch Opioid Referral Program, Support Pharmacy Workforce Initiative at Genesis Center

United Way, CVS Foundation Launch 2-1-1 Partnership to Address Opioid Addiction

As Rhode Island struggles with the highest rate of substance abuse-related deaths in New England, those caught in the cycle of addiction, as well as their family and friends, have a new resource to access the help they need.

United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) and the CVS Health Foundation have announced a new partnership through 2-1-1 focused on addressing the opioid use epidemic that has become a public health crisis in the Ocean State. Through the free and confidential 2-1-1 help line that’s available 24/7, 365 days a year, the effort aims to raise awareness and bring greater accessibility to treatment resources to Rhode Islanders.

Utilizing a multi-pronged approach, the partnership incorporates Anchor Recovery, a comprehensive substance abuse treatment organization. With Anchor, 2-1-1 will have access to a dedicated phone line so that 2-1-1 call specialists may provide a warm transfer directly to a peer counselor, who can provide immediate assistance. The partnership also integrates the availability of an addiction and substance use subject matter expert, and specialized training for 2-1-1 staff on addiction issues and available services.

UWRI and the CVS Health Foundation have added a list of addiction resources to the 2-1-1 website (www.211ri.org), where individuals who may be apprehensive to call 2-1-1 by phone can review the resources or chat online with trained specialists.

Additionally, the partnership will provide direct outreach to communities in the state most affected by substance abuse using the 2-1-1 Outreach RV. Through confidential screenings aboard the 38-foot Outreach RV, 2-1-1 will provide direct referrals to local substance abuse agencies, as well as immediate drug and alcohol counseling available from on-site partners, and HIV rapid testing.

To help raise awareness of the partnership and the role of 2-1-1 in combating addiction issues, UWRI and CVS Health will employ a marketing campaign, including digital, radio and transit advertisements.

CVS Health is committed to addressing and preventing the nation’s opioid epidemic. In March, the company announced it is adding 14 medication disposal units inside CVS Pharmacy locations across the state to make it easier to dispose of unused medications. This work builds on ongoing company initiatives, including the Pharmacists Teach program, which brings CVS Pharmacists to local schools to talk to teens and parents about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. More than 300,000 teens nationally including more than 3,600 in Rhode Island have already participated in the program. CVS Health has also worked to expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone in 46 states, including Rhode Island.

Genesis Center Pharmacy Tech Program Receives Support from CVS Health and United Way of Rhode Island

The Genesis Center Pharmacy Technician program, which was born out of a partnership between Genesis Center, Building Futures, CVS Heath and United Way of Rhode Island, gives students an opportunity to train for a career that’s on track to add 47,600 new jobs by 2026.

Tyla Pimentel, Genesis Center’s Adult Services Director, explains, “It became increasingly difficult to earn a living-wage working in low-skilled jobs, so we adapted to the community’s changing needs” with this popular new program. In addition to the faster than average job growth, the median income for those entering the pharmacy tech field is $15.26 an hour.

The program, now in its second cohort, has started receiving more interest from the community. “Many times, people come in for another class but end up interested in the pharmacy tech program,” says Liz Hanke, Genesis Center’s Workforce Coordinator. Part of this new program’s appeal is that graduates do their internships with CVS Health — which often leads to job offers.

Internships are far from the end of their collaboration; CVS Health’s in-house training modules are foundational to the program’s curriculum. “Our students start their careers at an advantage,” explains Tyla. “They complete most of CVS’s training program before they even graduate.”Internships are far from the end of their collaboration; CVS Health’s in-house training modules are foundational to the program’s curriculum. “Our students start their careers at an advantage,” explains Tyla. “They complete most of CVS’s training program before they even graduate.”

In addition, Genesis helps students develop soft skills, such as writing resumes and interviewing, while also preparing them for the reality of entering the workforce. “It’s important we help manage their expectations,” says Liz. “We explain to them that no one starts at the top, but if they put in the time, work hard, and are dependable they can achieve success — but that it’s ultimately up to them.”

Like Genesis Center, United Way of Rhode Island understands helping others often relies on an agency’s willingness to adapt. This willingness is what helps nonprofits meet the changing needs of a community — like the need for quality adult education.

United Way invests in adult education by supporting effective programs like Genesis Center’s Pharmacy Technician Program. “United Way allows us to help more people benefit from this program,” Tyla explains. “Community members who would otherwise never have an opportunity like this.”
United Way’s continued investment in adult education is important to our goal of changing the lives of 250,000 Rhode Islanders by the year 2020. Working closely with partners, such as Genesis Center, we will not only reach this goal but surpass it — helping many more Rhode Islanders in the process.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $1.1 Million in Healthy Aging Policy and Practice Grants

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $1.1 Million to Advance Policies and Practices Supporting Healthy Aging

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced new community investments of more than $1.1 million, reflecting a commitment to advance inclusive policies that create thriving and vital communities that work for people of all ages.

“Communities have greater interest in age-friendly initiatives. There’s a growing understanding of the critical role older people play. They are an asset to community, and their voices and insights are invaluable to the public discourse on what communities need,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, vice president, corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan and president of its Foundation.

The Foundation’s new grants support initiatives to engage and train more advocates to participate in policy discussions; extend dementia-friendly programs to new communities; and address gaps limiting access to services and healthy, nutritious food. All are aligned with the Foundation’s focus on support for communities that work for everyone.

Three of the eight grants awarded went to Rhode Island organizations.  The Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island was awarded a $50,000 policy and advocacy grant for a program to engage low-income seniors and develop them as community leaders with the capacity to effectively advocate for policy change.  Rhode Island College Foundation received a two year James A. Roosevelt, Jr. Leadership Fund (community engagement) grant for $252,400 to build a powerful community coalition to advocate, design innovative solutions and develop programs/services for an Age-Friendly Rhode Island.  The Alzheimer’s Association of Rhode Island also received a one year systems and best practices grant for $15,000 to support the update of Rhode Island’s five-year plan on Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders.

The new grants engage nearly 80 community organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s Annual Community Meeting Features Special Opioid Presentation

Opioid Film Presentation at Blue Cross Annual Community Meeting

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island invites GCRI members to its upcoming community meeting on December 6 at Rhode Island PBS’ studio.  The evening will include the Rhode Island premiere of the “Overdose: Inside the Epidemic — A Second Opinion Special.”

Following the film, Gus Manocchia, SVP & Chief Medical Officer at BCBSRI, will moderate a panel of local experts who will suggest actions that can help reduce the stigma associated with addiction, and better address the overdose epidemic.  The session is open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required by November 30.   More information

 

 

 

 

 

LISC Advances Health Equity in Pawtucket/Central Falls

LISC Advances Health Equity in Pawtucket/Central Falls

LISC reports that tremendous strides have been made on the Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone (HEZ) initiative after just the first two years of a four-year commitment.

In its 2017 Report to the Community, Jeanne Cola, LISC Executive Director, says, “We are enormously proud of being able to provide leadership services and act as the backbone agency for this hard working collaboration of community leaders…. After just a year of executing the plan, we are already seeing the benefits to the community. We are making strides on expanding access to nutritious food and increasing levels of activity; we are developing programs to foster intergenerational relationships, diabetes education and management, and HEZ partners are focused on creating affordable  housing solutions.”

Read the 2017 HEZ Report

Interview on WPRO