MeHAF Supports Local Efforts to Improve Community Health

MeHAF Supports Local Efforts to Improve Community Health

The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) has awarded $393,348 to twenty nonprofits across the state in its Healthy Community grant program. The Healthy Community program is the newest initiative under MeHAF’s goal to Achieve Better Health in Communities. “The Healthy Community program affirms our commitment to work with communities to improve the health of everyone in Maine in ways that reach beyond the delivery of direct health care services,” said Dr. Wendy Wolf, MeHAF President and CEO.
“The resources and support that a community can provide have a significant impact on a person’s health,” said Dr. Wolf.  “Plus, we know that there is a reinforcing relationship between healthy communities and having a healthy and robust economic and community development climate. Developing or devising a better use for resources such as outdoor spaces, recreational and cultural facilities, and offering a variety of transportation options, can contribute to creating vibrant local communities. Vibrant communities, in turn, directly support community members’ ability to achieve better health.”

The Healthy Community program is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to improving the health of people in the communities that receive grants. Each community will determine a health issue that is a local priority and develop plans to address it. The initiative will support local, grassroots efforts that will build or strengthen collaboration and active participation by organizations from many diverse sectors to support good health. A key feature of these grants will be soliciting input and guidance from individuals and groups in the community who typically are not included in either defining or developing solutions to local problems, such as people who are uninsured or low-income individuals and families.

Grantees participating in the first phase of the program include a regional planning commission, a tribal community, Healthy Maine Partnerships, Community Action Programs, and many others. “We’re very excited to have such a large group of grantees- twenty- in the first phase of what will be a multi-year effort,” commented Len Bartel, the MeHAF Program Officer who is overseeing the program. “We hope that the large number of grants and wide diversity of grantee organizations will produce ideas and strategies that can be adopted more broadly as the program progresses,” Bartel continued. 
Bartel emphasized that “MeHAF is taking a long-term approach to the Healthy Community grant program to foster deep engagement between the many groups that have a role in creating a healthy community. Because the program addresses the needs of all community members, especially the most marginalized, community engagement will take time.”

The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) is Maine’s largest, private, nonprofit health care foundation dedicated to promoting access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved, and improving the health of everyone in Maine.  MeHAF uses its grant resources and expertise to identify and move forward key initiatives and issues to improve Maine’s health care system so people across every region of our state have access to quality care for better health.

Health Community Grants:

Aroostook Band of Micmacs: Netukulimk Community Health Project, $20,000
Aroostook County Action Program, Inc.:  Community Connections United to Improving Health, $20,000
City of Bangor - Health & Community Services:  Greater Bangor Healthy Communities Initiative, $19,480
Community Concepts, Inc.:  Achieving Better Health in Lewiston/Auburn, $20,000
Healthy Communities of the Capital AreaHealthy Communities: Time to Increase Meaningful Engagement (TIME), $20,000
Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County:  Feeding the Hunger - Uniting Franklin Forces for Better Health, $20,000
Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission:  Lincoln County Health Connections, $20,000
Maine Sea Coast Mission:  Building Sustainable Community Health Programs for the Outer Islands of Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, and Hancock Counties, $18,400
MaineGeneral Medical Center - Healthy Northern Kennebec:  Healthy Waterville, $20,000
Mount Desert Island Hospital:  Building Connections to Health: Downeast Maine Communities Strive for Better Health Outcomes, $19,731
The Opportunity Alliance - Communities Promoting Health Coalition/Healthy Lakes HMP: Access to Health for the Lakes Region, $20,000
The Opportunity Alliance (PROP) - Parkside Neighborhood Center:  Parkside Neighborhood: Community Engagement for Better Health, $20,000
Penobscot Bay YMCA - Knox County Community Health Coalition:  As We See It....Voices of Knox County, $19,999
Piscataquis Regional YMCA: Community Health Improvement Project (CHIP), $17,439
Public Health Resource Institute: Utilizing a Community-Based Participatory Process to Improve Health and Wellness for Communities Across Washington County, $19,999
Redington-Fairview General Hospital - Greater Somerset Public Health Collaborative:  Achieving Better Health in Jackman, Maine: The Aging Project, $20,000
Somali Culture & Development Association: Coalition Building From the Ground Up, $20,000
Western Maine Health Care Corporation - Healthy Oxford Hills:  Achieving Better Health in Oxford County, $20,000
York County Community Action Corporation:  YCCAC Community Health Working Group, $20,000
York Hospital - Choose to be Healthy Partnership:  Achieving Better Health For Those With Low Literacy, $18,300


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