Franciscan Health recently awarded more than $450,000 in community health improvement grants through its Social Impact Partnership Program (SIPP). Fifty-seven non-profits located throughout Franciscan Health’s Indiana service regions and south suburban Chicago were selected from 105 applications to receive funding of up to $10,000 per organization.

Grant Recipients in Northern Indiana (including Michigan City and Crown Point) are: Citizens Concerned for the Homeless; Community Help Network, Inc.; Dunebrook, Inc.; Girls on the Run of Northwest Indiana; Healthy Communities of LaPorte County; Hilltop Neighborhood House; Housing Opportunities; Indiana Women in Need Foundation; Interfaith Community PADS; Open Door Community Alliance, Inc.; Opportunity Enterprises; Purdue Extension; Stepping Stone Shelter for Women, Inc.; The Salvation Army; and The Caring Place, Inc.

A Collaborative Process

“We are thrilled to work with so many worthy organizations in our service area,” said Caitlin Leahy, senior vice president for Franciscan Health Foundation and Community Health Improvement. “These non-profits have demonstrated great creativity and determination in addressing pressing community health and wellness issues in their areas. We’re confident their efforts will generate some great results.”

SIPP is a community health enrichment program sponsored by Franciscan Health, which establishes, and builds upon, partnerships with non-profit health and human service agencies that provide services in at-risk communities served by Franciscan Health. The goal is to foster long-term relationships with the community providers to better address significant health issues among vulnerable populations.

A committee comprised of local Franciscan healthcare leadership selected the fund recipients and amounts. The recipient organizations received funding based on program applications demonstrating their ability to address priority health needs and health equity based on Franciscan’s Community Health Needs Assessment process. Identified priority health issues are: 1) Access to Healthcare; 2) Food Insecurity; 3) Housing Stability; 4) Social Bridging; 5) Mental Health; and 6) Substance Abuse.

Recipient organizations will collaborate with Franciscan Health’s Community Health Improvement Team to ensure program effectiveness that meet the grant application’s stated goals. They must participate in program orientation and will submit progress reports at 6-month and 1-year intervals. Participation in the reporting process is required for consideration of any future funding or assistance.

Working Toward a Healthier Future

Girls on the Run, one recipient organization with several northern Indiana locations, has important plans for the funds. Executive Director Jacqueline Weber says, “As a physical, activity-based positive youth development program, we are proud to partner with Franciscan and a coalition of service providers to improve the health of our communities. The generous funding as a part of our partnership supports our commitment to access and inclusion for ALL girls in our most vulnerable and underserved communities. With girls’ confidence and physical activity levels starting to decline by age 10, our goal is to support girls and their families in increasing physical activity, providing tools for healthy social-emotional habits, and creating a positive, inclusive environment to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.”

One recipient organization, Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, has important plans for its funding. Chief Executive Officer Victor Garcia said: “With support from Franciscan Health, our SNAP outreach program will be able to continue to help neighbors in need gain access to one of the most effective and efficient ways to provide food assistance. Families enrolled in SNAP are able to buy the food they need from local retailers and simultaneously stimulate our local economy. It’s more practical for someone to use their SNAP card at the closest grocery store, than to visit a local food pantry.”

Franciscan Health will announce the benchmark dates for 2022 SIPP grant applications, review and awards early next year.