AdventHealth is offering $1.2 million in grants to local nonprofits for projects that are addressing Central Florida’s greatest health challenges, including care coordination, food security, mental and behavioral health, and community development.
The AdventHealth Collaborative Community Council, comprised of regional business and civic leaders, will accept applications for the annual Community Impact grant opportunity April 1 through May 31. The funding will be available in January 2022.
“The challenges our community is facing due to the impacts of the pandemic are vast and unprecedented,” said Shannon Gravitte, vice president of public affairs at AdventHealth. “As we plan for a multi-year recovery in our region, AdventHealth looks forward to partnering with nonprofits offering innovative solutions to Central Florida’s most pressing health issues.”
Community Impact grants often produce outstanding results for recipients. For example, thanks in part to a $285,000 grant from AdventHealth and the dedication of entrepreneurial nutritionists and community leaders in Orlando, Health Empowerment through Behavioral and Nutritional Initiatives (HEBNI) has emerged as an oasis of healthy food in neighborhoods considered “food deserts” with a lack of available healthy food options.
HEBNI (www.hebninutrion.org) provides food vouchers through its Fresh Stop Veggie Rx program, which is funded by the grant. Created in conjunction with Clinica Mi Salud, the program aims to provide nutritious produce to reduce the incidents of diabetes in some of Orlando’s more ethnically diverse communities.
“COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on minority populations, and it’s no surprise as these populations often struggle with access to healthy foods, medical information and health care other communities may take for granted,” said Glen Providence, executive director at HEBNI. “While the concept of Veggie Rx had nothing to do with COVID-19, the timing and implementation of the project couldn’t have been better.”
HEBNI works with physicians to identify patients who are at risk for food insecurity, which could lead to greater health problems. These patients are referred to the Veggie Rx program where they receive a prescription (voucher) to purchase fresh produce at the Fresh Stop Mobile Farmer’s Market in East Orlando.
Prepackaged bundles of up to 8-10 pounds of fresh produce are available for distribution at this location, which is enough to feed an individual adult for three or four days or at least two healthy meals for a family of four. The mobile market is available in additional neighborhoods throughout the Central Florida region. Providence is grateful for the grant and encouraged by its potential to help in the community.
“People are – no pun intended – hungry for health and nutrition information,” he said. “We are able to dispel myths and put people on the right path to a healthier, more nutritious future for themselves and their families. Many people who are committed to that decision realize they can make the changes to help themselves avoid a lifetime of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes simply by eating healthier foods with purpose. Once they realize that, it’s an amazing thing.”
AdventHealth’s Collaborative Community Council partners with organizations such as HEBNI to create effective, impactful solutions that can improve community health and reduce preventable medical costs.
Since 2005, the Collaborative Community Council, formerly known as Community Health Impact Council, has invested more than $15 million in 60 programs across the tri-county area and impacted more than 151,000 people.
Funding is available for one to three years for programs with a strong emphasis on clearly defined metrics that show success and impact on the community. AdventHealth seeks to fund programs that align with the 2020-2022 community health focus areas and address social determinants for health among individuals and the greater community.
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