SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health awarded $1.2 million in Better Together Grants to 17 community-based nonprofit organizations as part of its Community Benefits Program.
“Baystate Health is proud to invest our Determination of Need Community Health Initiative funding in the communities served by all four of our hospitals,” said Annamarie Golden, director of Community Relations for Baystate Health. “We are honored to partner with these deserving local nonprofit organizations over the next three years.”
This year’s recipients — who submitted requests for proposals in the fall of 2020, include Community Action Pioneer Valley, Just Roots, Musica Franklin, Stone Soup Café, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke Inc., Girls Inc. of the Valley, Project Coach, ROCA, Community Adolescent Resource and Education (CARE) Center Inc., the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Mental Health Assoc. & CORE of Greater Westfield, the town of Blandford, Quaboag Hills Community Coalition, Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp., Greater Springfield Senior Services, the Alzheimer’s Assoc., and the Literacy Project.
“Baystate’s Community Benefits Program, in partnership with our hospital Community Benefits Advisory Councils and grant-review teams, is making investments through Better Together grants that will have lasting and meaningful impacts on health outcomes, health equity, and social determinants of health throughout the Pioneer Valley,” Golden said.
For this RFP, each hospital’s Community Benefits Advisory Council chose a specific social determinant of health on which to focus the funding. Both Baystate Franklin Medical Center and Baystate Wing Hospital chose to target the social environment, which will fund projects around reducing social isolation, social support for youth, building connectedness to community for low-income adults, and social justice. Baystate Medical Center funded projects in the region aimed at education, with a mix of strategies looking at after-school and summer programming for youth, access to education for young mothers, and creating opportunities for educational advancements to at-risk adolescents. Baystate Noble Hospital funded projects in the Greater Westfield region look at the built environment, aimed at providing increased access to food, access to recovery support, and educating older adults on digital literacy to increase access to medical care.
“The CARE Center is so thrilled to receive a Baystate Better Together grant, which will help women earn college degrees at Bard Microcollege Holyoke, the nation’s first college designed for low-income young mothers,” said Jane Slater of the CARE Center. “We are also excited to work with the Baystate team to hone our systems to measure the impact of this powerful new college model.”
Jessica O’Neill, executive director of Just Roots, added that “local food, when made accessible, serves as a powerful connector, helping to bridge and celebrate cultures, introduce neighbors, engage family members, and knit together communities. In two years’ time, the Baystate Health’s Better Together award will support over 8,000 instances of local food and community connection for 150 Franklin County families disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, isolation, and health disparities.”