A message from Chet Hewitt
Happy New Year. No doubt many of you have offered this time-honored annual greeting to family, friends and colleagues countless times over the past several weeks. And this year the phrase may be more accurate than it has been in a long time for Californians. Why? Because it seems that important decisions made last year — health reform and passage of revenue-raising ballot initiatives, in particular — have set the stage for California to make significant progress on a number of health-related fronts this year.
The governor’s recent budget proposal would seem to be an early indicator suggesting this may be more than wishful thinking. Released on Jan. 10, the balanced budget brings an end to the annual debt and program reduction crisis that has plagued the state for far too long. Important investments in California’s K-12, higher education and health care systems are forthcoming, thanks to new revenue from the passage of Propositions 30 and 39.
Revenue directed toward education will add back instruction days and eliminate tuition and fee increases, while health care investments will expand Medi-Cal to low-income adults who currently are excluded. This will ensure millions of uninsured Californians will get access to health coverage and health care as envisioned under federal health care reform. While this is very, very good news, it’s important to remember that we must still work to make access to coverage available to the estimated 4 million state residents who will remain uninsured.
A concomitant theme emerging in state health policy discussions is the importance of improving population health. The goal: use prevention and health promotion strategies to address America’s epidemic of chronic illness and thereby reduce health care costs and health disparities over time. Maintaining existing federal support and growing state support for investments in these efforts is essential if we hope to make and sustain long-term health and quality of life improvements for those being left behind.
And there is even good news, of sorts, on the social service front. While no major investments are planned outside of increased support for the implementation of CalWORKs eligibility requirements, no new reductions in benefits or childcare were proposed.
As a foundation committed to the elimination of health disparities, we know that investments in education, health care, job training and the delivery of social service programs can help families and communities maintain, and even improve, their health. And while we understand that important steps forward like those discussed above do not by themselves guarantee improvements in health, we do appreciate that they are essential to catalyzing change for the better. In this regard, we would be remiss if we didn’t congratulate the governor and his able staff, the leadership of the legislature and voters for making these investments possible.
If the theme for the coming year is change, then we at Sierra Health Foundation feel as if we fit right in. We, too, are seeing fruit borne from tough decisions made last year. This month we formally opened the Center for Health Program Management. The Center will increase our ability to facilitate improvements in communities experiencing health inequity across and beyond our current funding region. Buttressed by the addition of experienced senior evaluation, program management and communication staff, the Center's purpose is straightforward: connect our successful history of assisting underserved communities build powerful and successful collaboratives for change to an infrastructure designed to increase external support and investment in the places where it is most needed.
We view the recent announcement that we were selected as a national Convergence Partnership awardee as yet another sign that our willingness to take thoughtful risk will pay off. (See article below.) Like all good investments that move us forward, the steps we’ve taken don’t guarantee success by themselves. They do, however, give us hope and a fighting chance to catalyze important change. We’ll take both as we continue our mission of promoting good health and well-being for all.
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Sierra Health Foundation awarded $200,000 to build healthier communities
The Convergence Partnership, a collaboration of eight of the nation’s leading funders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has awarded $200,000 to Sierra Health Foundation to support our work building healthier, more equitable communities.
The awards honor new or expanded local and regional initiatives that help ensure all people can live, work and play in healthy communities. Sierra Health is one of 13 local foundations in the United States to be recognized with a 2012 Innovation Fund award. Grants totaled $1.85 million, with a required foundation match of $2 for every $1 awarded.
Our funding will be used to establish an influential alliance of community organizations, leaders and residents who will develop, advocate for and implement regional health policies that benefit the Sacramento region. This effort will focus on creating a network of organizations directly linked to and rooted in the Sacramento region’s most marginalized racial, ethnic and cultural communities.
Read the full news release.
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Employment opportunity available
We are accepting applications for a Health Care Program Officer position. See the position description and application submission instructions on our Employment Opportunities web page.
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Responsive Grants Program continues in 2013
Now in its sixth year, the Responsive Grants Program continues to support projects that improve the health and well-being of people throughout our 26-county funding region. We will offer two funding rounds in 2013, with a total of $500,000 available.
Grants up to $15,000 are available to nonprofit organizations and public agencies. We will award at least 30 percent for projects serving rural areas of the region.
Grant applications are due by noon on March 4.
We will hold a proposers’ conference webinar on Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Participation in the webinar is recommended, but not required.
Learn more about the funding opportunity, register for the webinar and download application materials on the Sierra Health web site.
Please send all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Funding available for minority-led organizations
In partnership with The California Endowment, for the third year we will support organizational capacity building and leadership development activities for minority-led organizations serving in our 26-county funding region.
Competitive grants up to $10,000 are available to minority-led, community-based nonprofit organizations serving communities of color. This funding round is open to youth-focused organizations addressing health disparities. We will award a total of $60,000.
Applications are due by noon on Feb. 19. For more information about the funding opportunity, to sign up for the proposers’ webinar and to download application materials, please visit the Sierra Health web site.
Send any questions to email@example.com.
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Grant supports comprehensive approach to substance abuse treatment
We recently awarded a $100,000 grant to Community Recovery Resources (CoRR) of Grass Valley to support the construction and operation of an expanded campus, which will offer a comprehensive, accessible and fully integrated continuum of treatment for substance abuse. The campus will meet a tremendous need in rural foothill communities. On any given day, more than 2,000 people are participating in recovery and wellness services at CoRR sites throughout Nevada and Placer counties.
The continuum of care delivered by the campus recovery and wellness center will include therapy, counseling, psychiatric and medical treatment, and residential and transition services, as well as childcare and a preschool for children of participating clients. The wellness center also will offer adolescent residential programs for teens who need help with substance abuse issues.
“Comprehensive and integrated programs such as the campus are a necessity for rural communities like ours to address community health,” explained Warren Daniels, CEO of CoRR. “We are committed to ensuring that Nevada County’s campus, the first of its kind in the nation, truly serves our community’s healthcare needs and can serve as a model for other rural communities.”
CoRR’s compelling business plan inspired the foundation’s investment in this enhanced system of care and will provide stability during the critical construction and ramp-up period. Over the next three years, the center will realize other funding streams and become self-sustaining through publicly funded programs, private pay and medical insurance reimbursement.
“We understand that comprehensive models like CoRR’s, which integrate primary care and specialty care services, improve the health of individuals, increase community health and reduce the cost of health care in this country,” said Sierra Health Foundation President and CEO Chet Hewitt. “It is inspiring to help facilitate sustainable system change in the treatment of the disease of addiction as we support a local solution for today and a national model for tomorrow.”
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Challenge grant bridges urgent funding gap at Tubman House
Sacramento’s Tubman House helps young parents become self-sufficient through a comprehensive 18-month program focused on youth development, the strengthening of physical and mental health, educational attainment, career development and financial management skills. After graduating from the program, the majority of young parents move on to successful and independent lives.
As covered by The Sacramento Bee, federal funding for Tubman House stopped abruptly without explanation in October 2012. Although Tubman House had been actively developing other income streams, the sudden end to funding created an immediate need for assistance to keep the doors open while long-term funding solutions could be finalized. To help fill the short-term gap, Sierra Health Foundation offered a $25,000 challenge grant designed to spark contributions from the community.
As Tubman House Executive Director Bridget Alexander explains, “We began this campaign hoping to keep our doors open through the winter and through the graduation of all our current clients. We now are confident that we have the time we need to sustain Tubman in the long term. We are so grateful for Sierra Health’s investment in our campaign. It was the most critical factor in driving a second wave of giving, and keeping us open so that we could continue this campaign.”
By the time the campaign ended in December, Tubman House had received donations from more than 400 new donors and nine new foundations/civic groups, raising a total of $85,000.
“We were confident that Tubman House had a sustainable funding model for the future, and we wanted to spark support from others in the community to bridge a short-term and urgent funding gap,” explained Sierra Health Foundation Vice President of Programs and Partnerships Diane Littlefield. “We are inspired by the housing and wide range of educational, career and emotional resources they offer to homeless young parents who seek a healthful life for themselves and their children.”
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REACH partner awarded Race to the Top grant
In December, the U.S. Department of Education announced the new slate of Race to the Top awardees and Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD), a former grantee funded through our REACH Youth Program, was among the select few.
The school district was awarded $10 million that will help strengthen the district by personalizing learning, implementing college and career standards, and ensuring accountability, personalizing staff evaluations and creating Bright Future Centers at every GJUESD location that promotes family and student learning.
The award builds off the REACH work and helps bring to fruition many of the goals of the city’s Youth Master Plan, another significant accomplishment during the community’s involvement in the REACH Youth Program.
Learn more about the district’s Race to the Top award on the GJUESD web site.
Learn more about the REACH Youth Program on Sierra Health’s web site.
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Nonprofit Innovation Center Tenant Spotlight: Western Clinicians Network
By Casie Parrish, EMPA
Western Clinicians Network
Western Clinicians Network (WCN) is a peer-led, volunteer, professional association of medical and dental leaders of community health centers and other safety-net clinics that provide services to the socially and economically disadvantaged members of their communities.
Founded in 1993, WCN was created to facilitate the convening and provision of training and technical assistance to the medical directors and other clinical leaders of community health centers who are dedicated to serving the medically underserved. In February 2010, WCN transitioned from a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, educational association to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, community-benefit association.
WCN provides education, training, peer support and research in order to improve primary care and public health. The mission of WCN is to advance access to quality health care for the medically underserved by improving the abilities of, and providing opportunities for, clinical leaders to promote innovation and transform care delivery among community clinics and health centers.
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