Geisinger Community Health Fund announces inaugural donations
Awards totaling $1 million going to regional charities, could double to $2 million next year
DANVILLE, Pa. – Stable housing, fresh fruits and vegetables, and public transportation options are not often considered medical needs, yet they form the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Recognizing that a community’s unmet social needs can be detrimental to its health, Geisinger has announced the recipients of its inaugural round of $1 million community grants.
The awards have been granted to non-profit organizations throughout Geisinger’s 43-county service area that benefit the health, social and economic needs of the regions Geisinger serves.
“As we further partner with surrounding communities, we’re finding ZIP codes are as important as genomic codes when it comes to predicting the health of our patients,” said David T. Feinberg, M.D., Geisinger president and CEO. “The social determinants of health, which include a patient’s income, education, employment status and ethnicity, are often considered nonmedical needs, but they are all vital to positive health outcomes. We have awarded grants to those organizations we intend to work alongside as we transform healthcare at its core by focusing on preventive care."
Geisinger identified five key community health issues as the targeted focus for funding:
- Food insecurity and healthy choices
- Housing stability
- Opioid prevention and treatment
- Pediatric obesity
First-round funding projects include pediatric obesity prevention projects like summer camps, school backpack programs,food banks and exercise activities and equipment; transportation pilot projects to help patients get to and from regularly scheduled medical appointments; housing stability programs to help the homeless transition back into the community, funding for home repairs intended to keep families safe, and transitional housing to support families in crisis; opioid prevention and treatment programs including rent assistance and emergency funds to families affected by the opioid crisis, education and centers that provide young people a safe place from drug use; $225,000 to regional United Way agencies and additional grants to organizations like the Ronald McDonald House ($100,000) for a new family room at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville.
“Geisinger is committed to making a substantial impact by supporting those projects and programs that truly make a difference when it comes to improving the health and welfare of our patients, members, employees and our entire community,” said Janet Tomcavage, RN, MSN, Geisinger chief population health officer. “We also really want to make it clear that this level of investment is a great beginning. We intend to do more.”
Geisinger expects next year’s award amounts could double to up to $2 million. A formal application process will soon be announced for community applications.
“We really mean it when we say we want to keep people out of the hospital,” Tomcavage stressed. “We intend to support and provide further resources to organizations and programs who align with our goals of keeping the population healthy.”
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.