BHF Gifts Nearly $200,000 to Improve Health in Bloomington and Surrounding Communities

(BLOOMINGTON) – The Bloomington Health Foundation (BHF) announced significant investments totaling nearly $200,000 in support of local organizations that are addressing the community’s most pressing health needs.

The announcement was made in the presence of more than 175 guests at the foundation’s Annual Holiday Celebration on December 10 at the Indiana Memorial Union.

BHF President & CEO Jon Barada with City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Staff and Parks Foundation Board Members: Jim Murphy, Paula McDevitt, Debbie Lemon, Chris Quackenbush, Marcia Veldman, and Chris Hawk. Photo by Robert Stoffer

“Every three years, our community conducts a community health needs assessment. This effort, a partnership between the Monroe County Health Department, IU Health and Indiana University, outlines priority areas that are specific to our community. We have used this assessment to help guide our thinking about where best we can impact our community,” said Jon Barada, BHF President and CEO.

Two persistent challenges outlined by the report are access to reliable transportation for nonemergency medical appointments and chronic disease prevention and management, which is directly related to healthy food access.

Reliable transportation is a significant barrier for many in the community seeking access to health care. The American Hospital Association reports that every year, 3.6 million individuals miss medical appointments due to lack of transportation. One estimate indicates that in Monroe County alone, nearly 200 requests for rides go unfilled each month due to a lack of transportation capacity. BHF announced two initiatives designed to alleviate the barriers of nonemergency medical transportation.

First, in collaboration with local funding partners including Cook Medical, Boston Scientific, Curry Auto Center, Community Cars, Local Council of Women, Tedd and Tara Green and Scott and Pam Walters, they announced a grant to Area 10 Agency on Aging to purchase and operate a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Area 10 Agency has been transporting people to their medical appointments, via Rural Transit, for 35 years, with a focus on those who live in rural parts of the county.

Second, BHF committed immediate funding via transportation vouchers, in partnership with ten local organizations that are on the front lines of helping people receive services and medical treatment: IU Health, Centerstone, Volunteers in Medicine, Amethyst House, Shalom Center, New Hope Family Shelter, Wheeler Mission, Catholic Charities, Middle Way House and Be Loved Transportation. As part of this funding agreement, BHF is requesting partners to track the types of rides needed and the destination points in order to better understand the medical transportation needs of the community.

The second challenge identified by the Community Health Needs Assessment is chronic disease prevention. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation states that healthy food incentive programs are an evidenced-based method to increase healthy food access and consumption, leading to prevention and management of chronic disease. 

In partnership with the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market and the Bloomington Parks Foundation, BHF announced a grant to support a significant expansion of the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for Seniors and the Women Infant and Children, or WIC, populations at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market.

Barada closed the evening by saying, “We believe that targeted, philanthropic health-related giving is critical in reaching the goal of a healthier life for all of us, at every stage in our lives. We look for others who share our passion, who are willing to tackle the tough challenges with us and who believe that standing together is the way to change the community for the better.”

About Bloomington Health Foundation:Bloomington Health Foundation invests philanthropic support in partnership with the people and organizations of our community by convening, seeking input and leveraging existing assets to implement innovative, evidence-based solutions to our community’s health concerns. Our longstanding history, local connection and proven ability to solve health problems inspires us to continually work to improve lives. Our staff and board members are passionate people who work to tackle tough problems and find innovative solutions for our community.

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