Last updated: August 23, 2017 - 2:12pm
DANVILLE — In a first for Geisinger, the health system is handing out $1 million in grants to non-profit groups in 43 counties for “unmet social needs,” with the largest piece locally, $200,000, going to the Danville Area School District to resurface the stadium track and open it to the community.
Next year, a Geisinger press release said, the amount to be given out could double to $2 million; an application process for the second round of grants will soon be announced.
“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,” David T. Feinberg, M.D., Geisinger president and CEO, said in a press release. “We have awarded grants to those organizations we intend to work alongside as we transform health care at its core by focusing on preventive care.”
Other local grants announced Wednesday:
• $100,000 to the Ronald McDonald House for a new family room at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, Danville;
• $80,000 to the Central PA Food Bank;
• $20,000 to The United Way of Columbia County for projects addressing childhood obesity and housing insecurity;
• $17,500 to Columbia County schools to fund the installation of 10 Ga-Ga ball pits at various playgrounds;
• $13,000 to AGAPE, Columbia County, to support its Backpack Program, which discreetly provides nutritious food to 1,000 children every week;
• $10,000 to The United Way of Danville Area to support programs aimed at food insecurity and childhood obesity;
• $8,000 to the Central PA Access to Wellness Coalition to expand a pilot program aimed at increasing access to transportation for individuals in need;
• $6,500 to Camp ENERGY to provide scholarships and financial assistance for children to attend the camp, which focuses on healthy lifestyles.
• $5,000 to The United Way of Berwick for its “Fruit and Vegetable Prescription” program to promote the use of fresh, healthy foods in meals.
• $5,000 to the Columbia County Housing Corp. to assist individuals in purchasing a car.
• Also, $43,000 in Geisinger’s Central Region to combat the opioid epidemic. It will provide training for 15 individuals to present a program, “Too Good for Drugs,” in regional schools. This grant also supported the addiction-medicine certification of a local physician to better serve those suffering from opioid addiction.
“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.
“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.”