October 2000

Mission and Ministry Fund—Growing Initiatives

Belair-Edison Healthy Community Coalition St. Joseph Medical Center Towson, Md. Grant: $55,900 The Belair-Edison neighborhood in Baltimore is at a crossroads. It is one of only five racially integrated neighborhoods in the city in which more than 75 percent of homes are owner-occupied. However, the neighborhood was recently the site of five drug-related murders, which have had a deep impact on the entire community. The Belair-Edison Healthy Communities Coalition was established to address residents’ concerns about crime and the lack of activities for young people and senior citizens in the neighborhood. Current members of the coalition include the Belair-Edison Housing Service and Community Association, St. Joseph Medical Center, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and the Catholic High School of Baltimore, which is located at the heart of the neighborhood. However, the coalition has lacked the financial resources needed to facilitate community ownership of the process. With this grant, the coalition will expand its membership and build on its work to date by engaging a part-time community organizer, refining its goals and evaluating a potential site for a community recreation center. Berks County Coalition St. Joseph Medical Center Reading, Pa. Grant: $62,000 Since 1995, the Berks County Coalition has worked to improve the quality of life in Berks County and more than 1,200 people have been involved in this grassroots, volunteer-driven community effort. The coalition implemented a Community Indicators Project that produced data indicating that issues related to the local Latino community require more attention. The coalition partners, which include St. Joseph Medical Center, will expand the coalition to focus more directly on the needs of the large Latino population in the city of Reading. Stakeholder meetings led by a Hispanic facilitator and conducted in Spanish will help bring more members of the Latino community into the work of the coalition. Discussions with leaders of the Latino community also indicate a grave concern for Latino youth, which the coalition will address through an asset-building program for youth developed by the Search Institute, as well as educational and mentoring programs. Community Health Partners St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center Lincoln, Neb. Grant: $75,000 Community Health Partners was initiated in 1994 by St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center and the Lincoln/ Lancaster County Health Department. The coalition conducted focus groups to determine the community’s perception of health and implemented a process to prioritize health concerns. However, the coalition’s progress stalled due to resource limitations and the lack of a dedicated coordinator. In addition, a rapidly growing minority population has caused a major change in the health care dynamics of the community. The coalition will use this grant to expand its Coordinating Committee and membership to reflect the diversity of the city of Lincoln and Lancaster County; to enhance its effectiveness through the hiring of staff and a facilitator; to increase its capacity to identify and address priority health concerns; and to evaluate specific health indicators and outcomes. The partners anticipate conducting small group community meetings as well as a major community-wide stakeholder rally to engage residents in this work. Healthy Community Network Saint Francis Medical Center Grand Island, Neb. Grant: $48,000 During the past 10 years there have been attempts to mobilize community leaders to develop a vision for a healthy community in the Grand Island area, but these efforts have provided few tangible outcomes. In 1995, Saint Francis Medical Center conducted a community health needs assessment for Hall County, which utilized 11 focus groups and 17 community partners to determine three areas of concern. In 1996, this partnership hosted a Healthy Community Seminar for 150 community leaders. While some worthwhile projects evolved from this work, a lack of infrastructure made it difficult to continue collaborative efforts for improving community health. With this grant, Saint Francis will facilitate the next steps in the process of building a healthy community by developing a core group of leaders and utilizing proven tools to document community assets and needs. The partners will hire a full-time coordinator; adopt the TRIPP-Umbach Healthy Community Improvement Process now being utilized in other Nebraska communities to determine assets and needs; identify priority areas of concern; and develop action plans to address them.