URBANA — Six local programs, including three aimed at better family nutrition, will share $65,714 in grant money from the Provena Covenant Medical Center Foundation.
The grants, the first being awarded in a new program called "Faith Squared," are set to be awarded later this morning, foundation officials said.
The largest grant, $24,000, is being awarded to the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center, to initiate an ongoing program with the help of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, Frances Nelson Health Center and the University of Illinois Extension.
The program is intended to provide parents of refugee and immigrant children training on how nutrition and diet affect obesity and how to access health care in the local community.
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde said the health district will be assisting this project by providing a few classes.
Other grants include:
— $20,000 to Faith in Place: To allow the central Illinois office to develop a healthy-eating curriculum such as cooking classes and canning workshops and education about healthy eating.
— $10,000 to Avicenna Community Health Center, 507 S. Second St., C, a clinic serving the uninsured and underinsured: To undertake preventive health care planning using biomedical technologies and a health exchange information network in an academia-community partnership.
— $6,275 to Daily Bread Soup Kitchen: To provide a small office staffed during soup kitchen hours to serve as a help desk for the homeless on a variety of topics.
— $4,200 to St. Matthew Lutheran Church Sola Gratia Farm: To implement the Farmer's Classroom to provide hands-on instruction for adults to prepare and include fresh vegetables in daily family meals and an interactive program for children to help them better appreciate vegetables.
— $1,239 to Illini Medical Screening Society: To fund one semester of screenings for this University of Illinois student volunteer group that provides health screenings free of charge.
Bridget To, a foundation board member who chaired the Faith2 committee, said the committee received 33 letters of intent and invited 13 agencies and programs to make applications for grants.
All were exciting and making the selections was "extremely hard," she said.
All the applicants basically addressed the same focus, she said, but the six selected had the potential to affect the greatest number of people.
"We felt that the communities that these were going to impact really had not had the resources or the ability to learn some of what these six were going to offer," she said.
There will be another funding cycle and opportunity to apply for grants next spring, To said.
The Provena Covenant foundation first announced the grant program this past March to help address chronic health needs in the community and help advance Covenant's philanthropy mission.
Foundation board Chairman Mark Palmer said the grants will continue through an endowment.
"These (grants) are really catalysts to these organizations, not really meant to supplement their funding but more to get their feet off the ground," Palmer said.