URBANA — Provena Covenant Medical Center Foundation has launched a new grant program for area nonprofit groups, with the aim of addressing community health problems such as obesity and domestic violence.
The new program, nicknamed "FAITH Squared," is expected to make grants of $5,000 to $50,000.
Nonprofits interested in applying for the grants can submit a letter of intent to the foundation by March 30.
Invitations for applications will go out in April, and the awards are likely to be announced in early July, said Paul Donohue, vice president of the foundation.
Donohue said the foundation created a $2.5 million endowment fund to support the grant program long-term. The foundation also opened a $250,000 deposit account to get the program off the ground.
The program — formally known as Fund for Accelerated Innovation Towards Healing and Hope (FAITH) — is intended to address community health needs identified in the hospital's community benefits plan.
Besides obesity and domestic violence, those needs include abuse and access to care.
Foundation board Chair Mark Palmer said the goal is to help the community respond to chronic health issues that ultimately affect the hospital.
"These grant funds are not intended to be a solution," Donohue said. "They're only intended to help."
Donohue said the foundation is looking for grant proposals that are both innovative and collaborative.
The money can't be used for fundraising, ongoing operations or covering debt, nor can it be used for scholarships.
A volunteer committee led by foundation board member Bridget To developed the program and will decide which organizations will be invited to apply. The committee will also recommend recipients to the foundation's board.
Eugene Barnes, executive director of Metanoia Centers and a member of the volunteer committee, said nonprofits will be happy to have another source of money because they're "always chasing the dollar."
Donohue said the grant program "pales in comparison" to what the hospital already does for the community.
He said Provena Covenant provides more than $20 million in community benefits each year, mostly in terms of charity and uncompensated care.
Grant applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Provena Covenant's service area, or have such an organization as fiscal agent.
The hospital's primary service area includes most of Champaign County as well as north central Douglas County.
Its secondary service area takes in the rest of Douglas County, most of Piatt and Coles counties, southern Ford and Iroquois counties and small parts of Edgar, DeWitt, Vermilion, McLean and Moultrie counties.
More details about the FAITH program are available at http://www.provena.org/covenant/foundation .