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Centura supports local nonprofit health equity efforts

Centura Health gave grants to a record 61 organizations for the Health Equity & Advancement Fund.
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Concerns for the health and well being of people is one thing that ties Centura Health to many many local nonprofits. This week the healthcare organization further supports the missions of its allies by awarding $5 million in grants. 

The program began in 2021 and extends Centura’s mission to do more to meet the mental health, food security, social justice and equity needs in Colorado and western Kansas. 

Oswaldo Grenardo, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Centura Health believes that by supporting local nonprofits through the Health Equity and Advancement Fund, Centura Health is providing new opportunities to enhance the health and wellbeing of the region. 

 “From feeding our friends and neighbors who face food insecurity to those battling to get equal access to health care, these new and expanded community partnerships allow us to reach people who might otherwise continue to struggle.  It is truly a blessing to be here for those that our mission calls us to serve,” Grenardo said in a press release. 

Grant winners were divided into three categories: organizations dedicated to food security, mental health and social justice work. 

Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley, FRIENDS of Broomfield and Veterans Community Project received awards due to each organization’s efforts in mental health work. 

Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley is a victim service organization, that serves victims of domestic violence, family violence, abuse in later life and human trafficking. Some of the services they provide for victims include counseling, education, crisis intervention and even legal aid. 

This often sensitive work requires the skills and hard work of advocates and managers to continue. 

“A 2019 survey of 88% of Colorado domestic violence programs found that on the day of the survey, participating programs reported serving 1,221 adults and children; on that same day, 269 needs were unmet due to lack of resources,” according to A Woman’s Place website.

“That (grant) helps us with our mission, that helps us because in the nonprofit sector we’re always raising money, we’re always looking for funding to pay for the work we do. This grant will enable us to continue to operate the excellent services and programs that we offer to our community,” Jackie List, executive director of Safe Shelter said. 

FRIENDS of Broomfield received a grant for their work with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

According to Gina Coufal, the CEO and founder of FRIENDS of Broomfield,  the funds will enable FRIENDS  to develop an inhouse behavioral therapy program. 

“We certainly provide services to a marginalized population and they are often Medicaid dependent on whether or not they are able to access services that provide mental health support. So we thought it would be wise to see if we could require the funding necessary to be able to start something within our own organization,” Coufal said. 

In Longmont the Veterans Community Project felt its mission was similar to Centura’s. Jennifer Seybold, the executive director of VCP, believes that a lot of health goes beyond the clinical. 

VCP aims to help all veterans in any way it can with a focus on those experiencing homelessness or financial instability. 

“I love that they’re contributing in a major way to agencies and organizations that are kind of focused on the social determinants of health, which are all of those economic and access factors that impact health in a significant way. A lot of what we do is focused in that way too,” Seybold said. 

The money from the grant will go towards supporting case management efforts which include evaluating where a person might begin on their journey to being housed or financially stable.

Community Food Share supports local food banks in Boulder and Broomfield counties in an effort to eliminate hunger.

Some of their services include food pantries throughout the counties, a feeding family program allowing people to grocery shop for free once a week and they donate the food they raise to 40 plus partner agencies in order to integrate more food in distribution. 

For Dina Coates,  chief philanthropy officer at Community Food Share, healthcare and food relief institutions are aligned in their missions. 

“So we feel strongly, obviously, that healthcare institutions and food relief institutions should work hand in hand to keep all members of our community healthy and using nutritious food as preventive care, and education about that is very important. So we are very aligned with Centura in our practices and philosophies,” Coates said. 

Coates explained that this grant will allow the nonprofit to create and deliver prescription food boxes that include prepared meals, and 75% of the food will be fresh produce, dairy and proteins. A particular focus of this program is to help integrate more low income Latino elders to the food relief system. 

“We recognize there is a tremendous need in our community to ensure every family, every neighborhood and every community has the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible, which is why Centura took the bold step in 2022 and raised the fund from $1 million to $5 million,” Grenardo said.  “As neighbors serving neighbors, our mission calls us to do more, and we are excited to see the positive impact our grants will have on the world around us.”