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BFMC awarding $50,000 in grant money to nonprofit groups

GREENFIELD — Baystate Franklin Medical Center will award a total of $50,000 to one or two locally based projects that aim to improve the overall health and wellness of the community.

The best proposals, to be submitted by local nonprofit organizations, will identify public health areas of need and then come up with a solution that “solve the problems before they become problems,” said Frank Robinson, director of community health planning for the Baystate Health system.

For example, Springfield has taken advantage of a “Farm to Preschool and Families” project — an initiative that introduces preschool children to high quality, locally grown produce to educate them on healthy eating habits.

“It becomes a win-win,” Robinson said. “The hospital gets healthier patients, the community becomes healthier people.”

For this grant, which requires applications by Monday afternoon, BFMC is seeking broad-based projects that will provide lasting impact in one of three areas: health and wellness, chronic disease prevention and chronic disease management.

The projects would target people in need in the hospital’s primary service area: Franklin County, the North Quabbin region and the southern part of Vermont’s Windham County.

And although the full impact of broad-based projects may not be immediately known, said Robinson, the grant asks applicants to submit an evaluation plan to measure the project’s results over time.

An evaluation committee — part of the hospital’s Community Benefits Advisory Council, and made up of area educators, public health experts and human services providers — will review the grants and make a decision next month. The $50,000 will either be awarded to one project or divided between two projects.

The grants come after the completion of Baystate Medical Center’s new $45 million emergency room, which opened this week in Springfield.

Based on the construction cost, the health system is required by the state’s department of public health to allocate $2 million toward community health programs, said Amy Swisher, the hospital’s director of public affairs and communications.

Most of the money will stay in Springfield, but BFMC and Baystate Mary Lane Hospital have each received $150,000 to give out in grants over the next three years, she said.

BFMC sent out its grant application to nonprofits in the Franklin County Resource Network and the North Quabbin Community Coalition.

Applications due Monday

Applications can be sent into Swisher at amy.swisher@baystatehealth.org, and are due by 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
cshores@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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