St.Luke's Health Initiatives chooses CARE
When it comes to strengthening the health of a community, the standard approach is to focus on the problems and risks.
But a non-profit research group in Phoenix is moving to implement a new approach, what it calls "health in a new key." That strategy calls for building on existing strengths, encouraging resiliency.
As part of the approach, St. Luke's Health Initiatives is awarding $1.2 million in grants to nine Valley agencies that are seeking to improve the health and welfare of residents.
The grants are in addition to the $5 million each year that St. Luke's gives to a variety of groups for community grants, medical assistance and research projects in the state.
"The difference is the general approach," said Jane Pearson, the foundation's associate director. "The approach is not to have them (communities) talk about the things that are wrong with them. We want them to build on existing strengths and resources."
The "Health in a New Key" grants will be announced today at the foundation's luncheon, featuring former Arizona State University President Lattie Coor and a Northwestern University researcher who specializes in strength-based community development.
Looking to the good
"For us, especially when you go into communities of color or those with poor health outcomes, we tend to tell the communities everything that's bad about them: violence, lack of health outcomes, poor academic performance, child abuse cases, teen pregnancies," Pearson said. "Yet in spite of that, those communities have lots of strengths, so let's talk about what's good about this."
The lion's share of the extra funding will go to four community groups that were chosen from 76 other proposals for five-year, $50,000 grants. Mini-grants of $15,000 for one year are going to five other community groups.
One of the main recipients is the CARE Partnership, a non-profit group based in Mesa. It has "taken back its neighborhood by getting rid of the gangs or at least negotiating truces between gang members," Pearson said.
"They've gotten rid of the drug dealers, which is pretty remarkable," she said.
Other recipients are:
• Enlace por los Niños, which helps families negotiate adoptions and foster care in Hispanic communities to keep children in the neighborhoods in which they have grown up.
• Golden Gate Community Center, which has a new program called Promotoras de Bienestar or Promoters of Well-Being, to encourage community members to find resources that improve their overall well-being.
• Family Health Partnerships Maternal and Child Health, which is focusing on ways to improve the health of mothers and children.
Bev Tittle Baker, president and chief executive of CARE Partnership, said she was surprised by the award and is optimistic about what it means for her group.
"We're so excited about this opportunity. Our project will focus on leadership development and partnership mobilization. This will have a significant impact in our communities."
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