16:04 PM

Northwestern Medicine Grant Initiative Directly Impacts Local Communities

Funding provided to 49 agencies in Northern Illinois

CHICAGO – August 25, 2022 – Northwestern Medicine serves patients across more than 10,000 square miles of Northern Illinois. To better address the diverse needs of individual communities, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare launched a grant initiative to address disparities highlighted in local Community Health Needs Assessments.

This funding initiative, which is just one facet of Northwestern Medicine’s community giving campaign, offered grants to local agencies supporting specific health and wellness projects. Northwestern Medicine awarded more than $1.7 million to 49 organizations that offer a wide range of services including housing, nutritional needs, transportation, childcare, mental health and primary care.

“Northwestern Medicine is committed to making our community as healthy as it can be,” said Posh Charles, senior vice president, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. “This initiative, which is just one way Northwestern Medicine contributes to the community, enhances our ability to provide highly targeted support to partners addressing priority health concerns in their individual locales.”

In fiscal year 2021, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare provided more than $1.14 billion in community benefits including charity care and the unreimbursed costs incurred caring for Medicaid and Medicare patients, training tomorrow’s health care workforce, conducting medical research, and other community benefits that help preserve access to care for the residents of Chicago, its suburbs and Northern Illinois.

The beneficiaries of the community grants range in size and scope from the YMCA of Metro Chicago to the Oak Forest Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, an organization that provides fully furnished twin beds for children who sleep on floors, couches and other situations without beds.

“Our goal is to collaborate and support local agencies to address healthcare disparities across all socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Charles. “We sought out organizations that are making a difference by removing barriers to better health.”

For example, consistent access to nutrition is the very basis for a healthy child and adult. Northern Illinois Food Bank will use the funds to focus on two initiatives. “Take 50 Foods to Encourage” provides an incentive for pantries to select more highly nutritious food.  The “Build Healthy Communities Screen & Intervene” connects local food banks with patients who screen as food insecure during healthcare visits.

“Our neighbors continue to struggle to meet the needs of their families across Northern Illinois. We are grateful to have partners, like Northwestern Medicine, who invest in our programs, which helps us ensure that our neighbors have access to the nutritious food that they need to thrive,” said Maeven Sipes, chief philanthropy officer, Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Kelly Hall YMCA in Chicago's West Humboldt Park neighborhood is using grant funding to expand its roster of popular group exercise classes. In addition to step classes, hip-hop aerobics and line dancing, the center is exploring options for tumbling classes, martial arts and other ways to meet members’ health and wellness needs. Beyond physical fitness, Kelly Hall Y hopes to use the funding to kick start programs for behavioral health, chronic disease prevention and nutrition, all to support a holistic approach to healthy living.

“As an organization, Kelly Hall YMCA, under the umbrella of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, is working to set a higher standard for health and wellness in a neighborhood historically afflicted by significant health disparities,” said Andre Goode, executive director, Kelly Hall YMCA. “Through this partnership with Northwestern Medicine, we have the chance to make significant strides on that front. The sky’s the limit for the impact we can have on our neighbors’ lives.”

In addition to grant funding, as part of Northwestern Medicine’s Team NM initiative, Northwestern Medicine employees build healthier communities through volunteer service and thoughtful actions. Team NM volunteers weed and water the Aurora Food Pantry’s Essential Garden, help sort and label food at the Northern Illinois Food Bank, collected coats for Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, put together beds for Sleep in Heavenly Peace, and assembled heart-healthy care packages for patients at Tri-City Health Partnership.