Superior Health Foundation awards over $107,000 at Spring Grants Celebration

MARQUETTE — The Superior Health Foundation awarded grants to several organizations from across the UP Wednesday night at their Spring Grants Celebration. The celebration took place at the Holiday Inn, where $107,329.53 worth of grants was awarded to organizations that focus on healthcare needs, education, and promotion.

Eight large grants were awarded just over $80,000 worth of grants, and an $25,000 was awarded to mini grants and indigent care funding, and all of the grants help out a diverse group of organizations.

“Every organization is unique,” said SHF executive director Jim LaJoie. “Some organizations can get a grant for $20,000, and we help them, and we have a few of those here tonight. And then there are other organizations that get mini grants that are less than $2,500, but they make an incredible impression and difference in their organization. So we appeal to all of those different areas and different needs, and we take that with great pride.”

The Superior Health Foundation has awarded nearly $2.3 million in grants in its’ six and a half years of existence.

Along with the $15,190.70 awarded to several mini grant recipients, the large grant recipients which received a total of $82,138.83 are:

  • UP Children’s Therapy – Marquette ($3,000) – The UP Children’s Therapy was created in the fall of 2017 as a home for the summer speech program previously hosted by the YMCA, Bell Foundation and Easter Seals. The six-week program provides two sessions of therapy per week to children, generally between the ages of 3 and 12. Children are referred by their school speech therapist, and their educational program forms the basis for the summer. The money will go toward funding of this program.
  • Munising Memorial Hospital ($4,284) – A year ago, Munising Memorial Hospital began providing physician services to the Burt Township Health Center located in the township offices in Grand Marias. This grant will purchase a new exam table in the Burt Township Health Center.
  • Gogebic Range Health Foundation ($4,995) – The Gogebic Range Health Foundation collaborated with Michigan’s Western Gateway Trail Authority to create Iron Belle Wheeler’s, which is a volunteer-run program that provides access to the Iron Belle Trail by offering bicycle rides to individuals who cannot ride a bicycle independently. To further help people in the community access the trail, they will purchase another wheelchair power-assist bicycle to expand the capacity offered.
  • Lake Superior Hospice ($6,695) – Lake Superior Hospice is a community-based, non-profit agency that has served hospice patients in Marquette and Alger counties since 1979. In order to keep up with the demand of hospice care patients needing a wide variety of services, they seek more volunteers. This funding will go toward a “Lunch and Learn” that will bring its trained volunteers together quarterly to discuss experiences and challenges they face on a regular basis when working with patients. They will also provide them with supplies, a computer and activity bags for engaging with patients.
  • Helen Newberry Joy Hospital ($7,524.83) – In the eastern U.P., there are four eye care specialists serving nearly 5,000 Medicaid recipients in Luce, Mackinac, Schoolcraft and Alger Counties. For many people in the eastern U.P, that model requires them to travel more than 60 miles, one-way, for their annual Diabetic Retinopathy Screening (DRS). Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults in the U.S. With this grant, they will develop a Diabetic Retinopathy Telehealth Project to help eliminate some of the barriers facing the care team.
  • Cedar Tree Institute ($15,640) – The Cedar Tree Institute is a non-profit organization providing services and initiating projects in mental health, religion and the environment. It offers mental health services on an individual basis and works with faith communities and environmental groups. It has created the Horizon Project, a wellness and health initiative designed to address the elevated levels of stress among elderly citizens on matters related to decisions about medical care, grief about the loss of mobility, fear of diminishing relationships and anxiety regarding end-of-life issues. Funding will go toward phase 1 of the project.
  • Michigan State University – Department of Pediatrics and Human Development ($20,000) – The MSU College of Human Medicine has campuses around the state, including Marquette and Escanaba. The Department of Pediatrics and Human Development seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of children across the state. One way is by providing one half-day per week tele-consultation services for physicians and other providers involved with the care of children in the Marquette area with autism and/or behavioral and mental health issues. MSU will provide access to MSU faculty in child psychiatry and/or developmental-behavioral pediatrics. These tele-consultation services will complement and help sustain plans for expanded autism and pediatric behavioral health services in the Marquette area.
  • Northern Michigan University ($20,000) – The Behavioral Education, Assessment & Research (BEAR) Center at NMU is a free university clinic and research facility that provides behavioral assessment, consultation and therapeutic services for children with autism, developmental disabilities, language-deficits and other behavioral concerns. The Center largely utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) during services. ABA is the application of methods and strategies to solve socially significant problems. The U.P. is currently experiencing a shortage of trained professionals who possess the appropriate training or credentials to provide ABA services. This funding will help develop a professional association to support educational and development needs of professionals working in areas related to ABA techniques.

The two indigent care funding recipients are:

  • Cancer Care of Marquette County ($5,000) – Cancer Care of Marquette County has served cancer patients since 1958. It passed a resolution that all of the funding must benefit Marquette County residents. The organization provides financial support to those with a cancer diagnosis who are unable to respond to the healthcare costs caused by their disease and its treatment. Funding will go to patient care services.
  • Great Lakes Recovery Centers ($5,000) – Great Lakes Recovery Centers is a 501©3 organization that provides behavioral health services across the U.P. One service they offer is the Compassionate Care Fund,  which helps patients who are uninsured, underinsured, not eligible for governmental or community funding, and do not have the means to pay for services to undergo or continue treatment. The grant will go toward the Compassionate Care Fund.