Owensboro Health announced the recipients of $644,406 in Community Health Investments grants Thursday morning.

Since 2009, OH has contributed more than $6.7 million to area agencies and nonprofits. The 2019 recipients provide public programs focused on the health system's four priority areas: curbing tobacco use, supporting older adults and aging, arts in healing, and children and school health.

This year's 37 recipients included school districts, youth mentoring programs, food pantries, public health organizations and nonprofits that serve low-income children, to name a few.

"Positive community change takes teamwork," said OH Board Chairman Jeff Carpenter.

Grant recipients serve as OH community partners, using their expertise in areas such as the performing arts, food distribution, mental health and dental care to improve health outcomes and create stronger communities. That collaboration provides a way for the health system to extend its outreach efforts and impact the community's health in ways that would be beyond its reach otherwise.

"You do so much good for us," Carpenter said to this year's grant recipients, who gathered for a ceremony at OH Regional Hospital’s auditorium Thursday.

As part of this year's grants, OH provided $10,000 to a new Spencer County youth program titled Success Through Mentoring. The health system grant is about one-third of the money needed to hire a part-time staff person who will connect adult mentors with at-risk youth who end up in the justice system.

"All of us can remember that adult in our lives who inspired us or gave us hope," said Spencer County Circuit Court Judge Jon Dartt.

He attended Thursday's ceremony at OH Regional Hospital. Dartt knew of other Spencer County agencies that had been successful OH grant recipients in the past, which encouraged Success Through Mentoring officials to apply.

"It is amazing to see an organization that wants to give back and make the community stronger," Dartt said of OH.

The International Center of Kentucky of Owensboro received a $20,000 award. Those funds will improve access to health care, provide health education and transportation for refugees who relocate to the area. The center recently hired a medical coordinator, who started earlier this week.

"A lot of our clients come here with no idea how Western medicine works," said Anna Allen, site director. "They have a language barrier when it comes to making appointments, and many of them don't have reliable transportation to get to appointments.”

Other OH grants will fund an ADA-compliant restroom at a T-ball field for the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Little Sluggers program, a kitchen and dining room renovation at The Salvation Army and an exercise area at the H.L. Neblett Community Center.

Greg Strahan, OH president and CEO, said the announcement of the health system’s grants marks the beginning of a “season of giving.”

The health system’s employees soon will take up donations for their annual food drive. Last year, they raised $34,000 and provided 50,000 meals to those in need, Strahan said.

He also highlighted ways in which OH has created positive changes. For example, it donated land to the Owensboro Regional Farmers Market so residents could buy fresh vegetables and locally sourced food.

Also, OH partnered recently with Wabuck Development Co., which plans to build an affordable-living senior housing complex near the health system’s Parrish Avenue campus. Strahan said the health system sold land to Wabuck at a reasonable price as a way to assist.

“Taking care of our patients extends beyond our facility,” Strahan said to the health system's community partners. “We depend on you and what you do in this community.”

Regional nonprofits and agencies that received Owensboro Health Community Health Investments grants for the upcoming fiscal year are:

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum; Bluegrass Music Programming as a Means to Enrich Community Wellness

Brescia University; Brescia University Clinical Psychology Program

CASA of Ohio Valley; Breaking the Cycle

Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club; Exergames

Community Dental Clinic; Expanding Access to Oral Healthcare, Educating the Community, and School Screenings Project

Daviess County Diabetes Coalition; Reducing Chronic Disease, Increasing Resiliency: CARE Direct

Daviess County Public Library; Get Healthy @ the Library!

Daviess County Public Schools; The Umbrella Project: A Mindful Movement

Girls Incorporated of Owensboro Daviess County; Girls Minds + Bodies Initiative

Green River District Health Department - DC-CAP; DC-CAP Improving Access to Care

Green River District Health Department - Quit Now; Quit Now Kentucky Program

H.L. Neblett Community Center; H.L. Neblett Comprehensive Health Initiative Project

Hancock County Partners Coalition; E-Cigarette Prevention and Cessation

Help Office of Hancock County, Inc.; Reducing Food Insecurity and Increasing Access to Basic Needs Assistance in Hancock County

Hope2All, Inc.; Combat Food Insecurities for Families and Seniors

Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Kentucky; Phase IV Palliative Care of Western Kentucky Continuing Education Drive

International Center of Kentucky; Refugee Health Coordination

Light of Chance, Inc.; Breathe Youth Arts Residency Program

Muhlenberg Co. Opportunity Center; Exploring Healthy Living

New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services; Transforming Trauma

Owensboro Dance Theatre, Inc.; Dance for Wellness Project

Owensboro Museum of Fine Art; Riverartes IV: The Art of Placemaking

Owensboro Public Schools; Comprehensive District Vision Project

OPS Foundation for Excellence; Owensboro High School Biomedical Project

Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition, Inc.; Community, Business and Professional Awareness Campaign for Suicide Prevention

Owensboro Symphony Orchestra; Music "On Call"

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Little Sluggers Program; Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Little Sluggers T-ball League

RiverPark Center; 2019-2020 Broadway and Pay What You Can Program

Senior Community Center of Owensboro-Daviess County, Inc.; Senior Community Center Frozen Meal Project

Success Through Mentoring — Spencer County; Success Through Mentoring

Supplies Over Seas; Hospital Recycling Partner

Susan G. Komen Evansville Tri-State; Saving Lives in Western Kentucky

The Salvation Army; Kitchen and Dining Room Renovation

The Way of Rockport Indiana, Inc.; Healthy Living Skills: Substance Abuses & Dental Program

Theatre Workshop of Owensboro; Spotlight on Kids

United Methodist Home of Kentucky, Inc. — Mary Kendall Campus; Capstone Project

Wendell Foster's Campus for Developmental Disabilities; Day Training Facility Upgrade

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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