Latest Hartford Foundation grants aim to dismantle structural racism with focus on access to health care – Hartford Courant

In a major boost for several organizations in the capital, the Hartford Foundation is providing more than $400,000 in grants to support efforts to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility.

In 2021, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving launched its Access Grants program to support nonprofit organizations aligned with its vision to eliminate racism and increase mobility for Black and Latino residents of Greater Hartford. In the first three funding cycles, the foundation has awarded more than $1.4 million to 41 organizations. This latest announcement is the fourth round of grants under the program to distribute a total of 11 grants to multiple organizations.

“We welcome new approaches and new partners whose work contributes to our strategic goals,” Megan Burke, Hartford Foundation director, Community Impact Grant Making, said in a press release.

In this round of access grants, the foundation considered 59 applications for up to $50,000 each, for work to be done over one year. Each of the funded projects recognizes the barriers faced by low-income populations and offers solutions to overcome those barriers, according to a press release from the foundation.

“Access grants are a way for the Foundation to identify these approaches and partners and gather community feedback,” Burke said. “The grants recommended here all offered a strong articulation of how their proposed efforts would make a meaningful contribution to dismantling structural racism in Greater Hartford.”

Of the 11 grants awarded, four are proposals to increase access to health care for residents of color and immigrants in Hartford.

“Part of the value of Access Grants for us is learning where the greatest needs in the community are – and we have heard loud and clear through the applications we have received, that there is a significant need in the community for efforts to help people access the care they need,” Burke said. “This is particularly true in the field of mental health care and it is recognized that the way in which our system is currently set up not working for many. But bringing services into schools or ensuring the cultural competency of health care providers are essential interventions to overcome these barriers to access.

Among the organizations that have received grants is the Connecticut Association of School Based Health Centers, which received $25,000. The health care advocacy group works with partners, provides resources and sponsors initiatives designed to increase the number of school health centers.

Today, there are more than 200 school health centers in the state, either comprehensive health sites or extended health sites, providing physical, mental and oral health services to more than 44,000 students. every year in 29 communities.

“In our quest to be truly statewide, we had to ask each region’s funding source, so part of this project is to map all school health center locations and care providers. overlapping pediatric and mental health care in the region,” CT Association said. from the Executive Director of School Health Centers, Melanie Wilde-Lane. “We are working with the Connecticut Children’s Care Network to determine which pediatric and mental health clinicians receive the most referrals outside of our school practices and which are also utilized.”

Lane said that when this part of the project is complete, an interactive mapping tool will be created on the agency’s website where parents can hover over schools and find out what services are provided at each school, including hours, contact details and suppliers used.

“Our hope is that it will be like a Google map of school health centers,” Lane said.

The organization also uses grant money to fund an annual conference and host discussions on best practices to serve school health centers in each community.

Other organizations like InterCommunity, a community health center that provides same-day primary care services to every community member who comes forward, regardless of living situation or ability to pay, have received a grant from $50,000.

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“Through this grant, we will be able to provide enhanced translation services to patients,” said Tyler Booth, COO of InterCommunity Health. “If you come for care but the messages aren’t in your native language or the staff can’t talk to you, that means you can’t follow up and get the care you need. Part of this grant will therefore include translated printed materials and the availability of staff ready to assist those in need of translation services. »

Booth said two of the most requested languages ​​are Spanish and Polish.

The organization also provides a wide range of behavioral health and addiction recovery services, while overseeing nine school health centers in Hartford and one in Manchester.

In 2020, InterCommunity established a diversity, equity and inclusion council called WE CARE (Working Endlessly for Cultural and Racial Equity). This group has played a pivotal role in steering the organization through its DE&I efforts. The Council works with experts who provide staff training and support to create a more inclusive, safe, compassionate and culturally sensitive environment for staff and clients. Employees from across the organization and at all levels participate in the Council.

“We ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion permeate everything we do,” Booth said. “It’s important because we need to make sure we reflect the patients we serve.”

Other organizations including Noah Webster House, The New England Air Museum, My People Community Services, Make The Road Connecticut, International Gospel Fellowship, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation, Hartford International University, and Hartford Parent University have also received a grant. up to $50,000 each.

Stephen Underwood can be contacted at [email protected]

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