$550,000 in Grants Awarded to Promote Health in Stanislaus, Merced Counties

The Legacy Health Endowment is providing $550,000 in grant funding to promote health and wellness in Stanislaus and Merced counties.

These are the first grants awarded by the foundation, which was created in 2014 by Tenet Healthcare’s acquisition of Emanuel Medical Center of Turlock, which was then a nonprofit hospital. The foundation will distribute its funding in Emanuel’s former service area including west Modesto, the Turlock area, western Stanislaus County and part of Merced County.

Catholic Charities will receive $125,000 to fund homemaker services for the elderly and disabled. Individuals

who struggle to remain independent can receive help with home repairs and safety improvements, or they

could benefit from counseling, physical activity, respite care, help with preparing meals and transportation

to appointments.

Jeffrey Lewis, Legacy’s chief executive officer, said the goal of the Catholic Charities program is for residents to remain in their homes as long as possible.

Another $125,000 grant will support adult day services at Castle Family Health Centers in Atwater. People with age-related impairments receive therapeutic and social services at the Day Break adult day service program, which also allows family caregivers to work or take a break from 24/7 care.

Lewis said the funding for Day Break services will help 10 families that are not eligible for the Medi-Cal program.

The endowment also is giving $300,000 to promote wellness among employees who work for community health clinics. Golden Valley Health Centers and Livingston Community Health each will receive $150,000 over two years.

The grants aim to reduce employee turnover caused by chronic illness. Residents of the San Joaquin Valley suffer from higher rates of diabetes, asthma and heart disease than in other areas of California, and that takes a toll on patients as well as health care providers.

Lewis said the foundation’s 13-member board will continue to consider how charitable dollars can address the problems and shortcomings of health care in the region, such as nursing shortages and the difficulties of

recruiting physicians.

The Legacy endowment hopes to award $400,000 to $1 million in grant funds every year.

Another issue that could be addressed is the lack of mental health professionals and services for children and adults who suffer from mental disorders, Lewis said.

To inquire about homemaker services for seniors and the disabled, the Modesto office of Catholic Charities can be reached at 209-529-3784. The Day Break adult day service in Atwater can be reached at 209-357-0765.

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