The Michigan Health Endowment “Healthy Ottawa” Fund (MHEHOF) is a three-year re-granting initiative made possible by a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (MHEF) and leveraged funds from both GHACF and the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland area (CFHZ). Together we have awarded grants totaling $490,000 to organizations whose programs focus on youth, seniors, and other high-need populations.

The projects and programs that received funding demonstrated the most potential for advancing the three most critical needs identified within Ottawa County’s 2015 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP): mental health, access to health care, and promoting healthy behaviors around nutrition and exercise.

Grants awarded:

  • $40,000 to the Wayne Elhart be nice. Memorial Fund to provide matching funds for schools within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District to offer the “be nice.” education program on mental illness awareness and suicide prevention.
  • $55,000 to Holland Community Hospital to expand the School Nursing Program to the high school level in Holland Public Schools.
  • $70,000 to TCM Counseling to extend counseling and school services to the Holland/Zeeland area and to increase counseling and psychiatric services in the Tri-Cities.
  • $75,000 to Love INC of the Tri-Cities to expand the hours of the Free Health Clinic to more broadly meet the needs of the community.
  • $100,000 to the Ottawa County Food Policy Council to expand Project Fresh for seniors, grow the Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Meal program for low-income children, increase access to Community Supported Agriculture, and launch the Prescription for Health program to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • $150,000 to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health to launch Pathways to Better Health, an evidence-based community health worker model that has been proven to reduce health care costs while improving health outcomes for patients.

These grants will help our community make meaningful progress on our highest priority health issues and have a county-wide impact towards solving some of our most complex public health issues.

“On behalf of our collaborative partners and our community members, I am sincerely thankful to the foundations for the Pathways to Better Health Community Health Worker project grant award,” said Lisa Stefanovsky from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “This project grew out of the 2015 Ottawa County Health Needs Assessment and planning process, which informed a large group of community partners that there are many challenges for people in accessing health services and achieving better health. This award will enable us to build the Pathways to Better Health model and move our community toward greater health and well-being.”

$330,000 of the grants came from the MHEF, with an additional $80,000 each from GHACF and CFHZ.

Applicants were prioritized according to the following criterion:

  • Programming that is new or expanded to serve a larger geographic area
  • Focuses impact on youth, seniors, or other high-need populations
  • Includes collaborative partnerships across multiple organizations
  • Is being led by a nonprofit with a high organizational and financial capacity with a past track record of leading successful programs

The review committee included representatives from both community foundations’ Grants Distribution Committees and Youth Advisory Committees.