Northwestern Medicine grant initiative directly impacts local communities

Northwestern Medicine serves patients across more than 10,000 square miles of Northern Illinois. To better address the diverse needs of individual communities, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare launched a grant initiative to address disparities highlighted in local Community Health Needs Assessments.

This funding initiative, which is just one facet of Northwestern Medicine's community giving campaign, offered grants to local agencies supporting specific health and wellness projects. Northwestern Medicine awarded more than $1.7 million to 49 organizations that offer a wide range of services including housing, nutritional needs, transportation, child care, mental health and primary care.

"Northwestern Medicine is committed to making our community as healthy as it can be," said Posh Charles, senior vice president, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. "This initiative, which is just one way Northwestern Medicine contributes to the community, enhances our ability to provide highly targeted support to partners addressing priority health concerns in their individual locales."

In fiscal year 2021, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare provided more than $1.14 billion in community benefits including charity care and the unreimbursed costs incurred caring for Medicaid and Medicare patients, training tomorrow's health care workforce, conducting medical research, and other community benefits that help preserve access to care for the residents of Chicago, its suburbs and Northern Illinois.

The beneficiaries of the community grants range in size and scope from the YMCA of Metro Chicago to the Oak Forest Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, an organization that provides fully furnished twin beds for children who sleep on floors, couches and other situations without beds.

Agencies in the western suburbs who received grants include:

• Aurora Food Pantry

• Mutual Ground

• Tri City Health Partnership

• VNA Health Care

• 360 Youth Services

• DuPage Habitat for Humanity

• DuPagePads

• Northern Illinois Food Bank

• People's Resource Center

• SamaraCare

• Easterseals

• Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities

"Our goal is to collaborate and support local agencies to address health care disparities across all socioeconomic backgrounds," Charles said. "We sought out organizations that are making a difference by removing barriers to better health."

The grant for DuPagePads will support health and housing stability for clients at the new Interim Housing Center which currently serves more than 100 children and 150 adults daily.

"DuPagePads is incredibly grateful for this gift from Northwestern Medicine which will help us continue to provide our clients with 24-hour access to centralized emergency housing, intensive support to improve health and wellness, and assistance with addressing barriers to stability that are fortified by poverty and poor health," said Chad Pedigo, vice president of Development, DuPagePads. "Needed support like this generous grant makes it possible to serve all our neighbors in need, therefore making our community a stronger and healthier place for all of us to call home."

People's Resource Center, will use the funds to improve the lives of all DuPage County residents, especially those disproportionately affected by the pandemic, through access to basic human needs, educational resources, and connections and referrals to other services.

"Thousands of families across DuPage County who are still feeling the effects of the pandemic are seeing their budgets get tighter with inflation," said Jenifer Fabian, chief executive officer at People's Resource Center. "This grant from Northwestern Medicine will make life a little less stressful for them. It will provide more than 1,000 carts of groceries full of nutritious, culturally-preferred items to local families so that they have what they need to lead active, healthy lives.

In addition to grant funding, as part of Northwestern Medicine's Team NM initiative, Northwestern Medicine employees build healthier communities through volunteer service and thoughtful actions. Team NM volunteers weed and water the Aurora Food Pantry's Essential Garden, help sort and label food at the Northern Illinois Food Bank, collected coats for Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, put together beds for Sleep in Heavenly Peace, and assembled heart-healthy care packages for patients at Tri-City Health Partnership.

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