Groups, individuals working to achieve better health can benefit from grants
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Ginny Cromwell was worried that hot meals for about a dozen homebound residents within a 50-mile radius of the Wayne County Senior Center might not be delivered.
The transmission had gone out in the vehicle used to deliver the daily meals — a routine that promotes physical behavior and a healthy mental attitude for the elderly to thrive — and a gracious delivery employee was no longer able to use her own vehicle.
At the same time, the South Valley Sanctuary in West Jordan continues to turn away hundreds of people seeking shelter and resources amid various domestic violence crises.
"We'd love to educate the community about domestic violence so they know how to prevent a crisis situation and have it not reach the point where they're having to leave their homes, their schools and everything else to hide out someplace," said Jennifer Campbell, associate director at the shelter.
The two organizations have similar goals — to help the community. But they lack the resources and rely largely on sparse government funding or donations to keep afloat.
"Our objective is to keep our clients in their own home as long as possible," said Cromwell, who manages the Wayne County Senior Center. "If we don't have a vehicle, we can't deliver the hot meals."
Both women, heading nonprofit groups in the throes of economic recession, quickly became reliant on the hope that a $2,500 grant from SelectHealth would come through.
The rural organization and the center, along with 23 others throughout the state, were selected for the one-time gift, which has long since been spent to help perpetuate their distinct but separate causes.
While the majority of the grant given to Bicknell's small community facility went to replace the transmission on the vehicle, the remainder was used to print and deliver a bimonthly newsletter to clients, providing information about available resources, nutrition, exercise and relevant medical news.
South Valley Sanctuary, which served 282 men, women and children last year, put its $2,500 chunk of change to work providing services for clients. The facility typically functions on a lean annual budget of $680,000.
"We stretch it as best we can," Campbell said, adding that she submits more than 100 grant applications each year to make ends meet. She particularly recalled the approach taken by SelectHealth, the insurance division of Intermountain Healthcare, in that the grant money was expected "to go directly to the people we serve," she said.
The money her organization received earlier this year was used to provide bus passes and cab vouchers, language interpretation services and specialized medications and dietary needs for clients.
Award winners, including organizations and individuals, are selected based on their efforts to make Utah healthier.
Past recipients have included an adult reading comprehension program, a family wanting to provide life jackets at a popular reservoir, a service dog training operation, a cancer screening program for Hispanic women, a dance class for children with disabilities and many others — all local organizations doing what they can to help the communities they serve.
SelectHealth has been offering the Select 25 grant program since 2008. More information can be found online at www.select25.org.
"It's an honor to work with so many great nonprofits throughout the state," said Greg Reid, SelectHealth community relations director. "Each year, we are inspired by the award winners and all they do to make Utah a better place to live."
In addition to the grant money, SelectHealth creates marketing materials for each award winner, allowing for more efficient promotion of the organization's cause.
While the grant money helps, Campbell said, her organization is heavily reliant upon in-kind donations, including an ongoing need for basic supplies necessary in every home. Those interested can call the center or visit www.southvalleysanctuary.com, which has an undisclosed location for safety reasons, for more information.
"When people come here, they don't have anything," she said. "We give them anything they want and tell them they can take whatever they need when it comes time for them to leave. Starting a new life is hard enough."
SelectHealth is now accepting applications for the 2013 Select 25 awards. At least three recipients will be chosen from each of four specified Utah regions, including northern, eastern, southern and western Utah, as well as greater Salt Lake City. Thirteen at-large winners will also be chosen.
The winners are selected by a committee of leaders from SelectHealth, Intermountain Healthcare and the community. Applications are being accepted until Jan. 11, 2013, and only the first 500 will be considered.