The St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara has awarded grants totaling $477,510 to 12 local programs and organizations during the first of its two 2010-2011 fiscal year granting cycles. This funding enables access to healthcare for the youngest to the eldest among the Santa Barbara South Coast community who are most in need, by channeling support to organizations that form a ‘safety net’ of healing, prevention and health education. A second round of grants will be announced in June.

“With our focus on both direct healthcare and these organizations who protect and uplift our most vulnerable neighbors every day, the St. Francis Foundation is able to provide for a unique model of community-based care,” said Andrew Ochsner, St. Francis Foundation Board President. “We are grateful to our donors for their generous support and charitable spirit that is helping make possible, right here, access to healthcare that is such a struggle around the country today.”

As a major commitment to hands-on healthcare and education for the community, the St. Francis Foundation serves as the primary funding source for The Parish Nursing Community Outreach Program. Parish Nursing has been serving the local community since 1995, and has been operated by Cottage Hospital since 2003, when St. Francis Medical Center closed. Sixty-Eight percent of the funding granted this cycle are supporting the Parish Nursing Community Outreach Program. Parish Nurses work in partnership with many organizations throughout the South Coast, to provide on-site healthcare, prevention and education outreach for the most vulnerable members of our community.

In the past six months, Parish Nurses have already brought care and healing to more than 7,000 adults, seniors, youth and families through home visits and Community Screenings and Education programs. With support from the St. Francis Foundation, Parish Nursing is expected to reach over 14,000 people in need this year.

St. Francis Foundation also supports the sustainability of community nursing with nursing scholarships at Santa Barbara City College, awarded annually.

A first-ever grant from the St. Francis Foundation was awarded to the Diabetes Resource Center for the Eastside Childhood Obesity Prevention and Wellness Program to address the problem of childhood obesity in the primarily Latino Franklin Elementary School in Santa Barbara.

“Watching an increasing number of patients coming in to the dialysis clinic, mostly as a result of diabetes, I realized that an entire generation of children are being sacrificed because of obesity reaching epidemic proportions,” said Michael Fisher, MD, founder of the Diabetes Resource Center of Santa Barbara County which is deploying the Eastside Childhood Obesity Prevention program at Franklin School. He is a nephrologist with the Fisher & Allyn practice in Santa Barbara. “The financial support and the validation from St. Francis Foundation are helping shift our community’s focus to the prevention and education for children and families that are the key to staving off preventable diabetes and other chronic diseases that are literally killing this country.”

The 12 local organizations awarded current grants are in the categories of: nursing and medical care, family healthcare and health education, mental health and homeless services, senior care and outreach, and end of life care. Grants are designated for general operating support or for specific programs or services meeting the application criteria and supporting the St. Francis Foundation’s mission.


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