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In this segment of KSMU's Sense of Community Series, Michele Skalicky reports on the Missouri Foundation for Health.
This morning we looked at how a few area health organizations are faring in light of recent budget cuts and the downturn in the economy.Now, we’ll introduce you to an organization in Missouri that helps nonprofit and governmental organizations with funding for health-related projects—projects that, with the current economic situation—might otherwise go unfunded.The Missouri Foundation for Health was formed in 2000 when Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Missouri converted from nonprofit to for-profit status. Dr. James Kimmey is the foundation’s President and CEO…James1The Missouri Foundation for Health distributes around $50 million each year in grants in 84 counties and the City of St. Louis, which was Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Missouri’s service region. Kansas City and Northwest Missouri aren’t included in MFH’s service area, according to Kimmey, because they’re served by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City. In its beginning, the Missouri Foundation for Health received $400 million in stock in Right Choice, which was the successor to Blue Cross/Blue Shield as well as about $12 million in cash…James2 :16Organizations that apply for grant money from MFH for health-related projects vary greatly, but they must be a nonprofit or governmental organization. According to Dr. Kimmey, entities that may receive money thru the foundation range from large hospital systems with a project that fits into MFH guidelines down to very small organizations—for example, churches that have a health nurse or wellness program.MFH also provides money for program on the state level as well as for programs locally including city/county health departments.Cox College recently received a nearly $399,000 grant from the foundation to fund the college’s Outreach Program to Expand Nursing proposal. The funds are being used for equipment and personnel, including two additional human patient simulators for the Nursing Resource Center Resource Center at the college.Different types of grants are available and are awarded thru a competitive process—it’s ultimately up to the MFH board to decide which projects to fund.Initiative grants provide money for areas like tobacco, diabetes or obesity. But another type of grant helps organizations with basic support costs. In fact, Dr. Kimmey says hundreds of organizations in Missouri receive funding thru that program. He says, when the economy took a downturn, they saw an increase in requests for grant money from organizations trying to make the case that they had a health focus when, in fact, they didn’t. According to Kimmey, the money can’t be given to organizations simply because they’ve lost state funding. The MFH charter, he says, states that MFH can supplement but not supplant state dollars…James4The basic support grant program provides about 10 million dollars each year to organizations with a health mission. Kimmey says it’s their most popular program.The Missouri Foundation for Health recently reached a milestone—400 million dollars in funding to date. Its assets are more than $1,30,000,000.It recently launched two efforts to bring new federal funding into the state…James3According to Kimmey, they want to be sure that, when the federal government releases a request for proposals, Missouri organizations are ready to apply. MFH provides consulting assistance to help them tell their story in the best way possible so that they have a strong application.And, if an organization is awarded federal grant money, MFH provides help complying with the complex rules and reporting requirements.Another thing that makes the Missouri Foundation for Health unique, Kimmey says, is its policy effort. A policy staff conducts studies and works to inform the public about various police issues in the health field. To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.mffh.org.