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Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation makes first grants

$5.88 million given to 32 programs to improve health of Illinois children

[DEC. 23, 2004]  HINSDALE -- The Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation announced Tuesday that it has awarded nearly $6 million in grants to 32 organizations for programs to improve the quality of and access to health care for children in the state.

The grants mark the first contribution of funds from the foundation, which was created in 2002 following a $125 million court settlement made between the Illinois attorney general's office and an Illinois insurance carrier.

Susan Kerr, former director of Ronald McDonald House Charities, was appointed president of the foundation in late 2003. She said the $5.88 million in grants is earmarked for programs designed to:

  • Improve access to children's health care.
  • Screen children for developmental delays and intervene with appropriate care.
  • Enhance children's mental health services.
  • Improve the oral health of Illinois children.

"These four areas are where we found the most need and best opportunities to begin to make a difference," said C. William Pollard, chairman of the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation and former chief executive officer of The ServiceMaster Co. "As we complete this first grant cycle, we are grateful for the foresight of Jim Ryan, who as attorney general, initiated the formation of the foundation. During the past two years, the foundation's staff and board have worked diligently in seeking to understand the scope of the health care needs of the children of Illinois. We look forward to continuing our efforts to provide a meaningful response to these needs."

Kerr said the board was especially drawn to "initiatives that worked to eliminate the barriers that prevent children from receiving treatment on a regular basis and deliver essential health care directly to those children in most need."

Nearly 300 organizations responded to the foundation's requests for proposals issued in June. Fifty of those applicants were then invited to submit full proposals, which were reviewed by board members and a group of outside advisers.

The 32 grant winners included a wide variety of programs that cover many of the state's neediest counties.

Among them is Logan County's Healthy Communities Partnership, which will use the $75,000 awarded toward the purchase of a new Mobile Health and Dental Unit, in order to provide essential oral health services in addition to the medical health services now provided.

"We are extremely appreciative of the $75,000 startup grant for our Oral Health Initiative," said Kristi Lessen, director of the Healthy Communities Partnership. "We will need to raise more funds to create a new Mobile Health and Dental Unit and are confident that the citizens of Logan County will support this endeavor."

Individuals interested in supporting the Healthy Communities Partnership's Oral Health Initiative may send contributions in care of the Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation.

Other grant winners:

  • Central Counties Health Center, Springfield -- $100,000
  • El Valor, Chicago -- $112,000
  • Hope School, Springfield -- $100,000
  • Rockford Health Council -- $100,000
  • Rush University Medical Center, Chicago -- $84,755
  • Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Chicago -- $225,000 over three years
  • Advocate Health Care Foundation, Park Ridge -- $150,000

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  • Illinois State University Foundation, Normal
    -- $132,973 over three years
  • La Rabida Children's Hospital, Chicago -- $150,000
  • Lester and Rosalie Anixter Center, Chicago
    -- $75,000 over three years
  • Ounce of Prevention Fund, Chicago -- $173,832
  • Action for Children, Chicago -- $125,000
  • CCRC Community Link, Breese -- $15,000
  • Chapin Hall Center for Children, Chicago -- $145,749
  • Child Care Resource & Referral, Joliet -- $286,842 over two years
  • Children's Hospital of Illinois, Peoria -- $200,000
  • Erie Neighborhood House, Chicago -- $125,000
  • Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, Chicago -- $170,000
  • Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership, Chicago -- $150,000
  • Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, East St. Louis -- $178,500
  • Christian Community Health Center, Chicago -- $61,800
  • Crusader Clinic, Rockford -- $250,000
  • Infant Welfare Society of Chicago -- $80,000
  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale -- $296,000
  • Well Child Center, Elgin -- $52,325

For more details about these programs, visit the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation website.

The next grant cycle is tentatively scheduled to begin in late March 2005. Timing information will be posted on the foundation's website. The Hinsdale-based foundation can be reached at (630) 655-2873.

The Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation was formed in December of 2002 with one goal in mind: Improve the health of children living in the state. Most of the grants announced Tuesday provide one-year funding, which will help the foundation better evaluate its strategy and impact. The foundation is especially interested in helping organizations that use four approaches to improving health: treatment or intervention; advocacy and public policy work; education, both professional and lay; and prevention or early intervention.

[News release]

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