Superior Health Foundation

Superior Health Foundation hosts 2021 Fall Grants Celebration


The Superior Health Foundation (SHF) in Marquette awarded more than $638,680 in health-centered grant funding at its Fall Grants Celebration on Wednesday evening at the Holiday Inn in Marquette. The event was proudly presented by 44 North. 

The Superior Health Foundation awarded 509,975.87 in proactive grant giving to address food insecurities in the Upper Peninsula, $109,708.80 in fall grants and $18,999.08 to pilot-project and equipment grants. 

In its nine-year history, the U.P wide, health-centered non-profit, has awarded more than $4.3 million in grant dollars to health-centered, non-profits in the U.P.

The SHF will award funding to address food insecurity issues in 2021 and 2022. This initiative is striving to address access, distribution and delivery of health food across the Upper Peninsula. 

In 2021 and 2022, the SHF will award more than $1.1 million in funding to address food insecurities. SHF has actively engaged and collaborated with Upper Peninsula and statewide funding partners to leverage the foundation’s funding to make substantial progress in addressing food access and education, with an emphasis on local growth and production. The West End Health Foundation, Community Foundation of Marquette County and Provident Health Foundation in Marinette/Menominee provided matching funding. In addition, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Hospital Association (MHA) also provided invaluable funding for this project. 

“Food insecurity has long been an issue for residents in the Upper Peninsula,” said Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation. “The pandemic has added to the dilemma many are facing. Thus, we are incredibly proud to be in position to award well-deserved grant dollars to highly engaged organizations whose mission is to provide healthy and affordable food choices.

“We’re  particularly thankful for the many funding partners that have stepped up to support this initiative. It’s incredible what can happen when funding organizations work together to arrive at solutions.” 

At the event, the SHF awarded $109,708.80 in fall grants to 11 non-profit organizations in the U.P.: 

  • Community Foundation of Marquette County ($20,000): The Community Foundation distributes grants across Marquette County with branches in Negaunee, Marquette, Gwinn and Greater Ishpeming. The SHF provided funding to its “Jumpstart a Heart” project to supply Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to law enforcement in Marquette County. This program hopes to expand the amount and update AEDs in Marquette County. 
  • Great Lakes Recovery Centers, Inc. ($15,000): Great Lakes Recovery Centers (GLRC) is adapting its Adolescent Services Center (ASC) facility to be more secure, youth-friendly and trauma-informed to meet the needs of the emerging adolescent clients. Grant dollars will be used to secure doors, door installation, an alarm system, shower panel and labor for the ASC. 
  • Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital ($13,383): SMH in Manistique, an independent state-of-the-art, 12-bed, critical-access facility, is helping bridge the needs of individuals in rural areas of the U.P with its great care including offering physical therapy. This grant will benefit the Rehabilitation Services Aquatic Therapy Program which provides aquatic balance therapy. Funding will go toward pool supplies and therapy equipment, as well as training and marketing expenses.  
  • Superior Health Support System ($12,950): Superior Health Support System, a non-profit based in Sault Ste. Marie, serves four communities in the eastern U.P. Its primary facility is Hearthside Assisted Living, a 50-bed assisted living home in Sault Ste. Marie. Hearthside Assisted Living provides care to elderly and disabled individuals in a family-like atmosphere. Funding will go toward replacing 50 mattresses in its facility. 
  • Michigan Tech University ($9,940): In 2018, the Western U.P. Health Department (WUPHD) conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment to facilitate identification of health priorities in each community. A sustainable community resource directory was identified as a key priority. This project will build an online, publicly available, searchable health resource hub that will connect individuals and organizations to support the health and well-being of our community. 
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marquette and Alger Counties ($9,807): The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marquette and Alger Counties, Inc. (BBBS) is to create and support one-to-one relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Funding from this grant will connect 40 students at Tahquamenon Area School District to the mentoring services, which aim to help students reach their full potential. Grant dollars will be used to help fund the vice president of programs, office supplies and mileage. 
  • Superior Housing Solutions ($7,584): Located in Marquette, Superior Housing Solutions assures all vulnerable individuals, including those who are homeless and/or near homeless, have access to supportive housing that is safe, affordable, accessible and appropriate to promote self-actualization in an inclusive and supportive community. The grant dollars will be used to purchase six adult bicycles and helmets, one cargo trailer, six kayaks and YMCA memberships.  
  • Superior Alliance for Independent Living ($6,000): SAIL is the only center for independent living that serves all 15 counties in the U.P. Located in Marquette, it serves individuals with visible or invisible disabilities. SAIL, Disability Network of the U.P. hosts a program called Single Point for Activities and Recreation (SPAR) that promotes health and wellness through social and recreational programming. This grant provided matching funding for an Action Track Chair to assist individuals with mobility challenges. 
  • Bay Cliff Health Camp ($6,000): Camp Quality Upper Peninsula (UP) ensures that every child who has been diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder can experience one of childhood’s greatest milestones – summer camp in Big Bay. Funding will expand this program to include two family camp weekends.
  • Marquette Mountain Ski Patrol ($5,000): The Marquette Mountain Ski Patrol (MMSP) is a non-profit organization and part of the National Ski Patrol Organization. Its mission is keep people safe on the mountain and during other outdoor activities and supported events held during any season. SHF provided funding to improve communication between MMSP and EMS, Fire and Rescue agencies through radios and accessories. This included 4 800hz radios with equipment, SHF previously gave MMSP a grant for two radios. 
  • Trillium House ($4,044): Trillium House, a hospice and respite care facility based in Marquette, has served more than 125 individuals and families since opening in 2018. SHF provided funding for a human floor lift and commercial toilet lift for its facility to enhance the safety of residents and staff at its facility.   

At the celebration, SHF announced the four award recipients for its proactive grant giving addressing food insecurities: 

  • UPCAP ($322,388.37): UPCAP provides the development, coordination and provision of human services in all 15 counties. Its Food As Medicine (FAM) program’s primary goal is to address and improve food security for low-income residents who have or are at risk of developing chronic health conditions. FAM will impact residents with increased access to locally grown fresh produce and knowledge/skill enhancement through nutrition education. Outcomes will be measured in terms of formalized partnerships including redemption and health care sites, improved farm cold storage capacity, the use of produce vouchers, indicators of increased food access, consumption of fresh produce and nutritional knowledge.
  • Partridge Creek Farm ($106,427.50): Partridge Creek Farm, headquartered in Ishpeming, will work with Lions of Michigan District 10 – U.P. to assess food insecurity, related health issues and resources; identify “community champions” to create local food insecurity workgroups; and develop, disseminate and exchange info and resources in all 15 counties. Grant funding will be used to create an educational video-series, identify community champions, conduct need assessments, build a farm-school program, create training programs and build an Intergenerational Farm Community Space. 
  • Upper Peninsula Veterans Community Action Team ($50,000): The Upper Peninsula Veterans Community Action Team (UP VCAT) is a collaborative of  more than 200 Veteran Service Providers and Volunteers from across the region and state of Michigan. Since 2014, the organization has sought to create a “no wrong door” support network for Veterans and families. This program will increase access to food by providing grocery store gift cards, health program info and referrals to increase food access.
  •  Feeding America West Michigan ($31,160): Feeding America West Michigan’s mission is to gather and distribute food, relieve hunger and increase food security in West Michigan and the U.P. Through its Mobile Food Pantry program, it has delivered nutritious food to communities facing food insecurity since 1998. A Recipe for Success” will empower food-insecure families in six counties to become nutritionally self-sufficient by facilitating nutrition/education programming at food distributions. It will provide a library of recipes and online cooking demonstrations to pantries and their guests, produce 21, live cooking demonstrations, distribute cooking tools, increase participation at Mobile Food Pantries, and improve participant understanding of healthy food preparation. 

The Superior Health Foundation also awarded pilot project and equipment grants to the following organizations:  Courage Incorporated, Teaching Family Homes, Eversight, Omega House, Michigan Breastfeeding Network, Camp New Day U.P., Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice, Partridge Creek Farm, Ontonagon Village Housing Commission and Bay Cliff Health Camp.  

The Superior Health Foundation’s mission is to “assist with unmet healthcare needs, with health education, and with programs and research on preventing illness and promoting health in the Upper Peninsula.”

SHF accepts grant proposals monthly for pilot project and equipment grants. 

In its short history, the SHF has awarded more than $2,630,750 in proactive grant dollars.  

Applications for the spring grants cycle will be accepted from Dec. 15-Jan. 17. 

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