Superior Health Foundation hosts 2022 Fall Grants Celebration

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The Superior Health Foundation (SHF) in Marquette awarded more than $739,000 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 $531,563.80 in proactive Year 2 grants to address food insecurities in the Upper Peninsula, $195,688.44 in fall grants and $11,823.06 in pilot-project and equipment grants.

In its 10-year history, the U.P wide, health-centered non-profit has awarded more than $5.2 million in grant dollars to non-profits in the U.P.

The SHF is in year-two of awarding funding to address food insecurity issues. This initiative is striving to address access, distribution and delivery of healthy food across the Upper Peninsula. 

In 2021 and 2022, SHF has awarded more than $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 and Community Foundation of Marquette County provided matching funding. In addition, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation also provided invaluable funding for this project. 

“Food insecurity is a real 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 proud to award second-year funding to several organizations that delivered on its grant in Year 1. 

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

At the event, the SHF awarded $195,688.44 in fall grants to 14, non-profit organizations in the U.P.: 

  • Great Lakes Recovery Centers, Inc. ($58,405): Great Lakes Recovery Centers (GLRC) is expanding access to behavioral and mental health services for children and teens throughout the U.P. To accomplish this objective, GLRC will blend current adolescent behavioral health services with pre-existing healthcare delivery models in the U.P. In addition to broadening the service capacity of its Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Specialty Clinic, GLRC will facilitate trauma-based community education classes in Gogebic, Dickinson and Houghton County. 
  • Marquette-Alger RESA ($22,677.50): Marquette-Alger RESA will implement Teen Mental Health First Aid programs in high schools in the Upper Peninsula. Teen Mental Health First Aid teaches teens in grades 10-12, or ages 15-18, how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among their friends and peers. 
  • Courage Incorporated ($19,743): Courage Incorporated is focused on providing free outdoor wilderness-based excursions for physically disabled individuals and veterans. Their programs are rooted in rustic camping and include fishing, boating, canoe/kayaking, hiking, outdoor cooking and ice fishing. Superior Health Foundation provided funding for a new cargo trailer and UTV tracks.
  • Michigan Breastfeeding Network ($18,909.38): Michigan Breastfeeding Network is implementing Indigenous based lactation education in the U.P.  “Making Milk – The Essence of Lactation” is a brave, inclusive, culturally relevant, and accessible self-paced course for families working in conscious decision-making and education about lactation from conception through postpartum. 
  • Dial Help, Inc. ($15,370): Dial Help, Inc. will use its grant funding to purchase Carter Kits for distribution in nine counites, in partnership with the seven Communities That Care (CTC) coalitions that serve those counties. Carter Kits contain items known to comfort and appropriately focus children who are on the autism spectrum, as well as children who find themselves overwhelmed or otherwise impacted by traumatic events. Its priority will be on providing the kits to first responders, who are typically addressing mental or physical health concerns with these youth.
  • HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response ($10,000): A HOPE AACR team consists of a dog and handler, trained and certified to provide emotional support when partnering with mental health and emergency response agencies. These response teams have comforted people after school shootings, fires, accidents, the loss of first responders, suicides, and more. HOPE Animal has increased its presence in the Upper Peninsula and provided comfort and encouragement through animal-assisted support to more than 11,000 individuals affected by crises and disasters. This grant funding will be used to grow its membership of canine teams. 
  • Aspirus Health ($8,215.83): Aspirus Keweenaw is a non-profit, community-directed health care organization based in Laurium. The Aspirus Keweenaw Fitness Center was closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19. After a two-year hiatus, the fitness center reopened under a new model, called a Medically Based Fitness Center. Superior Health Foundation provided funding for two Cardio Care Cycles and an Upper Body Exerciser.
  • Lake Superior State University ($7,500): The Lake Superior State University Health Care Center—Next Steps with Electronic Health Records and Outreach project will implement the electronic health care system PDS Med MD Suite at the LSSU Health Care Center. The transition to the full Electronic Health Records (EHR) system will increase efficiency of care, strengthen patient record security, expand medical billing codes, and allow for the expansion of services through the Health Care Center. Superior Health Foundation provided funding for half of the hardware costs for the EHR implementation.
  • Eversight ($7,312.40): Eversight is a network of community-based eye banks headquartered in Ann Arbor that serves as the sole provider of cornea for sight-saving transplants in Michigan. It works closely with surgeons, service organizations, healthcare and community partners and a network of committed advocates to advance its mission to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation, and research. Grant funding will support clinical operations as Eversight continues honoring the wishes of U.P. cornea/eye tissue donors and their families and providing tissue for sight-saving transplants for U.P. residents.
  • The Lakes Community Health Center, Inc. ($6,948.33): North Lakes Community Clinic’s (NLCC) vision focuses on creating healthy, prosperous, engaged communities where everyone thrives. As a Federally Qualified Health Center serving Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties, it serves all patients regardless of their ability to pay. It also offers discounted fees for patients who qualify. NLCC is in the final stages of adding space to serve more patients at its Hurley Clinic. Grant funding will go toward the purchase of an exam table, a procedure table, an Automatic Exposure Control (AEC) device for the clinic X-ray Machine, and a Zoll Automated External Defibrillator Plus with Real CPR Help.
  • Camp New Day U.P. ($6,700): Camp New Day U.P is a non-profit organization with one major project: providing the children of the incarcerated with a free week of healthy food, outdoor exercise, and creative activities in a positive esteem building environment. These children often experience social and emotional stresses such as school problems; guilt, shame, and embarrassment; and anxiety, fear, and depression. Camp New Day seeks to make a positive impact on these children by providing them a free week of summer camp in a structured environment that is caring, supportive, non-judgmental and fun.
  • Mercy Medical Angels ($5,000): Mercy Medical Angels (MMA) mission is to remove the barrier to medical care with ground and air transportation. The organization’s vision dedicates it to the goal that no one in the country is denied critical medical care because they cannot afford transportation to their treatment. MMA provides free transportation to critical medical treatment for the low-income residents of the U.P. It provides free transportation by air with commercial airline tickets, volunteer pilots in their private planes, and by ground with bus and train tickets, and pre-paid gas cards. Transportation is provided for the patient and their required care giver.
  • Munising Public Schools ($4,588): The formerly entitled “Kids Connection” community playground at William G. Mather Elementary School was funded and built by the citizens of Munising approximately 27 years ago. The now entitled Mather Elementary Community playground is used by the school district’s preschool through fifth grade students daily during the school year and by Munising-area families and youth year-round. Superior Health Foundation provided funding for the all-inclusive merry-go-round at the playground.
  • OSF St. Francis ($4,319): OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group has been serving the South-Central Upper Peninsula since 1884. The Superior Health Foundation has provided grant funding for the purchase of a Vital Sign Monitor for OSF St. Francis’ new Cancer Care and Infusion Clinic. This monitor will be used to assess patient’s health and vital signs. 


At the celebration, SHF announced the eight award recipients for year-two of its proactive grant giving addressing food insecurities: 

  • UPCAP ($322,388.36): UPCAP provides the development, coordination, and provision of human services in all 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula. 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. 
  • 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 U.P. 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 ($55,000): 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. 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 ($35,997.94): 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 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. 
  • Food Start U.P. ($5,000): Food Start U.P.’s mission is to foster food entrepreneurship, living wage jobs, and to increase access to food across the U.P. This will be accomplished through a food business education center and commercial kitchen that will serve as the central hub to carry out the mission of the organization. Food Start U.P. started as a grassroots initiative, spearheaded by food entrepreneurs to find a solution to the high barriers preventing them from starting up and scaling up a food business. Grant funding will go toward the purchase of a natural gas range with two ovens, and kitchen management software.
  • Alger County Commission on Aging ($4,500): Alger County Commission on Aging’s Adult Day Club program created a greenhouse to have fresh garden foods available to its senior members who otherwise cannot afford fresh produce. This greenhouse will help its members gain confidence in their gardening skills and will help them learn new recipes and ways to use their own fresh produce. 
  • Nifty Thrifty ($1,250): Nifty Thrifty started in 1988 as a non-profit corporation operating a food pantry/thrift store in Eben Junction to aid needy families in Alger County. The thrift store provides clothing and household goods at a reasonable cost. The food pantry serves 15-20 families per month, primarily in western Alger County. All staff are volunteer. Superior Health Foundation grant funds will be used to supplement fuel oil costs this winter to allow their food pantry to remain open.
  • Superior Shore Systems ($1,000): Superior Shore Systems organized Feeding America food trucks that brought seven to eight tons of free food distributed to anyone in need. The organization utilized a parking lot to conduct a drive through for food distribution, and also had volunteers deliver to more than  70 house-bound families. Due to Covid, the organization needs to pack and deliver food in containers that have not been previously used. The organization has 35 volunteers, and it wants to keep them as protected as possible from contact with people who may have the virus. Superior Health Foundation grant funding provided two months’ worth of boxes for food distribution.

The Superior Health Foundation also awarded pilot project and equipment grants to the following organizations: 

Camp UPeninsulin, Dickinson Iron Community Services Agency, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, North Dickinson Community Improvement Project, Youth Mental Health Project and Zion and Salem Lutheran Church.

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. 

Applications for the spring grants cycle will be accepted from Dec. 15 through January 16, 2023.

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