Dignity Health Glendale awards $125K in grants to local groups

While acknowledging the work of several local organizations toward addressing the top health priorities in the city, Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital awarded $125,000 in grants to local community groups and their partner agencies during a luncheon Wednesday.

The Glendale-based organizations were homelessness advocacy groups Ascencia and Family Promise of the Verdugos, the Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation, dental health group Kids' Community Dental Clinic and veterans' organization Wellness Works.

They were awarded $39,000, $18,000, $29,000, $10,000 and $29,000, respectively.

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Hospital officials determined which organizations would be given grants based on their response to Glendale's most urgent health needs as ranked by the most recent health assessment, which listed mental health, obesity and substance abuse as the top three public-health issues.

Wayne Herron, vice president of philanthropy at Glendale Memorial, opened the luncheon, where each grant awardee was invited to speak at the hospital about their health and well-being projects.

"You do vital work as an important and valued extension of the ministry here at this hospital," Herron said. "Individually, our reach can only go so far, but together that's when exciting things happen."

Ascencia is Glendale's leading homelessness agency and, in December, received a portion of state grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Those funds went toward permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing programs.

Laura Duncan, director of programs at Ascencia, spoke about the "Integrated Health Homes" project, which will receive the hospital's grant money. The project is a collaboration with local hospitals to identify and support the most vulnerable homeless people.

Family Promise of the Verdugos will put its grant award toward a similar effort — to provide homeless families with services to help transition them back into sustainable housing.

In an effort to fight obesity, the city's Parks and Open Space Foundation will use its grant to support its after-school youth sports program. The foundation hopes to curb childhood obesity for at-risk youth living in south Glendale.

The Kids' Community Dental Clinic will fund its dental treatment program that helps homeless and low-income children with dental-health services and treatments to improve oral health.

Wellness Works' award will go toward the "Mission Wellness" program, seeking to help Glendale's veteran population with mental healthcare and community outreach.

"Today, we honor organizations in our community who are promoting justice through restoring relationships and changing structures," said Cassie McCarty, director of mission integration at Glendale Memorial. "All of you are engaging in the true work of justice as we understand it."

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Jeff Landa, jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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