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January 29, 2019

Harvard Pilgrim’s foundation awards $181K to Maine programs

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation announced Monday that it awarded more than $1.25 million in grants to 885 nonprofit organizations in more than 350 communities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 2018.

Grants to Maine recipients totaled $181,231. Since its inception in 1980, the foundation has granted more than $150 million in funds throughout the four states.

The foundation helps build healthy communities by investing in programs that provide low-income families with access to fresh, healthy food, and supports Harvard Pilgrim employees as they invest their time and talents across the region.

In 2018, more than $925,000 in grants was distributed to the foundation's Healthy Food Fund initiatives within the region, with funds supporting programs that grow and distribute fresh food for families and communities across the region. (See below for a summary of the Foundation's 2018 major grant recipients.)

Healthy Food Fund grants included:

  • $616,065 in third-year grants to 20 not-for-profit community food access initiatives in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
  • $38,000 in Healthy Aging grants in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. The funded programs helped older adults eat better and stay connected with their communities through community garden, cooking, and nutrition programs.
  • $271,000 to support five mobile farmers' markets in Worcester and Lowell, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Lewiston/Auburn, Maine; and the seacoast of New Hampshire.

"Since launching the Healthy Food Fund more than three years ago, an independent evaluation clearly demonstrates that the amount of local produce distributed to low-income families across the region has increased significantly," said Karen Voci, President of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. "Our grants to locally-based organizations throughout New England have helped families eat better and have greater access to nutritious food in ways that are real, impactful and measurable."

Here are the Maine grant recipients that received a total of $181,231 in 2018:

  • St. Mary's Regional Medical Center (Lewiston/Auburn) and Cultivating Community, Good Food Bus Mobile Farmers' Market: $50,000.
  • Healthy Communities of the Capital Area (Southern Kennebec County), Expand gleaning and food processing through Restorative Community Harvest Program: $25,000.
  • Maine Farmland Trust (Biddeford, Portland, Saco, South Portland, and Westbrook), SNAP incentives at Farmers' markets, CSA programs, food hubs, co-ops: $25,000.
  • Wolfe's Neck Center Foundation (Greater Bath and Brunswick), Teen Agriculture Program; cooking and nutrition programming: $25,000.
  • Cultivating Community (Portland), Expand CSA shares; cooking and nutrition classes: $24,681.
  • Olympia Snowe Women's Leadership Institute (Portland), Girls Leadership program: $10,000.
  • Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine, fundraising campaign: $5,000.

‘Mini-grants’ awarded

In addition to the more than $925,000 in Healthy Food and Healthy Aging grants, the foundation also awarded $609,450 to 823 organizations in 288 communities through Harvard Pilgrim's employee-directed Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant program. This program enables each Harvard Pilgrim Health Care employee to annually award a $500 grant, completely funded by the foundation, to the charity of his or her choice.

Since the inception of this community grant program in 2002, the foundation has contributed more than $6.3 million to thousands of organizations in the region.

Grant recipients have included schools, food pantries, youth development organizations, and fundraising events. In 2018, almost $150,000 was spent for Service and Giving work throughout the region.

Of that, nearly $40,000 was awarded to nonprofit partner organizations including City Year, Cradles to Crayons, and Hands on Hartford that support Harvard Pilgrim's employee service in local communities. Harvard Pilgrim employee contributions — made through the company's annual employee fund-raising campaign and supplemented by foundation support —totaled more than $58,000 and were distributed to United Ways of New England and other local nonprofits chosen by employees. The foundation and employees also contributed to various disaster relief efforts including $11,000 for the Merrimack Valley gas explosions and more than $5,000 to Hurricane Florence.

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