Childhood Obesity Remained Foundation’s Focus in 2016; Expansion to Other Community Health Needs Expected in 2017

Worcester, Mass., November 29, 2016 – In what has been an historic year of fundraising, the Reliant Medical Group Foundation today announced its latest round of grants, awarding $163,500 to 23 non-profits across Central and Metro West Massachusetts which share in the Foundation’s mission to improve the health and well-being of those who live in the region.

“The Foundation’s ability to provide this level of funding to so many organizations is really a testament to the loyal support we continue to receive from our donors year after year,” said Kelsa Zereski, director of philanthropy at Reliant Medical Group. “We now have the ability to pay forward that support and to have a positive impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people across the regions.”

This latest round of giving will bring the Foundation’s yearly total of funding to more than $350,000, and an additional $58,583 has already been pledged to three organizations in early 2017.

For several years, the primary focus for the Foundation has been battling childhood obesity. The grants allow the Foundation to connect the generosity of its community to sustainable efforts that target serious health crises, and increase access to care, beyond what insurance covers. Community grants are awarded to non-profit organizations within Reliant Medical Group’s service area to help improve the health and well-being of individuals of all ages in the Central and Metro West regions of Massachusetts.

Zereski added that the external focus for Reliant Foundation granting will be transitioning in 2017, targeting other significant issues facing the local community such as behavioral health and substance abuse, while continuing to raise support for programs and capital needs of the non-profit Reliant Medical Group.

Since its grant-making program was refocused in 2008, Reliant Foundation has funded programs at 57 local charities, impacting more than 100,000 individual lives annually.

With this latest round of giving, the following 23 local organizations received funding from the Foundation:

  • Bancroft School/Community Partnership – helping underserved children from Elm Park Community School gain access to the Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 healthy living curriculum during the school year and through summer programs
  • Barton Center for Diabetes Education – campership program helps underserved insulin-dependent diabetic children attend programs at the Center
  • Boys & Girls Club of Webster-Dudley – Positive Sprouts and Tower Garden programs teach children about nutrition, healthy eating, along with how to grow and sustain gardening systems
  • Boys & Girls Club of Worcester – health, nutrition and fitness for children and youth aged 8-18 encouraging kids to eat smart, keep fit and form positive relationships; includes cooking instruction and free meals on weeknights for underserved kids
  • Children’s Haven – Healthy Habits after school program in Worcester and Douglas that was started by a Reliant patient and uses the Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 curriculum
  • Community Harvest Project – Sprouting Minds Nutrition Education Programs for urban youth; incorporates nutrition education and the opportunity to learn how to grow, harvest and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Family Health Center of Worcester – provides the diverse, underserved populations of Main South and surrounding areas the education required to make healthy food and free time choices using the Let’s Go!  5-2-1-0 model in four of the Worcester public schools
  • Girls, Inc. – Fit Girls program, offering 250 girls in grades K-12 the opportunity to participate in sports and physical fitness programming in addition to nutrition education classes
  • Girl Scouts of Central and Western MA – Unmask Your Superhero program teaches girls how to stay healthy and offers information on careers in healthcare
  • Growing Places – Growing Healthy People and Communities helps establish and maintain food gardens through the community
  • Nativity School of Worcester – Healthy Living Initiative with hands-on nutrition and physical fitness activities for inner city underserved middle school boys
  • Our Father’s House – wellness program for homeless women with substance abuse issues in the Fitchburg area
  • Pernet Family Health Service – expanding youth services that provide outdoor activities, teach job skills and help keep kids in school
  • Rachel’s Table – Children’s Milk Fund for underserved kids, estimated to distribute 710 gallons of fresh milk to 21 agencies this year
  • Rainbow Child Development Center – Movement and High Stepping – Healthy Lifestyle Program for preschool children and their families; multi-faceted program that includes gardening, cooking, nutrition education and fitness
  • Regional Environmental Council of Central MA – YouthGROW afterschool program works with teens at inner-city organic farms to develop professional and life skills
  • Reliant Medical Group Geriatrics – Home Run program supports home visits and video visits for homebound seniors so they can receive regular healthcare services
  • Seven Hills Foundation – Healthy Hills Nutrition, Health and Cooking Program provides classes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers
  • Southboro Medical Group Pediatrics – Pediatric Home Health Project provides imbedded bilingual social work support to patients of the practice, providing clinician and case management services to their Framingham office
  • Visitation House – Life Skills classes provide health-related educational and support programs for pregnant women who are in crisis and/or homeless
  • Worcester Youth CenterLet’s Go! Get Fit 5-2-1-0 Program provides healthy cooking and lifestyle instruction through classes, fitness challenges and other activities
  • YMCA Metrowest Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 Family Fitness program teaches at-risk children and their families healthy eating habits and active lifestyle tips
  • YOU, Inc.YouthConnect Summer – a collaborative of eight non-profits in Worcester providing a summer of recreational, educational and cultural programs

Pledges for 2017 include:

  • Reliant Medical Group Care Management – transportation for elderly and low income patients of RMG to get to and from appointments
  • Southboro Medical Group Pediatrics (Framingham + Metrowest) – continued funding for Pediatric Home Health Project
  • YMCA of Central MA – Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 Family Fitness program teaches at-risk children and their families healthy eating habits and active lifestyle tips

Future deadlines and guidelines for 2017 will be available at reliantfoundation.org under the Charitable Grants section before the end of the year.