Twelve local organizations will receive funding for community projects to improve the health of the Greater Utica area from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA). The AHA/ASA is proud to announce the recipients of the “Greater Utica Community Impact Grant Awards.”
The local chapter of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has received $50,000 to provide grant funding for community-based organizations in the Greater Utica area with the mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The 2016 grants were awarded to the following organizations:
Pathfinder Village – Funding will help Pathfinder Village expand its existing fresh fruit and vegetable agriculture program. Produce grown in the village’s expanded facility will be sold through the organization’s existing farmer’s market.
Utica Roadrunners – With this grant, the group would build fixed fitness stations along the municipal South Woods running trail.
Mohawk Valley Refugee Center – Funding from this grant would allow the refugee center to teach CPR to the staff, who could then teach non-English speaking clients to help increase community knowledge of lifesaving CPR skills.
Utica Zoo – The Utica Zoo hopes to help children understand the possibilities for outdoor play and physical activity in natural settings by construction natural play areas along the Zoo’s existing Habitat Trail.
Thea Bowman House – Funding will allow the Thea Bowman House to purchase two AEDs – one for each of its two geographic sites. The organization’s permanent staff members are trained in CPR, but currently neither site has the AED that can make such a difference in saving a life.
Mohawk Valley Institute for Learning in Retirement – This grant will assist the organization improve nutritional awareness among its members with print materials, nutrition classes, and consultations with a dietician.
Cornell Cooperative Extension – The organization’s West Utica Empowerment Initiative will support a youth education garden in West Utica, as well as the existing community garden at Cornerstone Community Church.
YWCA of Mohawk Valley – The YWCA will be able to purchase three AEDs for its three locations, as well as provide Heartsaver CPR training for 12 staff members to enhance the organization’s ability to respond in potential emergencies.
Boy Scouts – Funding will allow the Boy Scouts to build a Ga-Ga Ball Pit at Camp Kinglsey. The ball pit will provide an outdoor exercise option for the 2,000 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts who visit the camp each year.
Masonic Care Community – The “Live Your Healthiest Life” program will help increase exercise participant for Masonic Care Community’s 720 female employees by providing pedometers, as well as increasing awareness of heart disease in women through workplace education materials and healthy cooking classes.
Center for Family and Recovery – Funding will allow the center to enroll 150 of the individuals it serves in the Healthy Heart Club. The program aims to promote heart healthy lifestyle choices to people suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues, which can put them at a greater risk for chronic diseases.
Food Bank of CNY – A pilot project through the Food Bank of CNY will create a mobile food pantry to deliver heart healthy food to 500 food-insecure people in the West Utica area.
Local organizations started applying for grants last December. Project proposals needed to focus on reducing cardiovascular disease and its risk factors by specifically targeting issues like childhood obesity or family health. Special consideration was also given to projects aimed at improving access to healthy foods and increasing CPR/AED training and implementation in the community. A committee of local community volunteers reviewed and ranked the grant applications by the projects’ alignment with the mission of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.
This year’s recipients received between $1,500 and $5,000, for a total community investment of $50,000.
Starting in 2011, the local American Heart Association has been able to award $200,000 with 52 grants to 35 deserving organizations who are working to improve the health of the Greater Utica area.
“We were so happy to see the level of creative projects being developed to support the fight against heart disease and stroke,” says Steve Gassner, chairman of the AHA/ASA Greater Utica Area advisory board. “There were many merit-worthy projects that would result in improvements in the cardiovascular health of our community. The decisions were not easy.”
As the American Heart Association focuses its attention on systems change, local staff presence to directly participate and support many of these important community initiatives is lacking. The funding will help to ensure that activities continue and new, creative projects are executed.