When you hear Barbara Avery talk about her job, you’ll hear her use words like “inspiring” and “life-changing.” Barbara is El Camino Hospital’s Director of Community Benefit, and her passion for helping her community comes through loud and clear: “We feel a responsibility to address the pressing health needs of our community’s most vulnerable members. We’re helping the underserved receive the health services they need as an extension of our mission.”
Despite the general prosperity of Silicon Valley, the basic health needs of many residents still go unmet. However, there are a variety of agencies and organizations working passionately to raise the overall level of community wellness. Many of them turn to El Camino Hospital’s Community Benefit Program. In 2016, the program awarded more than $3 million in grants and sponsorships for initiatives focused on maintaining a healthy body, healthy mind, and a healthy community. Barbara notes, “I have been working here for a quite a while, and find that our board’s genuine commitment to the health of the community just keeps growing. It is so inspiring.”
Every year, the Community Benefit Program invests in dozens of organizations that are working to fulfill basic needs of the underserved and at-risk in the community. Barbara says, “We are so honored to partner with these groups. Through their efforts, more children are physically active and have access to mental health counseling at school for example. And more families get the resources they need to stay healthy.”
Grantees are held to robust performance metrics. According to Barbara, the work of these programs is essential: “We always ask ourselves, ‘Will this grant truly make a difference in the community, and can we measure that difference? These groups are providing critical services to the underserved and prevention programs that benefit the whole community.”
Grants have been distributed to programs addressing community needs such as school nurses, emergency food assistance for low income community members, fall and isolation prevention for the elderly, counseling and case management for the homeless and the uninsured, crisis counseling for victims of domestic violence, orthodontics for foster children, and critical developmental exams for at-risk babies and toddlers. The results of these programs can make a major impact on recipients. “A program like orthodontics for foster children can be life-changing for these kids,” says Barbara.
El Camino Hospital’s Community Benefit Program is currently accepting applications for the FY18 grant cycle. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. (PST) on Thursday, February 16, 2017.