WICHITA, Kan. – The Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) Board of Directors recently approved $1.3 million in grant funding to increase food security, assist with COVID-19 antibody testing and support efforts to improve health by the Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, Newman University and the Greater Wichita YMCA.
The following awards were approved by the KHF Board of Directors:
Increase Food Security – $900,000
To address the growing rise in food insecurity across Kansas caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board approved a two-pronged approach to strengthen available food benefits and expanded access to Federal Nutrition Programs in Kansas. This includes:
American Red Cross COVID-19 Antibody Testing – $265,118
The coronavirus pandemic has caused increasingly low levels of donated blood. KHF will be supporting the American Red Cross serving Kansas to help cover the costs of testing blood donated all across the state between Oct. 2020 and Jan. 2021 for COVID-19 antibodies. By testing for antibodies, donors will learn if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and public health agencies will be told about the prevalence of COVID-19 in their communities (through shared aggregate data). The American Red Cross hopes to increase blood donations during this desperate time of need by providing antibody testing and encouraging donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to offer convalescent plasma to possibly help the recovery of those severely ill with COVID-19. The Red Cross is distributing convalescent plasma to hospitals under the FDA’s emergency use authorization (EUA) for the treatment of COVID-19. This EUA may help ensure more patients have access to this potentially lifesaving treatment, providing greater hope to individuals and their families during this difficult time.
KHF has repurposed grant funds or provided additional support totaling more than $16.6 million for COVID-19 initiatives in 2020.
$50,000 – Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Match Support Specialists
KHF will provide $50,000 to Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters to support the continued stability of the organization’s match support specialists, who provide professional monitoring and engagement with the adult volunteer, at-risk youth and the parent/guardian to ensure the most safe, effective and long-term match possible. Approximately 50 percent of at-risk youth who receive these services represent communities of color.
$50,000 – Newman University Nurse Anesthesia Program
To help comply with new accreditation standards, KHF will award $50,000 to help Newman University transition its nurse anesthesia program from a master’s level program to a doctoral program. This will ensure that Kansas will not lose 40 percent of its annual Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (currently educated at Newman University). Nurse anesthetists are the sole anesthesia providers in nearly all rural Kansas hospitals, and their abilities are desperately needed to continue care for the medically underserved.
$50,000 – Greater Wichita YMCA Expansion of YMCA 360
KHF will award the Greater Wichita YMCA $50,000 in collaboration with the Kansas State Alliance of YMCAs, to expand YMCA 360, an online fitness app that offers health and wellness programs to anyone in Kansas. This planning grant will assist the Alliance to work with and reach communities that don’t have access to a local YMCA and are looking for activities and classes to build healthy habits and provide consistency through programs that are not currently offered in person. Grant funds will be used to conduct market research to understand barriers of diverse populations to make the app relevant and accessible to all. Greater Wichita YMCA and the Alliance will also create and implement a statewide public awareness plan.
The Kansas Health Foundation is based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. With a mission to improve the health of all Kansans, KHF envisions a culture in which every Kansan can make healthy choices where they live, work and play. To achieve this, KHF focuses its work to address health equity in four impact areas: access to affordable health care, healthy behaviors, civic and community engagement and educational attainment. During its 30-year history, KHF has provided more than $500 million in grants to improve health in Kansas communities.
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