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A healthy anniversary

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By Tris DeRoma

Members of the Northern New Mexico Health Grants Group had a small reception at the Los Alamos Medical Center Wednesday to celebrate a pretty big milestone.

The group was celebrating its 10 year anniversary, as well as the fact it has managed to help many area non-profits through the years with its grant program. The group recently announced that 12 local non-profits will receive $145,000 in aid next year. At least several non-profits from Los Alamos received grants, including: Family Strengths Network, $6,800; the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service, $2,200; the Los Alamos Council on Cancer, $10,000; and the Los Alamos Family Council, $15,000. 

Over the past decade, it’s estimated NNMHGG has awarded $2.1 million in 143 grants to non-profit organizations based in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and northern Santa Fe counties.”

“We are very grateful for Con Alma’s willingness to support this education as we move forward with building a hospice house in Los Alamos,” said Sarah Rochester, executive director of Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service. “Having end-of-life trained nurses there will be very special.”

NNMHGG was formed when the Los Alamos Medical Center was sold by Banner Health Systems, a nonprofit company, to Province HealthCare, a for profit corporation. 

According to board member Steve Wells, who is also the president of Los Alamos National Bank, some people in the community were worried that the area’s non-profits would suffer downturns in funding because of the change in status. “Because of that, there was a recommendation as well as an agreement that some of the sale’s proceeds be put into an investment fund where the earnings of that fund would go toward assuring the health needs of Northern New Mexico were met,” Wells said. Wells added the group meets every now and then to determine the needs of the community and what and where they should use the funds, a need that’s always changing, he said.

“Some of those items of concern have been teenage pregnancy, teenage suicide, nutrition, assistance for seniors, cancer and how it impacts families.”  

What’s really nice about the program, he said, is since they have oversight regarding the annual applications for grant money they receive every year, they are able to see the big picture as to where the funds should go. He also said the group’s governing philosophy is program-based and impact-oriented so organizations don’t come to rely on them as a steady source of income.

“We also have mid-term reviews where we look at the grant recipients and see how they’re producing results,” he said.