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KHF Board awards $1.3 million for COVID-19 response, improvement

(MGN)
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 4:36 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Health Foundation Board has approved $1.3 million to go to COVID-19 response and health improvement efforts.

The Kansas Health Foundation Board of Directors says it has approved $1.3 million in grant funding to increase food security, help 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.

According to the Board, the following awards have been approved:

Increase Food Security - $900,000

To address the growing issue of food insecurity throughout the state caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board said it approved a double-headed approach to strengthen available benefits and expand access to federal nutrition programs in Kansas. It said this includes the following:

  • $750,000 to Harvesters - The Community Food Network, as a member of the Association of Kansas Food Banks with Second Harvest Community Food Bank and the Kansas Food Bank. The funds will be used to expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach efforts, promoting and providing application assistance statewide. This support will be available over the next two years.
  • $150,000 to Kansas Appleseed to help their efforts to strengthen and expand available benefits to fight food insecurity through supporting an anti-hunger advocate located in southwest Kansas. This advocate will help with Kansas Appleseed’s anti-hunger work for two years.

American Red Cross COVID-19 Antibody Testing - $265,118

The Board said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused low levels of blood donations. It said it will be supporting the Red Cross to help cover the costs of testing blood donated all across the state between Oct. 2020 and Jan. 2021 for COVID-19 antibodies. It said by testing for antibodies, donors will learn if they have been exposed to the virus and public health agencies will be notified of the prevalence of COVID-19 in their communities. It said the American Red Cross hopes to increase blood donations during the pandemic by providing antibody testing and encouraging donors that have recovered from the virus to offer convalescent plasma to help the recovery of those severely ill with the virus.

According to the Board, the Red Cross is distributing convalescent plasma to hospitals under the FDA’s emergency use authorization for the treatment. It said the EUA may help ensure more patients have access to the potentially life-saving treatment, providing more hope to individuals and their families during the pandemic.

Impact Funding Support - $150,000

  • $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 safest, 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 the 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.

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