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Excellus Awards Money to Nonprofits Promoting City, Regional Health

Nonprofits providing programs that educate more African American women about breast cancer, help children read, support teen mothers and plant a community garden are among 11 organizations in the Rochester area set to receive money from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Each recipient will receive up to $4,000. The money is part of the health insurer’s Community Health Awards, which focus on reducing the incidence of specific diseases, promoting health education and enhancing overall wellness. Winning organizations are selected based on the proposed program’s scope of need, goals and the number of people expected to benefit from it.

The Rochester-area nonprofits receiving money are:

· Angel Care Ministry of St. Marianne Cope Parish, to supply new and expectant mothers in need with portable baby beds and other newborn necessities to ensure babies have a safe place to sleep when they arrive home from the hospital.

· Asbury First United Methodist Church, to support the UR Well Clinic, an outreach program within the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry that offers free acute health care to uninsured and underserved adults.

· Celebration of Life Community Inc., to benefit the Help Me Read one-on-one tutoring program at School 17 in Rochester. Volunteer tutors are paired with children in grades 1-6 to provide additional reading support and mentoring.

· House of Mercy, Health & Wellness Program, to provide CPR, first aid, and opioid overdose training, as well as first aid kits to help treat homeless individuals who use the House of Mercy’s drop-in emergency services.

· Jefferson Family Health Fund, to support the Magnolia Children’s Community Garden, which brings healthy, fresh produce to the food desert of Rochester’s inner city.

· Medical Motor Service of Rochester and Monroe County, Inc., to help address the needs of the chronically homeless in the Rochester area with funding for the MMS Homeless Shuttle, a late-night program to provide food, health care, and overnight housing.

· Mt. Hope Family Center, funding to support the Building Healthy Children program and provide teen mothers entering the program with welcome bags that include parenting and child health resource information and developmentally-appropriate baby items.

· Nazareth College, to support 13 Head Start Hearing Screenings for approximately 750 Head Start students throughout the greater Rochester area.

· United Way of Seneca County, Inc., funding will help increase access to treatment through Seneca County Substance Abuse Coalition which provides transportation opportunities to attend mental health and substance abuse treatment and programs.

· Wilson Commencement Park, to support the newly redesigned Youth Development Program offering year-round structured educational and recreational opportunities for children of its residential community.

· Witness Project of Western New York, to support its culturally competent, community-based breast cancer education program for African American women. Funding will provide 10 breast health education programs in Monroe County. The Witness Project educates on early cancer detection through stories told by area breast cancer survivors.

The Rochester-area organizations are among 33 across New York state that will share in in almost $108,000 from Excellus. The insurer makes Community Health Awards twice a year.