Hopelink volunteers host a cooking demonstration in the Redmond food bank on Aug. 3. The organization recently received a $822,500 grant from Premera. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Hopelink volunteers host a cooking demonstration in the Redmond food bank on Aug. 3. The organization recently received a $822,500 grant from Premera. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Premera awards $3.3 million in community grants focusing on behavioral health

Several Eastside organizations will benefit from the funding.

  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 10:55am
  • Business

Premera Blue Cross, through its Premera Social Impact program, announced on Dec. 17 that it is giving more than $3.3 million in grants to 18 nonprofit organizations across Washington, including Hopelink in Redmond.

“These programs are among the leaders in our area in making a difference in the lives of individuals and families,” stated Paul Hollie, who leads Premera Social Impact. “They, like us, are working toward a healthier community through therapy, education and safe, supportive housing.”

Premera Social Impact, which launched in 2017, focuses on awarding grants to organizations that support behavioral health solutions, particularly in underserved communities.

Hopelink, in Redmond, will receive $822,500 to complete Phase I of the “Campaign for Lasting Change.” This investment will help increase impact in the community with the renovation of the Kenmore Place emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness and addition of two critical behavioral health resources to the broad spectrum of program initiatives.

“We have been so thrilled and appreciative of Premera Blue Cross. They are taking a best practices approach to health care, in our opinion,” said Hopelink CEO Lauren Thomas. “We’re so appreciative. It’s so meaningful as a partner, and they were here to really help us do what we need to do to help our communities be stronger.”

Imagine Housing, in Kirkland, will receive $75,000 to support the Mental & Behavioral Health Services Pilot for Affordable Housing Residents program. Imagine Housing’s goal is to improve the general health outcomes and housing stability of the low-income community they serve, especially those who have recently exited or experienced homelessness. This grant would create an onsite program for direct service provision as well as train staff to recognize and more appropriately refer behavioral health problems.

“[The grant] enables us to offer a service that we’ve never been able to offer before,” said Imagine Housing President and CEO Villette Nolon. “Everybody in the office has been extremely happy.”

Snoqualmie Valley Community Network, in Carnation, will receive $75,000 to expand the capacity of those working and living in the Snoqualmie Valley related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma-informed best practices, and building resilience. This project is a multi-pronged approach designed to reach as many of the more than 26,875 residents of the Snoqualmie Valley. The grant will address the impacts of childhood trauma with strategies designed to help adults move through their trauma.

Renton Family Community Services (RAYS) will receive $50,000 to support behavioral health services and address the health and academic disparities that create disproportionately lower quality of life and educational attainment among young people of color and low-income households in south King County.

Kent Youth and Family Services will receive $50,000 to support its work in ACEs and behavioral health. The core components of the interventions are all designed to address specific developmentally appropriate needs of infants, toddlers, children, teens and young adults suffering with ACEs and ACEs-related issues using a culturally competent approach.

Several grants are going to organizations based in Everett, including United Way of Snohomish County (UWSC), Housing Hope and Compass Health. Seattle organizations will also benefit, including Byrd Barr Place, Chief Seattle Club Big Brothers, Big Sisters Puget Sound, Downtown Emergency Services Center and YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. Vancouver-based Children’s Center, Lifeline Connections and Lutheran Community Services Northwest were named as recipients. Eastern Washington is also getting grants, to Community Resilience Initiative (CRI) in Walla Walla and YWCA Spokane.

Premera Blue Cross, a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association based in Mountlake Terrace, is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to approximately two million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies.

See www.premera.com for more.

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