Oregon Program Promoting Fitness, Heart Health Among Blacks Receives $35,000 Donation After Losing Federal FundingProvidence Health & Services, formerly Providence Health Plans, on Friday donated $35,000 to the African American Health Coalition in Portland, Ore., which lost its federal funding Oct. 1, the Oregonian reports. Since 2000, the coalition has sought to reduce cardiovascular disease among blacks through the creation of fitness programs and by training community members, such as beauticians, to educate others about heart health. The coalition also trained fitness instructors, paid for fitness classes at two community centers and launched private fitness classes. The donation will fund the fitness programs offered through Portland Parks and Recreation through the end of the year. However, private classes will be discontinued until a permanent funding source can be secured, according to the Oregonian (Hoover Barnett, Oregonian, 10/12).
CDC recently announced that 40 groups received federal funding through the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, though several groups that had received the grants in the past did not get them this year, according to media reports. Rather than have only existing programs apply for the money, CDC this year opened the application process to new programs.
As a result of the funding decision, the Portland coalition lost an $880,000 federal grant that made up half of its annual budget (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 9/28).
Providence CEO Russ Danielson said, "I was concerned that when you've got people engaged in healthy behavior, exercise and good eating habits, you don't want to pull the rug out," adding, "So I want to give ... bridge funding and then try to bring others to the table to see if we can't fund this in an ongoing way." Danielson said the company's donation is going toward a "good use of money," adding, "You leverage a small amount of dollars to create a huge beneficial effect" (Oregonian, 10/12). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.