Superior Health Foundation hosts Spring Awards Celebration

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MARQUETTE – The Superior Health Foundation awarded more than $107,000 in health-centered grant funding at its Spring Grants Celebration on Wednesday evening at the Holiday Inn in Marquette.  The Awards Celebration was sponsored by 44North.

  The Superior Health Foundation awarded $107,329.53 at the celebration, with $82,138.83 being dispersed in large grants to eight organizations across the Upper Peninsula. 

  “The Superior Health Foundation is honored to award large grant funding to eight very deserving organizations across the region,” said Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation. “The grants committee does an incredible job of funding projects that align with our mission.”

   Added Bruce Seely, PhD, President of the SHF Board of Directors: “On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Superior Health Foundation, we’re pleased to provide much-need grant funding to organizations with health-centered missions that align with ours.”

    At the celebration, the SHF also awarded $15,190.70 in mini-grants to U.P.-wide organizations from October 2018 through March 2019, along with $10,000 in Indigent Care funding.

   A capsule look at the organizations receiving large grant funding Wednesday evening:

  • ·         UP Children’s Therapy – Marquette ($3,000) – The UP Children’s Therapy was created in the fall of 2017 as a home for the summer speech program previously hosted by the YMCA, Bell Foundation and Easter Seals. The six-week program provides two sessions of therapy per week to children, generally between the ages of 3 and 12. Children are referred by their school speech therapist, and their educational program forms the basis for the summer. The money will go toward funding of this program.
  • ·         Munising Memorial Hospital ($4,284) – A year ago, Munising Memorial Hospital began providing physician services to the Burt Township Health Center located in the township offices in Grand Marias. This grant will purchase a new exam table in the Burt Township Health Center.
  • ·         Gogebic Range Health Foundation ($4,995) – The Gogebic Range Health Foundation collaborated with Michigan’s Western Gateway Trail Authority to create Iron Belle Wheeler’s, which is a volunteer-run program that provides access to the Iron Belle Trail by offering bicycle rides to individuals who cannot ride a bicycle independently. To further help people in the community access the trail, they will purchase another wheelchair power-assist bicycle to expand the capacity offered.
  • ·         Lake Superior Hospice ($6,695) – Lake Superior Hospice is a community-based, non-profit agency that has served hospice patients in Marquette and Alger counties since 1979. In order to keep up with the demand of hospice care patients needing a wide variety of services, they seek more volunteers. This funding will go toward a “Lunch and Learn” that will bring its trained volunteers together quarterly to discuss experiences and challenges they face on a regular basis when working with patients. They will also provide them with supplies, a computer and activity bags for engaging with patients.
  • ·         Helen Newberry Joy Hospital ($7,524.83) – In the eastern U.P., there are four eye care specialists serving nearly 5,000 Medicaid recipients in Luce, Mackinac, Schoolcraft and Alger Counties. For many people in the eastern U.P, that model requires them to travel more than 60 miles, one-way, for their annual Diabetic Retinopathy Screening (DRS). Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults in the U.S. With this grant, they will develop a Diabetic Retinopathy Telehealth Project to help eliminate some of the barriers facing the care team.
  • ·         Cedar Tree Institute ($15,640) – The Cedar Tree Institute is a non-profit organization providing services and initiating projects in mental health, religion and the environment. It offers mental health services on an individual basis and works with faith communities and environmental groups. It has created the Horizon Project, a wellness and health initiative designed to address the elevated levels of stress among elderly citizens on matters related to decisions about medical care, grief about the loss of mobility, fear of diminishing relationships and anxiety regarding end-of-life issues. Funding will go toward phase 1 of the project. 
  • ·         Michigan State University – Department of Pediatrics and Human Development ($20,000) – The MSU College of Human Medicine has campuses around the state, including Marquette and Escanaba. The Department of Pediatrics and Human Development seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of children across the state. One way is by providing one half-day per week tele-consultation services for physicians and other providers involved with the care of children in the Marquette area with autism and/or behavioral and mental health issues. MSU will provide access to MSU faculty in child psychiatry and/or developmental-behavioral pediatrics. These tele-consultation services will complement and help sustain plans for expanded autism and pediatric behavioral health services in the Marquette area.
  • ·         Northern Michigan University ($20,000) – The Behavioral Education, Assessment & Research (BEAR) Center at NMU is a free university clinic and research facility that provides behavioral assessment, consultation and therapeutic services for children with autism, developmental disabilities, language-deficits and other behavioral concerns. The Center largely utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) during services. ABA is the application of methods and strategies to solve socially significant problems. The U.P. is currently experiencing a shortage of trained professionals who possess the appropriate training or credentials to provide ABA services. This funding will help develop a professional association to support educational and development needs of professionals working in areas related to ABA techniques.


SHF also awarded $10,000 in Indigent Care funding to these organizations:

  • •         Cancer Care of Marquette County ($5,000) – Cancer Care of Marquette County has served cancer patients since 1958. It passed a resolution that all of the funding must benefit Marquette County residents. The organization provides financial support to those with a cancer diagnosis who are unable to respond to the healthcare costs caused by their disease and its treatment. Funding will go to patient care services.
  • •         Great Lakes Recovery Centers ($5,000) – Great Lakes Recovery Centers is a 501©3 organization that provides behavioral health services across the U.P. One service they offer is the Compassionate Care Fund,  which helps patients who are uninsured, underinsured, not eligible for governmental or community funding, and do not have the means to pay for services to undergo or continue treatment. The grant will go toward the Compassionate Care Fund.

   SHF’s mission is “to assist with unmet healthcare needs, with health education, and with programs and research on preventing illness and promoting health throughout the Upper Peninsula.”

   Local 3 spoke with LaJoie at the celebration, “A lot of these non profits are kind of strapped for cash and for us to be able to step in and provide that needed funding help in their region is incredible and what’s really kind of amazing about tonight is that we have folks coming from Ironwood, from Houghton, all across the Upper Peninsula and that’s huge, and we are pretty proud of that.”

   In its six and one-half years of existence, SHF has now awarded nearly $2.3 million in grant funding.

  To learn more, visit

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