June 2022 Newsletter
  • St. Joe Foundation awards more than $700,000 in grants
  • HEAL Markets help families afford fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Board Member Spotlight: Father Zimmer visits Poland
  • Alive Community Outreach 
  • Courageous Healing
- Responding to community needs with grants -
Foundation spotlight:
St. Joe Foundation awards
more than $700,000 in grants
The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation is investing more than $700,000 in local nonprofits and grassroots organizations that work with low-income and vulnerable residents.

The Board of Directors recently approved the latest round of grants, bringing the total number of grants awarded since January 1, 2022 to 53. The total amount of funds awarded since the Foundation’s beginning in 1998 is $24,528,636.

“We continue to see too many lower-income families in our community struggling with basic needs.  We are seeing increased demand for low-cost nutritious food, affordable and culturally centered mental health services in our community, as well as a growing need for humanitarian legal services to support immigrants and refugees,” says Meg Distler, St. Joe Foundation executive director. “Our staff, grants committee, and Board of Directors have spent a lot of time learning about these and other important community issues and we believe the grants will offer both short-term and longer-term solutions for addressing them.”

The majority of grants awarded since January 2022 are part of the spring grant cycle, which just concluded. Those grants total $660,160 and address needs in four impact areas: Prenatal & Infant Care, Nutrition & Food Insecurity, Access to Quality, Affordable Healthcare, and Refugees & Immigrants.
Another $40,350 was awarded to...

- Supporting low-cost, nutritious eating -
Partner spotlight:
HEAL Markets help families
afford fresh fruits and vegetables
Locally grown produce will be on sale starting July 13 at the three HEAL Markets, which are located in food deserts. Food deserts are areas within the community that have low access to fresh food and a significant number of low-income families. 

HEAL stands for Healthy Eating Active Living and is a partnership between the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and Parkview Health. HealthVisions Midwest of Fort Wayne operates the markets.

Just like in years past, an abundance of locally grown produce will be available at all three locations; WIC (Women, Infants & Children) vouchers, Senior vouchers, and all SNAP (food stamp) purchases will be matched $1 for $1. That means anyone using SNAP or WIC/Senior vouchers gets double the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables for their family. Veggie RX, a Parkview Health program, is also accepted, as are cash, credit, and debit payments.

- Celebrating dedicated, compassionate service -
Foundation focus:
Board Member Spotlight:
Father Zimmer visits Poland
USF President Father Zimmer gains insight during Poland trip

A photo exhibit illustrating the destruction caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine struck an emotional chord with University of Saint Francis President Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer on his recent visit to Fort Wayne’s sister city of Płock, Poland.

“The exhibit, ‘The Sky over Zhytomyr,’ showed pictures of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, before the war and after it had been bombed,” Fr. Zimmer said. “One picture showed a part of the town where a maternity ward had been destroyed and other buildings had been destroyed. It was extremely sobering.”

Fr. Zimmer, a member of the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation Board of Directors, traveled to Poland as part of Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s delegation, which also included...

- Serving the poor in body, mind and spirit -
Grantee focus:
Alive Community Outreach
Alive Community Outreach is a local faith-based organization focused on supporting families affected by homicide and providing nonviolence education to area high school students. The St. Joe Foundation is pleased to have awarded new grantee Alive $5,000 during this spring’s grants cycle.

Established in 2019, the mission and work of Alive is personal to its Founder and Executive Director, Rev. Angelo Mante, who was living in Georgia when he received word that his cousin was murdered in Fort Wayne. “His name was Nick Powers and he was like a little brother to me when we were growing up. My wife and our young family had settled in Atlanta and were planting our roots there, but after the tragic loss of my cousin we felt God calling us to come back home.”

- Improving access to quality, affordable, mental healthcare -
Grantee spotlight:
Courageous Healing
Cultural competency is essential for providing quality care and making sure the healthcare needs of all community members are met. In general, seeking help for mental health often carries a stigma. For many, that stigma has deep cultural roots that have to be addressed in ways that are sensitive, informed, and relatable.

According to Mental Health America, mental health conditions occur in Black and white people in America at about the same rates, but history, trauma, violence, oppression, racism, and medical mistrust often impact the emotional and mental health of Black people in ways that other populations don’t experience.

To help address such issues and the need for culturally competent mental health services in Fort Wayne, Janell and Aaron Lane founded Courageous Healing, a mental health practice the St. Joe Foundation has proudly supported with $80,000 in funding since its beginning in 2019.

- Connecting everyone in the community to critical health resources -
Community resource:

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 A ministry sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.