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Our Community Focus

Pleasant Hill Mayor's Message

Mar 02, 2015 02:26PM ● By Elena Hutslar

Mayor Ken Carlson

By Ken Carlson

The month of February was a blur of activity and it’s not over yet. Once again, it’s “crustacean craziness.” This is the time to fill up on crab and get out and raise money for all our favorite service and charity organizations, from the Special Olympics to Meals on Wheels Senior Outreach Services and many, many more.

When I decided to run for city council, I felt I had an understanding of the work and opportunities to serve. What I soon came to realize was that there were many more opportunities than I originally thought. Serving on the city council, whether as mayor, vice mayor or council member, provides opportunities to serve on several committees, commissions, and boards that include budget, economic development and more. One of the boards I have the privilege to serve on is the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund.

The Community Health Fund (CHF) began in 1997, when the merger that created John Muir Health called for developing and funding an independent “community health benefit nonprofit corporation.” Since then, the CHF has distributed over 24 million dollars in grants. The board is comprised of ten members appointed by John Muir Health, the Pleasant Hill City Council, and the Concord City Council. Vice Mayor David Durant and former Council Member Jack Weir are just two of Pleasant Hill’s past representatives. I currently have the privilege of representing Pleasant Hill with Allison Koerber.

For 2014, we reviewed several grant applications and were able to disperse over 1.5 million dollars in grants. At our December meeting, the CHF Board voted to award nine grants for the coming year. I want to highlight some of the wonderful organizations out there who are seeing to the needs of the uninsured and underinsured in our community.

In December, Community Health Fund (CHF) awarded grants to the following:

Operation Access was awarded a $225,000 health initiative grant to continue work with its Contra Costa health partners to deliver free, same-day specialty care services for 400 uninsured adult patients in central and east Contra Costa County.

Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services was awarded a $200,000 health initiative grant to continue providing care management services for 300 low-income seniors while simultaneously implementing the second year of a 3-year plan of action aimed at reorganizing and expanding its service model.

Planned Parenthood Northern California was awarded a $250,000 health initiative grant to optimize technology solutions beyond electronic health record implementation at its five central and east Contra Costa Health Centers.

La Clinica de La Raza was awarded a $250,000 health initiative grant to implement the second year of its Contra Costa Nursing Care Expansion Initiative, aimed at increasing timely assessment and access to coordinated health care and coordinated hospital-to-clinic transitions for its Concord, Pittsburg, and Oakley patients.

The Women’s Cancer Resource Center and the Cancer Support Community were awarded a total of $188,234 in health initiative grants to formally partner for the purpose of launching and piloting an East County Center for Cancer Support.

Brighter Beginnings was awarded a $50,000 annual program support grant to launch an East County African American Health Initiative.

The Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano was awarded a $60,000 annual program support grant to develop and conduct a multi-faceted targeted marketing campaign, in partnership with the Contra Costa County Employment & Human Service Department, focused on increasing CalFresh enrollment in central and east Contra Costa County.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County was awarded a $43,750 annual program grant to hire a part-time medical professional to provide leadership and serve as the RotaCare Pittsburg Clinic Care Coordinator.

At our February meeting, the CHF awarded Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services (MOWSOS) a $25,000 capacity building grant that will allow three members of the organization’s senior management team to participate in the SCAN Foundation Linkage Lab Academy. It is expected that the MOWSOS team will develop the internal capacity to develop at least one new contract with a local health system as a result of participating in the Academy.

All of these organizations are working to better serve and reach those in our community. I look forward to another year of being a part of the process and being a part of helping those in need. I also wanted to give a shout out to all of the CHF’s Board and staff for their dedication and hard work.