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Jun 25, 2015 | Brian Sasser

Episcopal Health Foundation announces 15 new grant partners to improve community health

HOUSTON – (June 24, 2015) – The Episcopal Health Foundation announced today it has approved $2.9 million to benefit 15 new grant partners working to transform community health. This is the second group of grants to be awarded by the Board of Directors under the Foundation’s strategic plan to transform the people, institutions and places across 57 Texas counties to create healthy communities for everyone. This brings the Foundation’s total grants for 2015 to $5.3 million.


“To make long-lasting improvements to community health, we must change the systems that create or deter healthy communities,” said Elena Marks, EHF’s president and CEO. “We think the best way to do that is through community participation and action. These new grant partners enable us to support this kind of transformation.”


EHF’s grant investments aim to address the root causes of poor health instead of treating symptoms again and again. The Foundation developed seven strategies to help strengthen health systems and connect communities to achieve better community health. Each of these new grant partners meets one of those key strategies.


$411,240 to MHMRA of Harris County (Harris County)
Strategy: Mental Health and Wellness

Grant will support a collaborative pilot program with MHMRA, the Houston Police Department, and Houston Emergency Center (911) called the Crisis Call Diversion Project. The goal is for 911 operators to identify all mental health calls coming in to HPD and then refer calls that meet specific qualifications immediately to a MHMRA tele-counselor.


In 2014, HPD responded to more than 32,000 calls to 911 involving people with a mental health concern. Less than 1% actually required intervention by an officer.


Diverting certain mental health calls to trained experts could not only help the callers access mental health care best suited for the situation, but it may avoid the need for officers to respond. MHMRA plans to follow up with callers to make sure they received mental health services.


$120,500 to Rice Medical Center (Colorado County)
Strategy: Access to Health Services

Grant will support expansion of a new school-based telemedicine program for students in Colorado County. When students attending two rural school districts are sick at school, primary-care doctors at Rice Medical Center in Eagle Lake will see the students through telemedicine equipment.


The program is designed to improve student health and attendance, as well as increase the availability of health care at school. The telemedicine program could expand to other schools and could also encourage similar programs in both rural and urban schools across Texas. Rice Medical Center will share their experiences and expertise with others. 


$98,642 to Nurse-Family Partnership (12 counties across Southeast Texas)
Strategy: Early Childhood Development


Grant provides support and expansion of NFP’s mission to empower first-time mothers living in poverty to successfully improve the health of themselves and their children. Nurses make regular home visits with these mothers from pregnancy until their children turn two. The visits help identify risk factors, provide health education, and encourage healthy child development.


The long-standing program has shown it improves the mother’s health, the child’s health and development, and the economic stability of the family.


“Each of our grant partners are working toward long-term sustainable solutions to health problems, and not just short-term fixes,” Marks said. “Combined with EHF’s research, community engagement, and work with Episcopal churches, we believe we’re taking the first steps toward making transformational change to community health.”


This is the second round of EHF grants to be awarded in 2015. The Foundation expects to announce additional grant partners in September, November and December. EHF estimates it will invest approximately $9 million in grants to community organizations in 2015. The goal is for grant-making amounts to grow each year as the Foundation builds partners and capacity in the region.


By the Numbers

$1.5 million to support comprehensive, integrated community-based primary care

$786,311 to support mental health and wellness

$399,952 to increase access to health services

$268,642 to enhance early childhood development


Entire list of Grant Partners:

Access Health (Fort Bend & Waller counties)
$100,000 Strategy: Comprehensive, community-based primary care
Grant will provide operating support for the delivery of integrated health care services to low-income communities at this Federally Qualified Health Center.

AIDS Services of Austin, Inc. (Bastrop, Burnet, Lee, Travis & Williamson counties)
$279,452 Strategy: Access to health services
Grant will enhance HIV care by linking the greater-Austin area’s largest AIDS service organization to the area’s only safety-net HIV and primary care medical clinic.

Child Advocates of Fort Bend (Fort Bend & Waller counties)
$100,000 Strategy: Mental health and wellness
Grant will provide a comprehensive, community-based system of mental health care for children and families suffering from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect.

ChildBuilders (Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston & Harris counties)
$100,000 Strategy: Mental health and wellness
Grant is to deliver primary prevention of mental health issues through programs that build resilience in children and youth.

Children’s Defense Fund (All 57 counties)
$170,000 Strategy: Early childhood development
Grant is to increase awareness of early childhood developmental disabilities and delays, and to enhance access to screening and treatment.

El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission (Travis County)
$928,301 Strategy: Comprehensive, community-based primary care
Grant is to strengthen the financial infrastructure of the Wallace Mallory Clinic, improve healthcare quality, and achieve Patient Centered Medical Home certification.

El Centro de Corazón (Harris County)
$100,000 Strategy: Comprehensive, community-based primary care
Grant is to expand primary care for medically underserved children, adults and families served by this Federally Qualified Health Center.

Manos de Cristo (Travis & Williamson counties)
$40,000 Strategy: Comprehensive, community-based primary care
Grant is to provide comprehensive dental services to low income families.

Mental Health America of Greater Houston (Bell, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Montgomery, Travis, Walker & Williamson counties)
$150,071 Strategy: Mental health and wellness
Grant is to develop and implement the first phase of a three-part plan for ongoing program evaluation that includes formative, process, outcome and impact assessments among mental health and behavioral health providers.

MHMRA of Harris County (Harris County)
$411,240 Strategy: Mental health and wellness
Grant is to support the Crisis Call Diversion Project to assess the impact of diverting non-imminent risk mental health calls away from the Houston Police Department to MHMRA’s tele-counselors for appropriate mental health services.

National Alliance on Mental Illness-Greater Houston (Harris & Montgomery counties)
$25,000 Strategy: Mental health and wellness
Grant is to provide peer support group meetings and community outreach programs for those impacted by mental illness.

Nurse-Family Partnership (Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gregg, Hardin,  Harris, Harrison, Jefferson, Montgomery, Orange, Travis & Williamson counties)
$98,642 Strategy: Early childhood development
Grant is to support first-time mothers living in poverty to successfully improve the health of themselves and their children by strengthening NFP’s stability and expanding services.

Rice Medical Center (Colorado County)
$120,500 Strategy: Access to health services
Grant is to support a school-based telemedicine program for students in rural school districts.

The Rose (33 counties)
$250,000 Strategy: Comprehensive, community-based primary care
Grant is to provide operational support to sustain breast health services to 1,700 uninsured women through partnerships with community health clinics in 33 counties.

Spring Branch Community Health Center (Harris County)
$100,000 Strategy: Comprehensive, community-based primary care
Grant is to provide operational support to medical services and staff to support growth and patient demand for the Federally Qualified Health Center.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Brian Sasser, director of communications, at 832.795.9404.

The Episcopal Health Foundation
 was established through the 2013 transfer of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas to Catholic Health Initiatives. The Foundation has assets of more than $1.2 billion and is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that operates as a supporting organization of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. The Foundation works to improve the health and well-being of the 10 million people in the 57 counties of the Diocese. Learn more at