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St. Anthony Shrine awarded $500K to expand women's health clinic


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BOSTON -- St. Anthony Shrine has been awarded a $500,000 grant -- the largest in its history -- from Cummings Foundation's Sustaining Grants program. The funding will allow the shrine to grow its Women's Health Clinic by 35 percent to better serve the complex health care needs of Boston's most vulnerable homeless population.

In March 2016, St. Anthony Shrine partnered with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) to open the women-only clinic after recognizing a critical need: homeless women often forgo medical care from co-ed clinics, further exacerbating their already serious health issues. The Women's Health Clinic provides a safe, calming, and confidential environment in an area cordoned off so that no men -- including the friars of the Shrine -- are allowed to enter.

"The long term overall goal is to improve and stabilize the health of homeless women and increase their capacity to live independently and contribute to society," said Father Tom Conway. "With this grant, we will be able to offer the homeless women of Downtown Boston the medical care and attention they need and deserve."

The Cummings Foundation grant will allow the Clinic to expand its care team, adding a registered nurse (RN) and a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. While the existing nurse practitioner can diagnose conditions, treat illnesses, order appropriate labs and imaging, and write prescriptions, the added support of an RN will provide increased access to health care and other outreach services.

"Long-term financial support is rare for nonprofits, making fundraising a constant and time consuming task for organizations like St. Anthony Shrine," said Joyce Vyriotes, deputy director of Cummings Foundation. "The Sustaining Grants are intended to provide some relief, allowing them to focus more of their time and energy on delivering and enhancing their important services."

St. Anthony Shrine is one of 33 local nonprofits awarded a total of $10 million from Cummings Foundation through its new Sustaining Grants program, which provides funding for up to 10 years. The Sustaining Grants program builds on Cummings Foundation's $100K for 100 program. First offered in 2012, $100K for 100 annually awards $10 million through multi-year grants of $100,000 each to 100 nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties. Grant recipients that received their final grant disbursements in 2017 were automatically considered for the Sustaining Grants initiative in 2018.

Sustaining Grants winners were selected primarily by a 40-member volunteer committee, which included former state legislators, CEOs of companies and organizations in Greater Boston, and a retired justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, among many others. Committee members conducted two site visits with each nonprofit to learn how the $100K for 100 funds helped to advance its mission, and how it might put a 10-year grant to use.

Cummings Foundation has already awarded more than $200 million to date in Greater Boston alone, and it will award an additional $200 million over the next 10 years through the $100K for 100 and the Sustaining Grants programs. The complete list of 33 grant winners is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

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