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New Catholic Health Foundation makes first grants

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BRAINTREE -- The board of directors of the new Catholic Health Foundation of Greater Boston, Inc. announced June 12 that they have approved the organization's first grants. Forty-seven grants totaling $684,521 have been made in nine health-related categories.

On February 2013, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a "cy pres" judgment approving the transfer of more than$10.12 million charitable endowment funds from the former Caritas Christi Health System/Steward Health Care to the newly created Catholic Health Foundation, with "the unrestricted funds to be used for the general purposes of the Catholic Health Foundation, and those that had more particular purposes to be allocated to that purpose category that is closest to the original gift."

The transfer of the funds was completed on October 1, 2013. A Request for Proposals was issued in mid-February 2014 with a deadline for proposal submissions of April 15, 2014. Grant recipients were announced this week.

According to the organization, 41 percent of the funds distributed went to 27 Catholic schools around the archdiocese, 32 percent went to health care organizations, 14 percent to social service agencies, 12 percent to new health-related programs of the archdiocese's Central Ministries, and one percent to parishes. Awards ranged from $361 to $100,000.

Examples cited by the Catholic Health Foundation of the types of programs and projects the grants will support included $25,000 for expansion of nursing assistant and home health aide training programs in Brockton and South Boston with Catholic Charities of Boston; $2,000 toward the purchase of school medical equipment at St. Raphael School in Medford; $40,000 to the Little Sisters of the Poor of Greater Boston, Inc. for patient equipment for St. Joseph Unit, benefitting cancer patients; and $20,000 to Signature Healthcare/Brockton Hospital for funding a part-time hospital chaplain fluent in Haitian Creole or Cape Verdean Creole, supporting cancer and other patients.

Board president Kathleen F. Driscoll said, "The Catholic Church has a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our communities. We serve those most in need without regard for ability to pay or their station in life. The creation of the Catholic Health Foundation provides an opportunity to continue carrying on Christ's healing ministry. We were pleased with the number of applications received, seeking a total of over $1M in funding. While we weren't able to meet the dollar number requested by each applicant organization, the board was able to award something to each of the organizations that applied for funding."

Patricia Kelleher Bartram, executive director, said, "This is only the beginning for the CHF contributions to health care. A priority will be supporting parish collaborative health-related programs and ministries. These are so important in the lives of their parishioners and the community."

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