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John M. Scott Commission Announces $450K In Health, Wellness Grants

Holly Ambuehl talks
Mary Cullen
John M. Scott Health Care Commission Chair Holly Ambuehl talks to McLean County health service agencies about this year's grant program.

The John M. Scott Health Care Commission announced it will award up to $450,000 in grants to health service agencies this fiscal year.

Holly Ambuehl, chair of the commission, said these grants provide an opportunity for agencies that suffered funding cuts from the state or other organizations to continue to grow.

“It is going to position the trust as one of the larger local funders,” Ambuehl said. “So we want to make sure that we’ve created a process that is transparent, and meaningful, and fair, and open so people can come to the table that maybe haven’t benefited in the past.”

Organizations can apply alone or work collaboratively, but proposals must work to expand access to care, behavioral health needs, or promote a healthy lifestyle.

Ambuehl said the commission is looking for proposals that target McLean County health care needs and consider social determinants and equity.

This is the first year that all funds will be provided via grants. The commission transitioned from an individual care model after Medicaid coverage was expanded under the Affordable Care Act.

Under the earlier model, Vice Chair Sue Grant said, most funds were spent on administrative efforts to refer individuals without health care to local agencies.

“The entities that are going to apply for these grants also provide those things,” Grant said. “And so they will still be able to still access those services directly from those entities.”

This year’s endowment is the largest the commission has released since the city took over the trust in 1981. Last year's endowment was $175,000.

Ambuehl stressed the annual endowment amount is not guaranteed to stay high in years to come.

Applications will be accepted all of August, with recipients being announced in mid-October. The commission will review the service agencies’ proposals and make a recommendation to the Bloomington City Council how to disburse the funds.

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