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McLean Co. Trust Focuses On Health Care Solutions

Holly Ambuehl and Sue Grant
Eric Stock
Holly Ambuehl and Sue Grant with the John M. Scott Commission said many health care agencies are seeing increased demand for funding.

A Bloomington-based health care trust was able to fund more than half of the agencies that applied for funding in its first ever grant cycle this year.
The John M. Scott Commission has announced it is funding 20 agencies and programs that address health care needs in McLean County.  

Given recent state funding cuts and a drop in United Way funding for social service agencies in McLean County, commission chair Holly Ambuehl expected high demand for these grants.

“Agencies have experienced a very difficult few years and need support,” Ambuehl said. “We need to bolster them because when agencies are doing well and have what they need, they can serve more people and when everyone in our county gets what they need and gets health care supported, then we all benefit.”

The commission awarded $1.2 million over three years, including $450,000 this year.

The commission tied its grant program to the McLean County health needs assessment, which earlier this year identified three main target areas: access to health care, behavioral health and healthy and active living. 

Ambuehl said a primary focus for the commission’s funding is addressing ways to improve health equity by better identifying the social determinants of health.

"There’s some pretty profound health outcome disparities depending on what neighborhood your live in is what demographic you belong to,” Ambuehl said. “We want to try to actively target resources to those areas where the need is greatest."

The McLean County Center for Human Services ($375,000) and Community Health Care Clinic ($300,000) won the largest grants.

Ambuehl said the commission plans to issue an additional $100,000 in grants next year based on the data it received from this year’s grant recipients. A request for proposals is expected in early 2020. She said funding for 2022 could be anywhere from $400,000 to $600,000, depending on how well the trust's investment portfolio performs. 

Vice chair Sue Grant added the commission is considering hiring a consultant who could help it evaluate how funding agencies are using the money for the greatest impact.

“We think that’s important so that we can demonstrate the impact that we’ve had on the folks in McLean County,” Grant said.

Scott was a judge, school commission and community leader in Bloomington who helped found Second Presbyterian Church.

The commission was created in 1981 after Scott’s last surviving annuitant died. The courts ordered 55% of his estate be held in a charitable trust and be used by the City of Bloomington to create preventative health center for disadvantaged persons, according to the city’s website.

Here’s the list of grant winners:

  • Community Health Care Clinic; Normal; primary and oral health care services, $375,000
  • Center for Human Services; Bloomington; behavioral and primary health care services; $300,000
  • Center for Youth and Family Solutions; Bloomington; child, adolescent and family behavioral health services; $58,000
  • Children’s Home & Aid; Bloomington; home and community-based services; $50,000
  • Heartland Head Start; Bloomington; early childhood well-being; $50,000
  • Project Oz; Bloomington; adolescent well-being including housing and crisis stabilization; $50,000
  • Baby Fold; Normal; home and community-based services; $50,000
  • West Bloomington Revitalization Project; Bloomington; healthy eating and active living; $50,000
  • Marcfirst; Normal; early childhood well-being; $35,000
  • YWCA McLean County; Bloomington; early childhood well-being; $35,000
  • Sarah Bush Lincoln; Bloomington; senior well-being; $34,000
  • Faith In Action; Normal; senior well-being; $30,000
  • Youthbuild McLean County; Normal; adolescent well-being; $30,000
  • INtegRity Counseling; Bloomington; expand access to mental health services; $21,000
  • Mid Central Community Action; Bloomington; housing interventions; $20,000
  • First United Methodist Church; Normal; School Street food pantry; $20,000
  • McLean County Health Department; Bloomington: oral health care; $15,000
  • Promise Council of McLean County: Bloomington; school-aged children; $10,000
  • Bloomington Township: adult emergent needs; $5,000
  • Normal Township; adult emergent needs; $5,000

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.