Skaggs Legacy Endowment just awarded more than $1 million in health and wellness grants.
On Oct. 31 $1,010,332 was awarded to local agencies by the Skaggs Foundation to improve the health and wellness of the residents of Stone and Taney counties.
In total, 24 grants were awarded under the categories mental health, substance abuse, access to care, dental care, healthy lifestyles, and child and family safety.
“Each of our grantees are committed to improving the health of Stone and Taney county residents,” said Nita Jane Ayres, chairman of the Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant committee in a press release. “We believe we are partnering with some of the most outstanding agencies in our community and are eager to see the positive impact they will make with these funds.”
Healthier Mothers, Healthier Babies with Cox Medical Center Branson was one of these grant recipients.
“We are wanting to make a difference in our mom’s lives that are pregnant and raising our next generation. We want to make them feel like we aren’t judging them, that we’re there, we truly care for them and we want to help them,” said Tracey Williams, director of Women’s Services and FNP at Cox Branson. “We have our moms that are depressed and then we have drug addiction, which they really go hand in hand. So we’re really trying to get those moms to where we can get them in treatment, get them better and on a good path so they can go home with their baby.”
Cheryl Chambers, patient care coordinator, says the healing process is important.
“They don’t want to be addicted to substances or using substances,” said Chambers. “Typically there’s more of a root to it, so if we can get to the root of it and get that healing process going during pregnancy, then hopefully we can deliver that healthy baby to a healthy mom and keep them together.”
Healthier Mothers, Healthier Babies works to decrease substance use, tobacco use and perinatal/postpartum depression among pregnant and newly parenting women in Stone and Taney county. Their program is focused on improving health outcomes for both baby and mother and setting these new families on a path for success.
To even further increase inspiration, the awarded grants were in the shape of an apple.
According to the Skaggs Foundation, as they were considering an appropriate icon for its Legacy program, the apple’s inherent healing qualities and connection with health, generosity and concern for others seemed to be a perfect fit as they work to improve the health and wellness of their friends and families in Stone and Taney counties now, and for generations to come.
Skaggs Legacy Endowment is a restricted endowment fund made possible by a generous gift from CoxHealth in 2013. Since that time, Skaggs Foundation has awarded more than $5.3 million to organizations dedicated to improving lives in our community.
2019 Skaggs Legacy Endowment Grant Recipients and Project Details
School Based Service Expansion Project
$120,000 Burrell Behavioral Health
Burrell Behavioral Health will provide School Based Services by embedding mental health providers for uninsured and underinsured students in Stone and Taney counties. By implementing a multi-tiered whole school initiative, Burrell will increase mental health access to students in their natural environment, cultivating resiliency and mental wellness for the whole district. This grant will help ensure that despite a student’s lack of insurance or financial situation, the student will receive the care he or she needs.
Healthier Mothers, Healthier Babies
$50,000 Cox Medical Center Branson
Healthier Mothers, Healthier Babies works to decrease substance use, tobacco use and perinatal and postpartum depression among pregnant and newly parenting women in Stone and Taney counties. The program is focused on improving health outcomes for both baby and mother and setting these new families on a path for success.
Mental Health and Wellness – Year 2
$36,512 Branson School District
This is the second year of this two-year grant which allows Branson School District to provide more opportunities for counseling sessions for students who are uninsured or underinsured and without this funding would go without needed mental health services. These funds also help provide for a case manager who serves as a liaison between school counselors and mental health providers serving students.
Mental Health Counseling
$5,000 Faith Community Health
These grant dollars will help Faith Community Health provide affordable access to mental health counseling services for some of their most vulnerable patients. An estimated 25,000 people in Stone and Taney counties in Faith Community Health’s target demographic are not eligible for Medicaid. Most of these individuals cannot afford health insurance even when it is available. About 41 percent of the more than 15,000 prescriptions filled by Faith Community Health in 2018 were medications to treat mental health disorders. These funds will help support on-site counseling, making it convenient for patients to receive care and convenient for the counselor to work with the provider and pharmacist for integrative patient care.
Community Connections: Life Restoration
$5,000 Jesus Was Homeless
Community Connections: Life Restoration will provide mental health and substance use treatment for Jesus Was Homeless clients. It is estimated that these health issues affect 85 percent of Jobs for Life participants and holds them back from reaching their full potential in a stable job. Through the Community Connections intake, case managers will determine if a client has a mental health diagnosis or is struggling with substance use disorder. Many of these clients are hoping to be part of the program Jobs for Life but due to these health issues, they are unable to participate. Community Connections: Life Restoration will contribute to the solution by utilizing partners to provide treatment for Jesus Was Homeless clients.
Counseling for Seniors
$5,000 SeniorAge Agency on Aging
With great success, SeniorAge has implemented a counseling program for seniors in Greene County. This grant will allow SeniorAge to expand its counseling services now to seniors in Taney County. This program will utilize a current care coordination program used to identify seniors who would benefit from professional counseling services and match them with community partners to begin sessions. SeniorAge’s primary service community consists of low-income seniors age 60 and over and their caregivers. This program will allow seniors to remain vibrant members of the community while learning how to cope with issues such as grief, isolation and depression.
Substance Use Initiative – Year 4
$130,000 Cox Medical Center Branson
The Stone and Taney Counties Substance Use Initiative will increase community capacity to work collaboratively to prevent and reduce substance use and misuse and advance evidence based practices in Stone and Taney counties. The initiative fosters community collaboration and strengthens existing community resources. In its fourth year, the Substance Use Initiative will continue to build broad awareness of issues related to substance use disorders and be an information resource for individuals and families impacted by substance use and misuse.
Stone County Treatment Courts
$30,000 Stone County Judiciary
Stone County Treatment Courts will assist participants with needed dental care and safe and sober temporary housing. Their vision is to improve the lives of individuals by providing continuum of care and reinforcing pathways for change through treatment and accountability while bolstering a holistic approach to the recovery process.
Tobacco Cessation Program
$11,330 Cox Medical Center Branson
Cox Medical Center Branson’s Tobacco Cessation Program will continue to provide nicotine replacement therapy to uninsured and underinsured individuals to help these individuals quit tobacco. With this grant, the Tobacco Cessation Program will also purchase two carbon monoxide monitors – one for community classes and a second for the Women’s Center. These carbon monoxide monitors are a cost effective and accurate way to measure the amount of CO in a person’s system for the past 24 hours. This particular monitor will also indicate the nicotine level present in a fetus’ blood, hopefully serving as a motivator for expectant moms to quit smoking.
Structured Healthy and Nutritious Sober Living
$5,000 The Simmering Center
The Simmering Center provides a safe haven where individuals can seek recovery in all areas of healthy living. These funds will be used to purchase two commercial refrigerators. The center has two refrigerators but one recently failed and the second is 25 years old and not running efficiently. Currently, residents of the center share mini-fridges in their individual rooms and use the communal kitchen to prepare their meals. These two refrigerators will bring the center another step closer to achieving their long-term strategic goal of providing nutritious meals daily and these refrigerators are a crucial piece in that process.
Access to Care
Cancer Center CT Simulator
$360,500 Cox Medical Center Branson
Through this grant, Cox Medical Center Branson will offer the latest standard of care to area patients by replacing the current CT Simulator with an advanced precision 4D CT Scanner. 4D CT scanning is necessary for the treatment planning of all cancers, but primarily relevant for many lung cancers, which have increased by 24 percent over the past three years. The 4D CT Scanner will assist with pinpointing radiation treatments so that patients have less side effects from general area radiation and fewer treatments.
Senior Nursing Student Scholarships
$64,000 College of the Ozarks
Scholarship assistance to College of the Ozarks Nursing Program seniors facilitates the success of graduates, aids in breaking the cycle of poverty through successful careers in the healthcare industry, decreases the RN shortage in the Ozarks region and assists in making Stone and Taney counties healthier and therefore happier.
FaithCare: Community Partnership to Provide Healthcare Services for Uninsured Employees
$60,000 Faith Community Health
FaithCare membership-based healthcare services provide affordable healthcare for uninsured employees in Stone and Taney counties, fulfilling Faith Community Health’s mission to make affordable healthcare accessible to the underserved in our community. FaithCare enables employers to attract and retain qualified employees with a valuable healthcare benefit. This is a matching grant.
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Scholarships
$50,000 Cox Medical Center Branson
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Assistance will provide financial assistance to patients at Cox Medical Center Branson who have experienced a qualifying heart or lung event and need additional pulmonary rehabilitation sessions to greatly improve their chances to recover and live fuller, healthier lives by managing their chronic conditions more effectively.
$5,000 Cox Medical Center Branson
Cox Medical Center Branson will increase access to follow-up care for patients in Stone and Taney counties by providing financial assistance for transportation to and from medical appointments. This will ensure patients can access necessary healthcare to address physical and behavioral health needs, thereby decreasing the likelihood of readmissions, medical complications and/or death, while increasing the health and well-being of the individual and community.
Kirbyville Health and Safety Program
$4,915 Kirbyville R-IV School District
Kirbyville School District strives to provide a safe environment for students, staff and the community. An important piece of that safe environment is having every employee be trained and certified in CPR and First Aid and each building equipped with properly functioning AEDs. This grant will allow the district to replace outdated AEDs, ensuring the safety of students, employees and visitors. Additionally, this grant will provide funds for the certification and equipment needed to have an in-house CPR and First Aid instructor.
School Based Dental Services
$50,000 Fordland Clinic, Inc.
School-based dental services will be provided to 1,200 students each year in the Blue Eye and Reeds Spring school districts. These services target children who are not seeing a dentist and those who are uninsured, but services will be available to all students. This program includes dental exams, sealants, fluoride treatments, cleanings, education and recommendations for restorative services.
$24,179 Children’s Smile Center
Children’s Smile Center’s Branson West clinic is a nonprofit dental clinic for children and pregnant women covered by Medicaid. Children’s Smile Center will purchase digital x-ray sensors, allowing the dental clinic to continue addressing critical dental health needs of families from Stone and Taney counties who have a shortage of accessible dental services.
$5,000 Branson Hollister Senior Center
Sunny Side will extend the ongoing wellness initiative to improve health and prolong independence for Taney County seniors. One in three seniors fall each year and that number jumps as high as 42 percent for those over 70. Exercise and education can lower the chances of falling. In 2018, a Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant funded a physical therapist to teach balance classes. Now, a waiting list of seniors want to take yoga, another effective tool to promote balance and strength. This grant will provide the funding for equipment and an experienced instructor to provide these services to our local seniors.
Self-Care Items Impacting Families and Mental Health
$4,908 Christian Action Ministries
Every month, Christian Action Ministries sees an average of 3,600 Taney County residents seeking emergency food. Oftentimes, these struggling families also need basic personal care items such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and laundry detergent. This grant will provide funding to purchase these items and have them available for families and individuals in need. These items will not just aid with personal health and hygiene, but help these individuals boost their self-confidence, morale and uplift their self-esteem.
Youth Sports Scholarship Program
$4,500 Branson Parks and Recreation Department
The Branson Parks and Recreation Department Scholarship Fund is a vital part of the success of the youth sports program. These funds will provide opportunities for children in our community to participate in youth sports and activities at little cost to their family. To be eligible for the scholarship, participants must qualify for free or reduced school lunches and each participant is asked to pay a minimum of $5 for the program and a $5 shirt fee. This nominal fee helps create buy-in and commitment from the participants and their families. These scholarships allow children to explore their talents and abilities while being active and healthy.
Adding More Titles on Health and Wellness
$2,000 Taneyhills Library Club
Taneyhills Community Library is a public-access library that operates entirely with private funding, serving all of Taney County, plus portions of Stone County and northern Arkansas. These grant dollars will allow Taneyhills Community Library to purchase books and DVDs that address various topics related to health and wellness across all age ranges. New materials will cover topics including autism spectrum disorders, women’s health issues, child development, and mental health.
Child and Family Safety
Branson High School Cents of Pride Store
$5,000 Branson School District
The Branson High School Cents of Pride Store opened in December 2014 and is in its fifth year of supporting student needs. The store provides students with clothing, food, personal hygiene products and other essentials students need but don’t have the means to purchase. The store offers students a unique opportunity to obtain these essential items by earning “pride bucks” for displaying positive attitudes, good attendance and turning in class assignments on time.
Cents of Pride Store
$5,000 Gift of Hope, Inc.
Gift of Hope’s Cents of Pride Store is a unique program dedicated to fulfilling students’ needs, grades 5th-12th at Forsyth School District. The store, which uses a rewards system, is designed to reach older students who were going hungry on the weekend because they were too proud or embarrassed to accept the food distributed through Gift of Hope’s Backpack Club. In addition to making convenient-to-eat food available to take home, the Cents of Pride store also gives students access to health, hygiene, clothing and bedding items. While providing essentials to students, this program is helping area youth increase their self-confidence, pride and has shown to improve behavior and attendance.
The Rockin Pride Store
$4,000 White River Community Development
The Rockin Pride Store is providing an opportunity for 5th through 12th graders in the Rockaway Beach area to earn Rockin Bucks and then spend these bucks to purchase personal care items, blankets, pillows, food and other things at the Rockin Store. Through this program, these youth are being rewarded for good behavior, learning to budget, save and share, which leads to better emotional and mental health. By teaching these students about work, money and budgeting, White River Community Development is preparing these students for a healthy, productive future while meeting their needs today.