Michigan’s diverse population has a wide spectrum of health needs—needs that require an equally wide range of responses. The Health Fund’s final grant awards of 2021 are a snapshot of how Michigan organizations are working to address that diversity of issues with tailored solutions. Some projects are systemic and sweeping; others are community-driven and highly localized. Together, they offer an image of a state that is working tirelessly to fill gaps in care, address disparities, support those providing care, and build healthier communities in every corner of Michigan.

In this round, we’re proud to be awarding $15,002,861 to 57 projects. That includes grants through our Special Projects & Emerging Ideas Initiative and our Healthy Aging Initiative, as well as 19 additional Community Health Impact projects.


In our Healthy Aging grant program, we prioritized projects in three specific areas: caregiving, care coordination, and improving healthcare. The 24 proposals we selected for funding will advance those key issues through collaborative efforts, community-centered support, innovative models, and equitable approaches that pay special attention to those at greatest risk of poor health. From pain management and fall prevention to advance care planning and numerous types of caregiver support, these projects recognize and respond to the unique needs of Michigan’s older adults.

“The pandemic has raised awareness of health risks, both mental and physical, that Michigan’s older adults have been living with for a long time,” said Kari Sederburg, director of the Healthy Aging Program. “The Health Fund is proud to support health projects that expand and strengthen the supports around Michigan’s seniors—statewide, community-wide, and on an individual level. Year by year, partnerships like these are moving the needle for Michigan’s aging population.”

Some of the funded projects are able to provide that support from within older adults’ homes. For example, Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions will bring together clinical partners, the regional health information exchange, and community-based organizations to identify, engage, and provide a broad range of supports to older adults in rural areas. The home-based project will allow enrollees to continue living independently and reduce hospital readmissions through tailored health plans.

Other projects recognize the challenges that caregivers face and provide direct support to them. Detroit Area Agency on Aging, for example, is collaborating with Bento—a technology company focused on food insecurity—to offer a text message platform connecting caregivers with nutritious, prepaid meals from nearby restaurants. A wide range of options allows for enrollees to access culturally-specific foods in a cost-effective way.

Read about all 24 awards below! The grants totaled $8,398,425 and ranged from $200,000 to $500,000.


Our Special Projects and Emerging Ideas grant program is an invite-only round in which we support models that have the potential to be transformative—initiatives that support the Health Fund’s priority areas in a way that opens the door for replication or expansion across the state. The awards in this year’s round cover a range of issues: cancer screening, substance use disorder treatment, infant mortality reduction, health disparity identification, and more.

“Whether it’s data sharing and analysis or behavioral workforce development, our Special Projects & Emerging Ideas projects are building continuity and connections at the state level,” said Health Fund program director Becky Cienki. “In tandem with our community-based work, these systemic developments are helping Michigan tackle even the most complex health issues.”

Various projects in this cohort address needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. For example, one initiative from Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health directs attention to the importance of school nurses and strengthened health services in Michigan schools. In partnership with the Michigan Association of School Nurses, the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and many other associations, the project team will educate on the need for and role of school nurses and work with healthcare and education partners in sustainability planning.

Numerous initiatives in this round will focus on eliminating health inequities—another health issue intensified by COVID-19. One example comes from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association’s Keystone Center, which will launch a Quality Improvement pilot with three hospitals to improve the collection of race, ethnicity, and language data. The center will also launch a Health Equity Task Force to identify barriers to addressing disparities and create action steps specific to the unique needs of local communities across Michigan.

Collaborative projects like these are what Special Projects & Emerging Ideas is all about—systemic, connective approaches to Michigan’s most pressing health issues.

The 14 awards from this round are listed below. They totaled $4,596,855 and ranged from $59,000 to $500,000.


In addition to the regularly scheduled Healthy Aging and Special Projects and Emerging Ideas awards, we approved 19 additional Community Health Impact awards. We’re eager to help these organizations begin their work, which supports communities across the state in many of the health issues we focus on most. Those awards, which totaled $1,716,680 and ranged from $37,932 to $100,000, are also listed below.

Our 2022 Community Health Impact grant program is now open! See the RFPs and additional resources on the program’s page.



Altarum Institute      
Nursing Home Staff & Residents: Loss & Isolation Solutions | $352,644
To train nursing home staff to address the severe social isolation and loneliness that impacts nursing home residents, as well as the widespread bereavement and grief which can negatively affect the mental health and wellbeing of the resident and the staff who care for them.

Connected Nation
Improving Telemedicine in Michigan’s Sault Tribe of Chippewa | $278,444
To increase the awareness, availability, and use of telehealth applications for older members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians by identifying any concerns they may have, as well as by identifying any limitations or barriers for use of this technology for members and providers.

Detroit Area Agency on Aging
Food First Caregiver Connect | $250,000
To develop a pilot project that will improve access to culturally appropriate and healthy meals for caregivers and the individuals they are caring for by connecting them to available food options with local restaurants.

Eastern Michigan University
Lori’s Hands Metro Detroit: The Social Partnership | $409,332
To implement a college student-based program that provides practical home-based services to support older adults and caregivers in the state of Michigan.

Health Net of West Michigan
Partnering to Address Social Needs for Older Adults | $466,037
To address the social determinant of health needs of adults aged 60 and older who are screened for social needs at emergency departments and who accept navigation services.

Henry Ford Health System
Spotlight on the Patient as Caregiver | $420,598.63
To train and implement a tool that will offer physicians insights into their patient’s health and wellbeing, provide caregivers a mechanism by which to self-identify, and pinpoint particular stressors that can be targeted for interventions, resources, and supports.

Henry Ford Health System
Improving Management of Chronic Pain in Primary Care | $269,442
To develop a psychological intervention for pain management to address unmanaged chronic pain among seniors.

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
Enhancing Caregiving for Hospice Patients Through Telehealth | $228,611
To provide more accessible and on-demand care for hospice patients through the launch of a telehealth pilot program to complement existing services.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
Michigan Changes Healthy Aging Program (MI-CHAP) | $351,607
To develop a program to better support older adults recovering from a stroke as they transition from inpatient rehab back home, using an interdisciplinary care team to troubleshoot difficulties and connect patients to resources.

MHA Keystone Center
Michigan Caregiver Navigation Model Pilot | $227,721
To address challenges family caregivers often encounter while engaged with a health system.

Michigan Health Council
Redesigning Delivery of Advance Care Planning Conversations | $363,294
To improve access to advance care planning conversations and decrease the amount of 1:1 time it takes to provide them, ultimately resulting in more ACPs completed and more older adults’ wishes being honored.

Michigan Peer Review Organization 
Addressing Social Isolation in Older Adults through Pharmacies | $423,360
To identify older adults who are socially isolated or lonely by the pharmacy care team they frequently access and trust and connect them to services available through county councils or commissions on aging, area agencies on aging, or other service providers in the aging network.

Michigan Public Health Institute
Emergency Preparedness for Aging People with Disabilities | $375,589
To reduce the impact emergency events have on older adults and older adults with a disability by assessing the current work of federal, state, and local emergency response agencies and by partnering with them, community-based organizations, and the target populations to improve everyone’s response.

Michigan Public Health Institute      
Culturally Appropriate Community-Based Dementia Care | $200,000
To develop culturally relevant psychosocial interventions that reflect diverse approaches to caring for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.

Michigan Transportation Connection
Access to Healthcare | $300,000
To implement the nationally-recognized model Rides to Wellness in 15 rural counties where transportation, especially across county lines, is a barrier to accessing services.

Oakland University
The Michigan End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Initiative | $218,373
To embed specific training in palliative care for residents living with serious illness, especially older adults.

Priority Health
Advance Care Planning for High-Risk SNF Residents | $499,724
To support advance care planning efforts by focusing on older adults in skilled nursing facilities, building their advance care plans into electronic medical records, and identifying health concerns prior to a potentially avoidable hospital visit.

Reliance Community Care Partners
Three-tiered Approach to Meeting Care Needs of Older Adults | $249,700
To improve service delivery in the MI Choice Waiver program by introducing three evidence-based approaches to care that will reduce nursing home admission and hospitalization rates.

Senior Resources of West Michigan
Enhanced Care Plus | $500,000
To address issues of access to quality and equitable medical care for older adults with chronic disease conditions through a home-based primary care program.

The Regents of The University of Michigan
A Statewide Implementation of Empower@Home | $497,495
To address the negative health impacts of depression, anxiety, and social isolation among homebound older adults in three MDHHS programs through an online therapy program.

The Senior Alliance Area Agency on Aging 1-C
Hearken | $454,494
To enroll 500 participants in the Senior Alliance’s Hearken program over the two-year project period to help them establish a social network and meet their individual needs.

Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions
Healthy Aging at Home | $447,894
To address the needs of an aging population in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by coordinating regional primary health, behavioral health, and social services to improve access to care for some of the most vulnerable older adults, so they can continue to live at home.

Wayne State University
Detroit Older Adult Home Safety Assessments | $492,354
To provide evidence-based product safety interventions and connections to other resources in the community that can improve health and wellbeing.

Western Michigan University
Cultivating Falls Prevention Culture by Intelligent Learning | $412,612
To develop an online learning platform to train staff in nursing facilities to address behaviors that can reduce the risk of falls, and to test the model and determine healthcare cost savings for patients and healthcare organizations.



Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital        
Transportation Resources to Medicaid Beneficiaries: Phase 2 | $59,000
To create a transportation module for the myHealthButton and myHealthPortal to enhance the existing Medicaid beneficiary-facing technology.

Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health
Building Support and Sustainability for School Nurses | $410,500
To create training, resources, local and state infrastructure, and collaborative systems, and to solidify long-term sustainability for school nurses in Michigan.

Michigan Department of Education
Strengthening Systems of Support (S3) for LGBTQ+ Students | $500,000
To build a sustainable model for schools to provide safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments that improve LGBTQ students’ health, wellbeing, and educational outcomes.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Adding Race/Ethnicity Data to MDHHS Master Person Index | $500,000
To add race and ethnicity data to the MDHHS Master Person Index, allowing providers to identify underserved populations, address racial/ethnic health disparities, and increase health outcomes.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services        
Automating Medicaid for Incarcerated Beneficiaries | $180,230
To streamline and automate data sharing between MDHHS Medicaid and jails, improving treatment continuity including access to medications and therapies.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Developing Sustainable Behavioral Workforce Stability | $400,000
To support behavioral workforce development through research and qualitative analysis, stakeholder engagement, plan development, and written reports.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Improving Access and Use of HCBS by Addressing Health Equity | $200,000
To analyze Medicaid data and identify racial or ethnic disparities in the type of services offered to individuals via a community-led initiative.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Infant Vitality – Detroit, Wayne, Oakland & Macomb Counties | $500,000
To garner insight into actions that can be taken to sustain and further infant mortality reduction and inform decision-making within systems and policy.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Integrating Cancer Screening Referrals into MI Bridges | $180,230
To develop and integrate a system in MI Bridges to identify and refer women to the MI Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program (BC3NP).

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Strategic Alignment Planning Between MDHHS and MSP | $150,000
To reduce crimes, increase accessibility to human service support, and improve community relations in three identified communities that have a large population of people of color.

Michigan Health & Hospital Association – Keystone Center
Accelerating Health Equity through Quality Improvement | $500,000
To collect data to identify disparities, gaps in care, and to adopt policies that improve access to care for all populations.

Michigan Public Health Institute
Community Architecture to Achieve & Sustain Equity | $498,186
To support the Achieving Birth Equity through Systems Transformation (ABEST) plans in Berrien County and select tribal communities and create the materials and framework for subsequent collaborative plans throughout the state.

Michigan Public Health Institute
Planning for Development & Implementation of Foster Care Electronic Health Record (EHR) | $484,139
To develop electronic health records for foster youth served by both public and privately run childcare agencies, providing a foundation for a statewide solution.

Michigan State University    
Hospital Engagement Addiction Resources Team (HEART) | $20,000
To support hospitals in implementing a replicable inpatient addiction consultation service (rounding) through technical support and information sharing.



American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeast Michigan        
Weneniiganzejik: The Future Leaders Project | $100,000
To provide culturally competent, evidence-based behavioral health prevention interventions to American Indian/Alaska Native youth and their families.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit
Supporting Behavioral Health Through Therapeutic Mentoring | $92,487
To develop a sustainable and billable therapeutic mentoring model that enhances the role of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors in providing specific mental health support.

Chelsea Senior Center           
Kickstart the Stockbridge Senior Center | $99,700
To address the needs of older adults in a rural community that lacks access to medical and social services, transportation, healthy food options, and other resources.

Children’s Healing Center
Isolation & Loneliness Behavioral Health Support | $100,000
To provide additional behavioral health support for the children and families served by the Children’s Healing Center, including those that are experiencing isolation and loneliness due to a life-threatening diagnosis.

Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan      
Collaborative Funding: Black-led Mental Health Pilot Program | $99,700
To provide grants to Black-led community-based organizations to help them build partnerships with behavioral health and safety net providers.

Grand Rapids Salvation Army Kroc Center
Restoring Health | $100,000
To positively influence health-related behaviors for high-risk older adults of color in southeast Grand Rapids.

Grand Traverse Pavilions Foundation
Fiber-Optic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing/FEES Program | $37,932
To develop a community-wide program to ensure older adults have access to screening and diagnosis of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) in the Grand Traverse region.

Michigan State University
Accessible – Online Nutrition & Exercise (A-ONE) | $100,000
To address health inequities of underserved adolescents with physical disabilities in Michigan by providing fully accessible, individualized nutrition and exercise instruction online.

Northern Michigan University
Rural Workforce Initiative | $100,000
To develop a pilot program that would widen the pipeline of qualified and committed direct care workers in Central Upper Peninsula.

Northside Association for Community Development
HEAL (Healthy Environment Active Living) | $99,996
To address the root causes of health and economic disparities in three of Kalamazoo’s core neighborhoods by cultivating a two-generation healthy living hub for residents and families.

Ottawa Community Schools Network
Equitable Wellness Opportunities for Youth and Families | $100,004
To build a unified county-wide approach to nutritional health and wellness programming that serves area youth with the goals of increasing nutritional education and increasing physical activity in partner schools.

Packard Health, Inc.
A Behavioral Health Collaborative for Young Black Men & Boys | $92,070
To plan, identify and develop a network of community organizations committed to services and coordinated care models that address the behavioral health needs of young Black men and boys in Washtenaw County.

Progressive Lifestyles, Inc.    
Expanding Dementia Minds Groups | $100,000
To address the negative impacts on the health and well-being of persons living with dementia by developing numerous Dementia Minds groups throughout Michigan.

Region II Commission on Services to the Aging       
Integration for System of Care Data Collection | $100,000
To research and develop technology solutions to provide interoperability between the Region 2 Area Agency on Aging’s Intake and Referral data collection platform and the local Community Information Exchange.

Saginaw Community Foundation
Building Bridges to Behavioral Healthcare – Saginaw County | $37,932
To use a data-driven approach to gain comprehensive understanding and mapping of available treatment resources in Saginaw County, strengthen local systems of care, identify barriers to access, and create clear referral pathways for all levels of behavioral health services.

ShareCare of Leelanau, Inc.
Peer-to-Peer Family Caregiver Support | $100,000
To address the rising number of family members taking on the role of caregiver without adequate support in place via the Livable Communities Caregiver Coaching Program.

Superior Health Support System
Strategic Support Initiative | $45,000
To support a two-year process of identifying Superior Health Support System’s organizational barriers to change, building teams to create action plans, and developing a long-term strategy that will benefit the older adults they serve.

The Regents of the University of Michigan
Little Victors League: Care for Medically Complex Infants | $93,986
To coordinate care that aligns with key social determinates of health to support economic, community, and family health for infants born with medical complexities and their families.

Wayne State University
Peers to Professionals | $100,000
To develop mechanisms that will financially and structurally support the formal education, licensure and stability of peer support specialists to fill the need for open and future positions in the substance use disorder field.