Announcing $7 million+ in grants for infants and families, community health, and more

Announcing $7 million+ in grants for infants and families, community health, and more

The Health Fund board of directors today approved 41 new grants totaling $7,058,472 aimed at improving health and advancing equity in communities across the state. These investments will support a variety of projects ranging from community-level programs to broad-scale solutions for statewide challenges. Michiganders of all ages — from newborn infants to older adults — will benefit from the work led by our grantees.

A full list of new grant projects can be found at the bottom of this post. Details about each project will be added to our Grant Database by June 1.

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Health Net of West Michigan: Begin at the beginning

Over the past nine years, Health Net of West Michigan has been a crucial link to health care and social services, prioritizing low-income individuals. Through case management, system navigation, transportation and outreach, the organization collaborates closely with local partners to enhance community health and wellness, ensuring access to essential resources for healthier lives.

Health Net started in 2014 as a merger between two nonprofit programs and organizations. Almost immediately, the lack of diversity became apparent. White male executives from various local health and mental health systems dominated the board, with staff also primarily identifying as white. The new organization conducted a standard equity assessment and quickly identified the need for a way to talk about health equity. But they recognized that individual analyses of historical power and social structures could only get them so far. With the organization just barely starting out, it seemed like racial equity would have to take a back seat.

Still, the equity team refused to slow down. In 2018, the team released an “equity strategic plan,” calling for Health Net to name specific goals for weaving principles of equity and inclusion throughout all aspects of the organization.

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Medicaid redetermination again in effect after pandemic break

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 3 million people in Michigan must renew Medicaid plan before next spring to keep their health coverage.

The reapplication process is generally annual, but had been paused during the pandemic. It kicked back in this summer and runs through May 2024. Essentially, Medicaid, MIChild or Healthy Michigan recipients must demonstrate they still qualify.

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Regional Health Collaboratives improving access to behavioral health services

An evolution of Community Health Innovation Regions (CHIRs) established in 2015 as part of Michigan’s State Innovation Model, Regional Health Collaboratives are a model for improving a region’s wellbeing and unnecessary medical costs through collaboration and systems change.

Michigan’s six Collaboratives include Greater Flint Health Coalition in Genesee County, Jackson Collaborative Network in Jackson County, Health Net of West Michigan in Kent County, MI Community Care (MiCC) in Livingston and Washtenaw counties, Access Health, Inc. in Muskegon County, and Southeastern Michigan Health Association, which operates in seven southeastern Michigan counties and metro Detroit.

One of the Collaboratives’ shared goals has been to improve access to behavioral health services. Read more

The WGVU Morning Show Children’s Dental Health Month

We discuss Children’s Dental Health Month with guests from My Community Dental Centers and Health Net of West Michigan.

Online survey connects Kent County families to child development resources

KENT COUNTY, MI – Family Futures, a nonprofit that works to support new parents, is partnering with 18 Kent County organizations to provide an online survey to help connect more families to parenting resources.

The Kent County Parenting Support Site is a website that connects families to home-visiting resources, allowing them to further their children’s health, development and school readiness, the news release said.

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Online survey connects Kent County parents to resources

The Kent County Parenting Support Site ( is a website that connects families to local home visiting programs that allow them to nurture their children’s health, development, and school readiness. Parents answer a few short questions on the website and are matched with an organization that best fits their needs based on their responses.

The Kent County Parenting Support Site was created in 2017 with the mission to easily connect families to home visiting resources. Since the creation of the website, more than 1,000 families in Kent County have been connected to organizations.

“Finding the community resource that is best for your family can be overwhelming,” said Candace Cowling, Executive Director of Family Futures. “These organizations are coming together to help solve that problem.”

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2022 40 Under 40 award recipient: Doug Booth

Doug Booth, 34


Health Net of West Michigan

Doug Booth likes to be involved. He likes to get others involved, too.

“My biggest influence is the child that I once was. I grew up a closeted gay boy in West Michigan. Everything I do, I think back to then and ask if I would feel safe with me now? I was scared and unsure of what life had in store for me. I think back to then because I know there are still kids in our area that may feel the same way now that I did then. That’s unacceptable for me, so I will always try and help and stay visible for the LGBTQ kids in our communities.”

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40 Under 40: This class leads the charge for change

Change is never linear. But often there are recognizable guideposts along the way to indicate change is coming.

In its simplest form, change often is marked by a loosely defined path of outcry, debate, negotiation, experimentation and finally action.

Looking back on the past dozen or so classes of 40 Under 40 Business Leaders and comparing and contrasting membership makeup in those classes, an argument can be made that Grand Rapids has reached the milestone where real change can be made.

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By Leaps & Bounds: Barriers to Navigating Early Childhood

Our guest is Jenn Harrod, Client Services Manager, Health Net of West Michigan
Being a parent or caregiver is no easy task! This is especially true for expectant parents, seasoned parents, and caregivers of young children as they work to advocate for the needs of their household and for their children.

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