Health Foundation of South Florida announces $2 million in grants to South Florida organizations addressing health equity in underserved communities

Since the beginning of 2022, the Health Foundation has invested nearly $2 million to support South Florida organizations working to eliminate health inequities in minority, low-income and underserved communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties.  

With $1 million of the funding, many of the grantees are working to increase people’s access to healthcare in a number of ways: by helping them get free or subsidized health insurance, connecting them to preventive care clinics and services, and providing free legal services when needed. Our grants are also helping the organizations themselves operate more efficiently and effectively so they can better serve the community.  

An additional $1 million was invested into nursing and health science programs at the region’s community colleges. The Health Foundation grants will help the colleges target, attract, retain and prepare students from underserved communities for well-paying, steady jobs in the nursing field, which has seen historic shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The efforts align with the Foundation’s strategic focus on improving the social and economic conditions that are essential for good health.  

As with all of Health Foundation investments, partners whose work is systemic in nature are intentionally brought together. In all cases, they are firmly planted at the frontlines of making the South Florida community healthier and stronger. The 2022 grantees are:  

With an aim to address the nursing and allied health workforce shortage in South Florida, the college received a $500,000 grant to support an initiative to enhance retention, completion and success rates for students enrolled in health science degree programs.   

Serving approximately 60,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees, and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the College is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners.   

The legal services organization received a grant to help them better serve to low-income, minority residents of Broward County with complex challenges preventing them from securing health insurance through the American Care Act. 

CCLA is a Broward County-based nonprofit law firm established in 2003. Every year they provide critical assistance to thousands of individuals who could otherwise not afford legal representation. They strengthen the Broward community by stabilizing families in crisis, opening pathways to justice, and encouraging social and economic growth. 

The South Florida nonprofit will use its grant to create a unified and coordinated network of partners committed to reducing the number and rate of people who do not have health insurance in South Florida, primarily among low-income in the Black and Hispanic communities.   

The Healthcare Navigation Program at Epilepsy Alliance Florida provides in-person education, counseling and enrollment assistance to Floridians wanting to shop and enroll for health coverage, or have questions concerning their health insurance through the federal Health Marketplace. They also provide assistance with appeals of health marketplace decisions concerning eligibility and exemptions.

The statewide advocacy group will use its grant to address the “unwind” of the public health crisis and the losses that are expected health care coverage. They will proactively identify and target opportunities to increase coverage for lawfully-residing pregnant women at the state-level, and for undocumented children at the county-level.

Florida Health Justice Project provides non-partisan research and policy advocacy focusing on laws that impact health care access for low income and uninsured Floridians. They also provide outreach and education on critical programs that impact access and health outcomes, including Medicaid. 

With a mission to address the medical and mental health challenges facing youth in foster care as they age out of the system, this nonprofit will use their funding to connect at-risk youth, young adults and their children to primary and preventive health care services. The support will go towards hiring a health navigator who will serve as a non-clinical youth advocate and liaison, linking youth to available services  and resources. 

Created in 2009 through a partnership of the Community Foundation of Broward, the United Way of Broward and the Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale, FLITE Center offers comprehensive access to services for youth aging out of foster care.

South Florida’s largest community college—and the country’s most diverse institution of higher education—will use its $500,000 grant to provide scholarship support and wrap-around services to students in their nursing program, as a means of addressing the nursing workforce shortage in the region.

With 167 nations and 63 languages represented in its student body, MDC’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways, including associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates and apprenticeships. MDC has admitted more than 2.5 million students since opening its doors in 1960. Approximately 120,000 students are currently enrolled.  

In June, the Health Foundation announced it will invest up to $1.2 million to launch an AI-powered tech platform designed to help increase contracting opportunities for local and minority-owned small businesses at regional anchor institutions. It is an initiative of the South Florida Anchor Alliance,  a collaborative of 19 regional healthcare, education and governmental organizations founded in 2019 by the Health Foundation. The effort is also part of the Health Foundation’s overarching goal of addressing and positively impacting the social and economic disparities that profoundly impact community health and well-being.

Dedicated to promoting access to effective, accountable and compassionate care for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders,  Thriving Minds will use its grant to implement new technology. The new platform will connect them to external population health management data systems so they can better coordinate, expand reach and improve outcomes. 

Thriving Minds South Florida funds and oversees a safety net of services for uninsured individuals in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties with support from the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families, and other public and private sources.