It’s been called the Buffalo renaissance, and Western New York is certainly experiencing a rebirth, from the development of the waterfront to the expansion of the downtown medical campus. However, not all have risen. Nearly a third of our neighbors live at or below the poverty line, including 22% of children under 18, as families grapple with structural and social inequalities that limit their access to health care and education.
Identifying and eliminating these inconsistencies requires a long-term collective effort. Over the past three decades, the Independent Health Foundation has played an important role as a member of a regional group of donors and service providers focused on the needs of marginalized and disenfranchised communities. Through partnerships with community organizations, the foundation has collectively empowered at-risk groups to take charge of their own health.
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Recognized as a dedicated hometown company focused on improving health in the region, Independent Health has created the foundation for positive change by delivering services where they are needed most.
Through the contributions of our partners—businesses, governments, and local organizations—combined with countless volunteer hours, we are sending a clear message to our neighbors with one voice: “We stand by you.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the foundation’s seven signature programs – Kids Run, Healthy Options, Good for the Neighborhood, Fitness for Kids Challenge, Soccer for Success, Growing Up Strong and First Night – are working with community organizations. Through these key partnerships, in 2021 alone, the foundation has hosted nearly 200 public health screenings, distributed over 7,000 fresh food packages, and helped over 12,000 children become active through football, running and fitness-related programs.
Our organization measurably improves the health of our community.
Last year, the Healthy Options at Home program, in partnership with the African Heritage Food Co-op, reached out to over 400 families by providing fresh food kits, equipping them with cooking utensils, and teaching participants how to prepare healthy meals, with 84% of them preparing these recipes. again on your own. The foundation helps individuals and families take control of their health. It is important to note that our programs are open to all members of our community.
The trajectory change initiative will require a collective effort by all of us to ensure that the tide actually lifts all boats.
Three decades later, the foundation’s commitment remains to change and save lives.
Stuart Angert is chairman of the Independent Health Foundation.