Nonprofits receive $5.8 million to improve the social determinants of Upstate health

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Frontline workers at area hospitals aren’t the only health advocates. More nonprofits have also found themselves on the front lines. And millions of dollars in grants are going to nearly a dozen nonprofit agencies here in the Upstate, improving the social determinants of health.

It’s the end of the lunch rush at the Connection Café at Roper Mountain Science Center, and 20-year-old Joseph Zambrano isn’t slowing down just yet. His mother, Nea, is his number one client and recognizes his desire to become ServSafe certified.

“Just knowing that he’s going to be able to go out and work and live and make a living and pay his bills — it’s a wonderful opportunity,” Nea Zambrano said.

She cites the Center for Developmental Services for providing Joe with network support, resources and skills.

“It’s because of our past with CDS,” Zambrano said.

Her son, Joe, was born with Down syndrome and has worked with the Center for Developmental Services for about 12 years.

“Over the years at Kidnetics and the Center for Developmental Services we’ve done physical therapy with cooking classes,” Zambrano said. “We also did group speaking and occupational therapy.”

Center for Developmental Services executive director Dana McConnell says each year the center serves 8,000 clients with developmental delays and disabilities. Approximately one thousand who are elderly outside pediatric services can receive case management.

“Adults in case management may need day services, residential services, some jobs and job training,” McConnell said.

It’s this population that McConnell says will reap the benefits of a $553,000 Healthy Greenville grant from the Greenville Health Authority in partnership with Prisma Health. The center will use the money to hire five new case managers over the next three years serving an additional 270 individuals.

“There are individuals who have spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism — and those are diagnoses that just don’t go away,” McConnell said. “They will be with that individual for life.”

In total, 11 nonprofit agencies received $5.8 million in Healthy Greenville grants. The chairman of the board, Rev. Stacey Mills says she supports social determinants of health.

“How to help people achieve health in terms of their mental capacity, their quality of life – all these options are not necessarily directly prescribed by a doctor or a doctor,” said Rev. Mills.

Additionally, the money supports the Health Authority’s designation of making Greenville and the Upstate the healthiest place to live in America.

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