Nonprofit health system ProMedica has committed to fundraising $20 million over a ten-year period to invest in a small city in Southeast Michigan to drive community development with an aim to reduce health disparities.
The Toledo, Ohio-based organization has partnered with two local organizations, including Lenawee Community Foundation and the All About Adrian Resident Coalition, to determine how the money will be spent. According to a press release, the main investments will center around education, housing, finance and social services, policy and community infrastructure.
The funding will serve a community of approximately 11,000 people in the eastern corridor of Adrian, Michigan, which faces high levels of chronic health conditions and poverty. Formerly a manufacturing town, the area has experienced increased unemployment and housing insecurity since the 2008 financial crisis, according to Joe Williams, president and CEO of Lenawee Community Foundation.
A health assessment conducted by ProMedica—which used census data—found that approximately 28% of individuals living there are at or below the federal poverty threshold, and the entire county ranks low in housing, education and health stability metrics.
“As we started to see that shift in dynamics change because of the economic factors changing in our community, we could see that there was really a need to focus on that part of the community,” said Williams, who grew up in East Adrian. “Obviously, we think all of Adrian can benefit from what the project will do […] so now we are trying to figure out how we address those needs and get everybody up to equal footing.”
Frank Nagle, director of community impact in Michigan for ProMedica, said they are now engaging the community for a six-to-nine month planning session to aggregate resident feedback on where the resources need to be allocated before creating a defined budget. A key part of that plan will include an office that will serve as the epicenter for community services.
“Within the community, we want to have a hub of resources and a welcoming space where residents are able to come in and receive financial coaching, or to be able to work with a community health worker to navigate different resources, in accordance with their health plan,” he said.
ProMedica also intends to track the long-term outcomes of the project to create a blueprint for scale in rural communities across the United States. This is their second large-scale rural investment of its kind, modeled after a $50 million investment in Toledo that was first launched in 2016.