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

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

It’s the end of the lunch rush at Connection Café at Roper Mountain Science Center, and 20-year-old Joseph Zambrano isn’t slowing yet. His mom, Nea, is his number one customer and recognizes his drive to be ServSafe certified.

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

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

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

Her son, Joe, was born with Down syndrome and has been working with the Center for Developmental Services for approximately 12 years.

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

Center for Developmental Services executive director Dana McConnell says each year the center serve’s 8,000 clients with developmental delays and disabilities. Roughly a thousand who have aged out of pediatric services can receive case management.

“The adults in case management may need day services, residential services, some job placement and job coaching,” McConnell said.

It’s this population 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 lifelong.”

In all, 11 non-profit agencies received Healthy Greenville grants totaling $5.8 million. Board chair Rev. Stacey Mills says it supports the social determinants of health.

“How do we help people get to health in terms of their mental ability, their quality of life – all of those options are not necessarily directly prescribed by a doctor or a physician,” Rev. Mills said.

Additionally, the money supports the Health Authority’s moniker to make Greenville and the Upstate the healthiest place to live in America.

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