Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Manchester community leaders announce unprecedented initiative

Local community leaders in Manchester gathered at Gossler Park Elementary School to announce an unprecedented collaborative initiative that will strengthen child, adult and community capacities. This collective effort, known as the Neighborhood Health Improvement Strategy (NHIS), is a fresh approach to addressing barriers to family and community success.

“Each of the groups involved in this effort is committed to working together to solve complex issues in this community.  We are targeting areas of the city that demonstrates a complex pattern of community need,” said Patrick Tufts, President and CEO of Granite United Way. “Our partners have been working together to craft this plan for the last two years and we are thrilled to see Granite United Way’s investment and action items taking shape throughout the fall.”

Nearly $2.8 million has been committed to the implementation of the plan, including $1.5 million dedicated over a 3 year period by Granite United Way’s locally volunteer-led Community Impact Committee.  Additional funding sources include the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Cogswell Benevolent Trust, the Endowment for Health, Elliot Health System, The Dartmouth Institute, the HNH Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Prevention Partnership Awards Program through the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

“The Foundation is very pleased to be joining with the NHIS Leadership Team and other funding partners like Granite United Way on this important initiative.” said Dick Ober, president and CEO of the NH Charitable Foundation.  “This work, undertaken collaboratively by partners from across the Manchester community, promises to impact the well-being of Manchester’s children and families, and indeed the entire community, for generations to come.”

Granite United Way’s investments will empower teachers to help students build resiliency and coping skills for the unique challenges they face; training for teachers will begin in the next 30 days. The investment will also work to connect families who have it hardest with resources to improve their situation, with additional social workers in place to start the school year with staff and students. Local community partners engaged with this work will begin building a collaborative model of services on site at local elementary schools  to help families, including parenting education, employability, resident engagement and financial skill building, with programming beginning this fall. Granite United Way’s commitment to this important work will span the next three years.

To implement the action items in the plan, Granite United Way convened local non profits and public departments, including the Manchester Health Department, Manchester School District, Easter Seals New Hampshire, NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire, Child and Family Services of New Hampshire, Manchester Community Health Center, Mental Center of Greater Manchester and Granite YMCA.

“The Neighborhood Health Improvement Strategy is the community’s plan to support children and families by working together. Watching funders and local community organizations take ownership of action items and begin to collaboratively address challenges are exciting steps in moving this plan forward.” said Tim Soucy, Public Health Director at the Manchester Health Department.

This innovative, integrated model will support children and families in the Beech Street and Gossler Park communities with the potential of expansion to neighborhoods in the future such as the Bakersville area.

“The strategy encourages a coordinated approach to the multi-faceted needs of our poorest residents. The rising rate of poverty in Manchester may be concentrated in these targeted neighborhoods, but as a resident of Manchester, I know its prevalence affects every resident or person connected to this community, whether we realize it or not.” Robert Tourigny, Executive Director of NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire.

“Child and Family Services looks forward to partnering with other non-profits in the City of Manchester as part of the Neighborhood Health Improvement Strategy.  We will work together to strengthen families and ensure a brighter future for our children.” Borja Alvarez de Toledo, President and CEO of Child Family Services.

“Easter Seals NH is excited to join with our public, for-profit, and not-for-profit partners to build a new way forward to address the complex challenges that individuals and families in our community face. I believe working together will be help us make meaningful, impactful change for those most in need.” Said Larry Gammon, President and CEO of Easter Seals New Hampshire.

“We are humbled by the show of commitment from each of our current partners, and we also know there is room in this work for everyone,” said Tufts. “This is an opportunity for the Manchester community to embody the true spirit of working together and bringing about real change.”

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