Central Florida Foundation, as the fiscal agent for LGBT+ Center Orlando who will carry out the work under this grant, and Hope Partnership receive investments from Florida Blue Foundation
ORLANDO, Fla. (May 2, 2022) – Mental health care services was one of the top three health concerns among Central Floridians in the latest Community Health Needs Assessment. The Florida Blue Foundation, the philanthropic foundation for the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, today announced a $600,000 investment to directly improve access to and quality of mental well-being services in Central Florida.
Central Florida Foundation, supporting the work of LGBT+ Center Orlando, and the Hope Partnership will share the investment which will support community-based programs that enhance mental health, particularly for the underserved and uninsured, including minority and low-income populations.
As a fiscal agent, Central Florida Foundation is engaging LGBT+ Center Orlando to carry out the work of its grant. LGBT+ Center Orlando provides essential resources, education and advocacy of the LGBTQ community and its allies, and Hope Partnership aims to provide a holistic continuum of care to end homelessness and poverty.
“We know that in order to advocate for total well-being, we must focus on all components of health, including mental health. Florida Blue sees this investment as a necessity to helping people and communities achieve better health, especially where resources and innovative solutions are not always easily accessible,” said Tony Jenkins, Florida Blue’s Central Florida market president. “Our support of these organizations will expand these essential services in our community.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), each year, amongst adults in the U.S., mental illness effects 47.4% of the LGBTQ+ community and 20.8% of people experiencing homelessness have a serious mental health condition.
The $600,000 investment from the Florida Blue Foundation will support the mental health needs of the Central Florida community by:
- Central Florida Foundation, as the fiscal agent for LGBT+ Center Orlando who will offer an integrated approach to mental wellness through a collection of mental health programs serving more than 3,000 clients. Each program is focused on the mental health and security of the LGTB+ community and provides approaches catered to the unique needs of different groups. The Center aims to create a safe environment for the mental and emotional healing, peer support, and access to services for the LGBT+ community and victims of hate crimes.
- Hope Partnership will provide improved access to mental health services in Osceola County by offering a dedicated mental and behavioral health staff to provide individual and peer-supported group therapies to address anxiety, depression, social isolation, coping skills, and trauma for community members living in hotels and motels, as well as those who are experiencing homelessness. With social support being a critical component to breaking the cycle of poverty, Hope Partnership intends to also integrate the Circles USA curriculum into their programmatic options for those seeking assistance. Circles USA gathers middle-income and high-income volunteers to support families in poverty. Participants are surrounded by a support network that better equips them for long term stability.
“The Florida Blue Foundation is focused on supporting organizations like the LGBT+ Center Orlando and Hope Partnership that are implementing innovative programs to support the mental well-being of our state’s underserved communities,” said Susan Towler, executive director of the Florida Blue Foundation. “We believe community-based solutions such as theirs can provide impactful support that can truly transform the lives of Central Floridians.”
The Florida Blue Foundation recently announced a $3.8 million investment in 12 organizations addressing mental health needs across the state, including Central Florida Foundation (in partnership with LGBT+ Center Orlando) and Hope Partnership. Over the past five years, the Foundation has invested more than $12.7 million in nonprofit organizations addressing mental health needs in Florida.
About the Florida Blue Foundation
The Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions and embracing solutions that create a meaningful impact in our communities. More than 6.5 million Floridians have received services as a result of our community investments since our founding in 2001. The Florida Blue Foundation’s programs are focused on advancing mental well-being, improving health equity, impacting food security and addressing systemic racism and resulting health disparities. It is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit www.FloridaBlueFoundation.com.
About Central Florida Foundation
Central Florida Foundation stewards philanthropic dollars on behalf of individuals, families, and nonprofits. We partner with people who are determined to make a difference in their community. Knowing that true change demands more than dollars and cents, we foster collaboration, fuel ideas, and spearhead the innovation that will transform our region for good. Learn more at cffound.org.
About LGBT+ Center Orlando
Founded in 1978, LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc.'s mission is to empower and promote the LGBT community and its allies through advocacy, education, information, and support. The Center oversees Orlando United Assistance Center and work directly with those impacted by the Pulse shooting tragedy with comprehensive case management and mental health support. The largest HIV testing site in Central Florida, The Center provides more than 8,000 free tests annually. The Center offers social, support, and addiction support groups and has robust youth and senior programming. For more information, please visit www.thecenterorlando.org.
About Hope Partnership
Hope Partnership is working to end homelessness and poverty in Central Florida by empowering our neighbors, strengthening our community, and building hope. The entities of Hope Partnership provide programming that is trauma-informed and client-centered to help achieve our goals to end homelessness and poverty. Entities of the Partnership include Hope Center, Hope Works, Hope Cares, and Hope Builds. For more information, visit www.thehopepartnership.org.
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