BAR HARBOR, Maine — Cha-ching.
That’s the sound of a local nonprofit receiving a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a collaborative project aimed at boosting the health of Hancock and Washington counties.
Healthy Acadia — in partnership with University of New England, Washington County-One Community and the Passamaquoddy Tribal Council at Indian Township — will use the grant on a slew of programs and initiatives aimed at “promoting healthy eating and physical activity, access to quality preventive health services and social and emotional wellness,” according to a news release.
The grant represents only about 2 percent of the pot of federal money handed out through the CDC Community Transformation Grant program this year, but it’s more than three times Healthy Acadia’s total revenue in 2010, the most recent year for which tax information is readily available.
The nonprofit will receive half the total sum of the grant this year, and half next year, according to Executive Director Doug Michael.
Healthy Acadia will work with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to allocate money to programs and initiatives throughout the two-county area with the goal of improving the health of Down East Mainers, Michael said on Thursday.
“We will be working with partners to clarify where the most strategic investments are, and we’ll steward those resource to launch impactful projects to make it easier for people to lead healthier lives,” he said.
Michael said it’s the largest grant the organization has ever received.
“Not only have the partners joined together to leverage resources, but they’ve also collaborated closely with the communities that will be impacted by their efforts,” he said. “I believe this project can make a real difference.”
According to the press release from U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who announced the DHHS grant award, the collaborative partners will:
• Increase the number of community outlets providing access to healthy, affordable food and increase the use of farm-to-school production models;
• Work with schools to promote walking and biking to schools and expand options for physical activity in communities;
• Work with schools to implement coordinated health programs throughout the region;
• And increase transportation options and grow a network of volunteer drivers to help patients get to doctor’s appointments.
DHHS claims the $70 million given out through this particular grant program will benefit 9.2 million Americans in 40 communities.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.