Preschoolers at Lincoln Parish Head Start, the Lincoln Parish Early Childhood Center and Louisiana Tech’s Early Childhood Education Center are learning at a young age to make healthy food decisions. New and upcoming moms and dads are getting help and resources through Life Choices. United Way works to distribute hundreds of food backpacks for impoverished students who are identified by school administrators as needing food during weekends.
And all of this is organized and facilitated by the Lincoln Health Foundation.
“Lincoln Health Foundation’s mission is to improve health care and health-related outcomes for residents of Lincoln Parish,” said Norman Hanes, CEO of LHF. “We address identified health challenges in our Parish by utilizing local non-profit organizations who possess the expertise and resources needed to address those challenges.”
Per mandates from the state’s attorney general’s office, LHF is only allowed to fund initiatives that address specific health priorities in Lincoln Parish. Those are identified by LHF through data compiled by Community Health Needs Assessments conducted exclusively for the parish that utilize national, state and local health data.
“Based on this information, LHF prioritizes the health challenges most in need of addressing and then pursues non-profit organizations who are in a position to provide specifically needed services,” Hanes said.
Because LHF’s grants are strategically based and often involve health challenges that will require a long-term solution, grantees who demonstrate the ability to accomplish their grant objectives are often funded on a long-term basis until the initiative demonstrates sufficient improvement or resolution to be discontinued, Hanes said.
“The Foundation’s decision to fund any grantee depends entirely on the nature of the health priority we are wanting to address,” he said. “We have funded one-time grants to address specific issues that can be effectively addressed with a short-term or one-time grant payment. All grants are funded for one year only, and then renewed by the Board of Directors if the grantee demonstrates the ability to fulfill the grant objective and effectively manage the grant according to the established budget. All grants undergo an audit every two years by an outside auditing agency to ensure that grant objectives are being met and the grant is managed effectively from a financial perspective.”
As with all nonprofits, Hanes said COVID-19 has had an impact on its projects.
“Unfortunately, many of the health challenges that the Foundation seeks to address in Lincoln Parish are related to socioeconomic factors, unhealthy lifestyles, inadequate health funding resources and, more recently, the COVID pandemic,” Hanes said. “The public may not be aware that despite the visible and non-visible negative impact that these factors have had in our community, there are many positive things occurring in Lincoln Parish to address those negatives through initiatives funded by LHF.”
Hanes said meaningful results have been achieved through LHF’s long-term funding of The Health Hut, which provides primary care to uninsured or under-insured residents of Lincoln Parish, school-based health care programs in Lincoln Parish schools, funding of staff at the Lincoln Parish Health Unit, health and wellness programs at The Boys Club, and numerous other non-profits who provide wellness, health education and mental health services.
Hanes also mentioned that the leadership from the City of Ruston and Lincoln Parish Police Jury and their vision for improving the health and wellness of our community has enabled LHF to engage in specific initiatives that improve access to needed health care services and wellness programs.
“Going forward, LHF’s mission will continue to focus on identifying and addressing the health-related issues that present the biggest challenges in our parish,” Hanes said. “The benefits that are derived from the initiatives funded by the Foundation significantly influence the overall quality of life for residents in Lincoln Parish, and we are grateful for the numerous non-profits in our parish who enable the Foundation to accomplish its mission.”
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