Corporate Citizenship award winner: Allegheny Health Network provides resources to Project Destiny

Allegheny Health Network may be a nonprofit itself, but its efforts supporting people in need and organizations that serve them is extensive.

“Since 2017 we have provided more than $175 million worth of charity and uncompensated care for people coming to Allegheny Health Network facilities,” said Allie Quick, chief philanthropy officer for AHN. “That’s a big piece of what we give that people don’t realize. We are providing care to people who can’t afford to pay for it.”

But those efforts “don’t stop at the hospital door,” according to Quick. The health care and insurance provider also partners with local charities by providing money, volunteers and advisory services.

Perhaps the best example of that outreach is the support for Project Destiny Inc., a North Side-based nonprofit founded in 2004 that provides resources, support groups, cultural and educational activities for children in need and their families.

According to Rev. Brenda Gregg, founder and executive director of Project Destiny, AHN has been an invaluable partner, especially in collaboration with the Build Health Challenge, a national initiative that stands for taking a bold, upstream, integrated, local and data-driven approach to develop sustainable improvements in community health.

“AHN is the largest supporter of our Build Health Challenge,” she said. “They are also a part of the implementation team for this program, including providing us with data to help us determine what are the needs of the families on the North Side.”

Gregg said they are examining issues such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity among local residents, then working on programs that serve those needs.

Other partners in that project include The Buhl Foundation and the Allegheny County Department of Health. Medical services are provided at Allegheny General Hospital.

The approach taken by AHN supporting Project Destiny is one aspect of a much bigger outreach program, according to Quick.

“Our mission is to be a partner in improving health outcomes for the neighborhood and the region we serve,” she said. “We’re involved with a number of organizations throughout the community. Some are small. Some are large. We support the Carnegie Science Center; we’re the presenting sponsor of the Great Race; all of those large-scale events you see in the community where we can have a presence. But we’re also involved on a smaller scale with the nonprofits that are working to improve the region.”

The focus of AHN’s philanthropy, according to Quick, is determining what local residents need and then working with area nonprofits and civic groups to provide education, services and other resources that address those problems.

She said it’s not just about giving money or offering volunteers: AHN is building partnerships with nonprofits to reach shared goals.

“That can be everything from dealing with issues of food insecurity to counseling for opioid addiction to helping moms who are struggling with pregnancy and addiction,” she said. “It’s really a partnership to help folks in the region to live healthier lives.”

AHN maintains a database of employees interested in volunteer work called the Highmark Caring Corps. Participants provide services ranging from working at food banks, mentoring and working at events, to name just a few.

Originally published on October 1, 2018
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Business Times