Initial Grants by Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Include Many Recipients in the Archdiocese

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Elizabeth Seton Children’s Center in Yonkers searched for a long time for a “cornerstone” grant that would enable it to move ahead with plans to build the nation’s first skilled nursing facility for young adults with severe, medically complex conditions.

Enter the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, which last week announced that Elizabeth Seton Children’s Center was awarded a $1 million grant in the first round of grants ever distributed by the foundation.

The foundation March 4 handed out grants totaling nearly $150 million to 500 programs, initiatives and activities—Catholic and non-Catholic—in the archdiocese and throughout New York state. The grants focus on improving the health and quality of life for low-income and underserved communities.

Speaking with Catholic New York this week, Pat Tursi, CEO of Elizabeth Seton Children’s, called the grant “a game-changer” that will allow the residential, nonprofit health center to move forward with its plan to continue caring for residents even after they “age out” of pediatric care at age 21.

Since Elizabeth Seton Children’s Center first learned about receiving the grant, an architect—NBBJ of New York City—has already been hired, and other steps have been taken to make the new nursing facility a reality for 68 young adults. It is planned for a site adjacent to the current center.

For most young adults, the prospect of turning 22 is not a big deal. For the families of residents of Elizabeth Seton Children’s Center, that is definitely not the case, Ms. Tursi said. “It becomes such an anxiety ridden and fearful time for our families, because they don’t know where the child, now a young adult, is going to live.”

Gaining the Cabrini Foundation grant brings a new outlook for the future. “We’re beyond thrilled,” Ms. Tursi said. “It’s going to bring us to the next level.”

The foundation’s first round of grants will assist many in the archdiocese and beyond.

ArchCare, the continuing care community of the archdiocese, received grants for two housing programs for young adults with autism, $4 million; the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) of ArchCare Senior Life, $1,750,000; expanding specialty hospital care in New York state, $1 million; and increasing access to subacute rehabilitation in the South Bronx at St. Vincent de Paul Residence, $1 million.

Scott LaRue, president and CEO of ArchCare, told CNY that the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation grants “enable us to do things we would not be able to do, and to serve populations that traditional sources of funding could not support.”

“Mother Cabrini has opened these doors for us,” said LaRue, who stressed how “grateful and thankful we are.”

One example would be the housing programs for young adults with autism at St. Teresa’s parish on Staten Island, and at Immaculate Conception parish in Tuckahoe, where LaRue said he expects 10 to 14 units to be built. 

Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York, was another big grant recipient, receiving a $3 million grant for multi-area service improvements and expansions.

The agency also received additional grants for case management services, a case management technology project, emergency assistance through the Feeding Our Neighbors program, an English language and literacy program, immigrant legal services and a parish mental health counseling program.

Information provided by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation showed that the first round of grants include:

*$57 million toward general services for low-income individuals and families;

*$25 million toward youth and young adults;

*$18 million toward programming, nursing and caregiving services for older adults;

*$18 million toward housing and services for persons with special needs;

*$10 million toward initiatives for immigrants and refugees;

*$7 million toward needs of young children, pregnant women and new mothers;

*$4 million toward opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals;

*$4 million toward programs and federally qualified health centers;

*$3 million toward support services for veterans.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation was formed after the 2018 sale of Fidelis Care, a nonprofit health insurer established by the Catholic bishops of New York state. For more than 25 years, Fidelis Care expanded under the bishops’ oversight to become one of the highest rated and most successful insurers in the state.

The Cabrini Foundation is one of the largest in the United States and the largest focused solely in New York.

Speaking about the impetus for the Cabrini Foundation on last week’s “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan” show on Sirius XM, Cardinal Dolan said he and the other bishops of New York state agreed proceeds from Fidelis Care’s sale should “continue the work of serving the health care needs of the poor.”

Mother Cabrini, known for her work with immigrants and children in New York and elsewhere in the 19th and 20th centuries, was the founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1946, she became the first American citizen to be canonized a saint.

“Mother Cabrini spent her life devoted to those who faced the greatest struggles, and the foundation named in her honor is proudly carrying on her legacy,” said Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, CEO of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, in a statement.

Msgr. Mustaciuolo is a priest of the archdiocese. Before his appointment to the foundation in 2018, he served as vicar general and chancellor of the archdiocese.

The Mother Cabrini Heath Foundation has not yet announced when the application process for its 2020 grant-making program will begin, but it is anticipated to be in the early spring. Information: www.cabrinihealth.org   

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