Synergy Initiative Grants

Since 2000, The Health Foundation has made 108 grants to 27 different organizations for 22 Synergy projects through the Synergy Initiative. Below is more information about all of The Health Foundation’s Synergy Initiative Projects.

Round Five Projects

Central Massachusetts Private Well Program – January 2020 to Present – Total Granted: $629,150
READYGO – January 2020 to Present – Total Granted: $533,059
ENCOMPASS – January 2020 to Present – Total Granted: $657,735
Quaboag Connector – A Model For Rural Transportation – January 2020 to Present – Total Granted: $628,763

Round Four Projects

Partnership for Refugee Wellness – January 2015 to March 2017 – Total Granted: $667,417
ReImagine North of Main – January 2015 to December 2020 – Total Granted: $2,130,328
Worcester HEARS – January 2015 to July 2020 – Total Granted: $1,875,480
Worcester Regional Food Hub – January 2015 to Present – Total Granted: $2,857,478

Round Three Projects

A Better Life (ABL) – January 2011 to December 2017 – Total Granted: $3,113,628
The Compass Project – January 2011 to December 2013 – Total Granted: $967,595
Improving Access to Health – January 2011 to December 2015 – Total Granted: $947,195
Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry (WISR) – January 2011 to August 2017 – Total Granted: $2,322,347

Round Two Projects
Home Again - January 2007 to June 2013 - Total Granted: $2,205,837

Home Again received over $2.2 million from The Health Foundation to end adult chronic homelessness in Worcester using the “housing first” approach.

  • Home Again documented the efficacy of the “Housing First” approach, including savings in healthcare costs that exceeded the cost of this intervention. Massachusetts then transitioned all of its housing supports from sheltering to housing first.
  • In January 2011, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recognized Worcester as the first city of its size to effectively end chronic adult homelessness.
  • Since 2011, funding for case management/community supports has been provided by all Medicaid behavioral health providers.
  • Massachusetts received a federal planning grant in 2011 to address serving “dual eligibles” with Medicaid and Medicare funds for vulnerable populations. Services began in 2013 and under the federal CMS section 1115 waiver that was approved for Massachusetts in 2016, these services will continue through June 2022.
  • Funding for occupancy costs through HUD and state funding, combined with Social Security income has resulted in several million dollars to pay the rent for these individuals who have been housed.

Home Again Final Evaluation Report 2011

Hunger-Free & Healthy - January 2007 to December 2012 - Total Granted: $1,557,443

Hunger-Free & Healthy received $1.5 million in funding from The Health Foundation for a variety of approaches to improve local access to healthy food and to reduce hunger in Worcester.

  • A partnership with the Worcester Public Schools improved the quality of meals offered to 25,000 students. In 2018, 21 schools in the district out of only 100 schools across the state, provided free breakfast after the bell.
  • A SNAP outreach worker was hired and worked with eligible individuals and families to submit more than 550 SNAP applications, of which, more than 60% were approved.
  • Hunger-Free & Healthy participants worked for the passage of the School Nutrition Bill that initiated the creation of a statewide Food Policy Council, which remains actively engaged in food-related advocacy efforts.

Hunger-Free & Healthy Final Evaluation Report February 2012

Choices: A Program for Youth at Risk in Webster/Dudley - January 2007 to December 2011 - Total Granted: $734,898

The Choices Program was a comprehensive approach of effective techniques and strategies that directed at-risk young people in Dudley/Webster toward positive alternatives. Through a referral network of linkages by local clubs with school, police, courts, other juvenile justice agencies, social service agencies and community organizations, youth were recruited, needs and interests assessed, support teams created and club programs offered as a diversion from at risk activity.

The Winchendon Project - January 2007 to December 2012 - Total Granted: $1,486,962

In an effort to address mental health and substance abuse issues among 6th-12th graders (approximately 760 students) attending Murdock Middle High School (MMHS) in Winchendon, MA, The Winchendon Project (TWP) was developed in 2007 and implemented from 2008-2012. TWP provided prevention and early intervention for youth suffering from behavioral health problems by increasing awareness and providing access to services and programs in school and the community.

Over the course of the project, TWP experienced a number of accomplishments including:

  • Development of systematic processes for coordinating services that moved students smoothly through the system from referral to treatment to follow-up in a non-disruptive, highly confidential manner.
  • Yearly increases in the amount of behavioral health services provided (increased from 160 individual clinical hours to 589 individual clinical hours).
  • Integration of behavioral health services into the school-based health center in 2011.
  • The Learning Supports Facilitator component achieved the broad objective for which it was designed- catalyzing a movement toward an academic environment in which risk and protective factors, and strategies to address them, are now at the forefront of educators’ minds.

The Winchendon Project Final Evaluation report February 2012

Women's HIV/Domestic Violence Initiative - January 2007 to December 2009 - Total Granted: $620,089

The Women’s HIV/Sexual Violence Initiative was a collaborative effort among five partner agencies: AIDS Project Worcester (APW), Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc., Pernet Family Health Service, Rape Crisis Center of Central MA, and YWCA Daybreak. The premise of the project was to address the high rates of HIV/AIDS disease among women in Central Massachusetts; with specific attention to women who have a history of or are experiencing sexual violence.

APW staff worked in the community to educate women about the risk factors related to sexual violence, STDs and HIV/AIDS. Project staff visited more than 50 agencies over the course of this project and screened more than 1,000 women. In 2009, 480 women were screened and 147 participated in the program.

Round One Projects
Central Massachusetts Oral Health Initiative (CMOHI) - November 2000 - June 2011 - Total Granted: $3,643,840

The Central Massachusetts Oral Health Initiative (CMOHI) began in early 2000 in response to the urgent need for improved access to oral health care in the Central Massachusetts region. Of particular concern were low-income, uninsured children and families who lacked access to preventive and restorative oral health treatment. CMOHI partners sought to increase available oral health services while removing barriers to such services.

CMOHI developed into a broad-based partnership of 25 state and local organizations. The contributions from these partners led to improvements in access to oral health care for under-served populations in the City of Worcester and Southern Worcester County, while also providing lessons for oral health initiatives in other communities in Massachusetts and around the country.

Some of the key accomplishments of CMOHI include:

  • Approval for seven-year accreditation by the American Dental Association of the Dental Residency program at UMass Medical School.
  • Increased student participation in school-based prevention services.
  • Expanded access to treatment at Family Health Center, Great Brook Valley Health Center and Quinsigamond Community College.
  • Oral surgery services returned to Hahnemann Hospital; and the creation of education materials for physicians on adult emergent and urgent oral health issues.

Public policy changes achieved include the implementation of the MassHealth dental third-party administrator, caseload setting capability and restoration of adult dental benefits.

CMOHI Journal of Public Health Dentistry 2010
2009 Oral Health Impact Report
CMOHI Final Report November 2008

Child Abuse Prevention and Protection Collaborative - January 2001 to November 2007 - Total Granted: $1,961,778

The Health Foundation provided nearly $2 million in funding for this collaborative effort to develop a coordinated, community-based effort to prevent child abuse and neglect, establish a continuum of care for victims and their families, and advocate for legislation to address shaken baby syndrome and provide for sexual assault nurse examiners.

  • The collaborative developed a coordinated, community-based effort to prevent child abuse and neglect, establish a continuum of care for victims and families, and advocate for legislation to address shaken baby syndrome and provide for sexual assault nurse examiners.
  • As a result of the successful implementation of a Shaken Baby Syndrome Campaign at two area hospitals, Massachusetts now requires that all birthing parents receive education about shaken baby syndrome.
  • The state continues to fund sexual assault nurse examiners, totaling more than $42M through FY21 since 2008.

Child Abuse Prevention and Protection Collaborative Final Evaluation Report May 2007

Oral Health Initiative of North Central Massachusetts (OHINCM) - January 2001 to June 2008 - Total Granted: $2,253,672

The goal of OHINCM was to increase access to dental services and improve the oral health of underserved residents of North Central Massachusetts. A number of comprehensive, integrated and collaborative strategies were implemented in the areas of access, provision of services, education and advocacy.

The outcomes of this initiative were substantial. They include:

  • The establishment and expansion of sites for dental services at three CHC, locations in Fitchburg, Gardner and Leominster and through the ACTION Health Services program for the homeless and publicly housed populations.
  • School-based dental services provided at 16 schools in five districts for grades K-5 and continue as of 2010.
  • Mt. Wachusett Community College established a Dental Hygiene program.
  • Working with the Oral Health Advocacy Task Force resulted in significant changes including the restoration of MassHealth adult dental health benefits, increased reimbursement rates for children and adults, funding for a third-party administrator for the MassHealth dental program; increased funding for DPH’s Office of Oral Health and funding for the BEST Oral Health Program, a preschool oral health project.

2009 Oral Health Impact Report

Together for Kids (TFK) - May 2001 to June 2009 - Total Granted: $1,779,018

The Health Foundation’s funding of TFK totaled $1.8 million for the development of a mental health consultation model to aid the social-emotional development of preschoolers who presented with challenging behaviors in child care settings.

  • The TFK model demonstrated that with an average of 24 hours of behavioral health consultation for teachers and parents, children’s challenging behaviors and developmental skills significantly improved as compared to those in matched nonintervention preschools.
  • Preschool expulsions were reduced to near zero in the intervention preschools.
  • Advocacy efforts resulted in the state proving $19M in mental health consultation funding in preschool settings from 2008 to 2020.

TFK Final Evaluation Report March 2006
2009 Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development Study