St. Charles Health System is now accepting applications for grants aimed at reducing loneliness and increasing welcoming and belonging in Central Oregon. Community-based and nonprofit organizations, education systems and tribal entities that serve youth, older adults and/or vulnerable populations are now eligible to apply for St. Charles’ newest grant priority: Celebrate, Together; Celebrando Juntos

For the next three years, St. Charles will direct thousands in grant funding to community organizations to target loneliness and isolation, aimed specifically at organizations that are creating opportunities for communities to connect in person, with a focus on older adults and youth.

“We are increasingly seeing that loneliness and depression are root causes of a number of health problems and societal problems, and the pandemic has only exacerbated that issue,” said Molly Wells Darling, administrative director of Behavioral Health Services for St. Charles. “If we can help people feel less lonely by connecting with others and becoming part of a community, we know that Central Oregon will be healthier place.”

Carlos Salcedo, community partnerships manager for St. Charles, says that the goal is for these grants to address loneliness by providing a wide variety of activities that match the diverse interests of Central Oregonians. 

“We heard in our assessment interviews that community members are craving opportunities to come together, meet new people and rebuild their social networks coming out of COVID. Our hope is that each community will choose where to focus their time and energy around this issue. Maybe one will focus on creating innovative programming for middle school youth while another might focus on creating community walking groups,” said Salcedo. 

Organizations that are interested in expanding current group programming or piloting new projects that would allow their target populations to engage in a way that is most meaningful to them are encouraged to apply. 

Applications are due Sept. 30, 2023. To learn more about the grant requirements and application process, visit our webpage

About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, La Pine, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, nonprofit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,500 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.

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