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New Health Foundation to Fund Nonprofits in the Quad Cities

Missy Gowey, and foundation board members announced the launch of the foundation at Modern Woodmen Park this week.
Missy Gowey, and foundation board members announced the launch of the foundation at Modern Woodmen Park this week.

A new health foundation, backed by Genesis Health System, plans to give out up to $4 million in grants to local organizations over the next two years.

The Better Health Foundation will fund nonprofits in Henry, Mercer, Rock Island, and Whiteside counties in Illinois, and Cedar, Clinton, Louisa, Muscatine, and Scott counties in Iowa.

The private, independent foundation was seeded by Genesis before the healthcare system merged with MercyOne last march.

Missy Gowey led the charitable foundations at Genesis before becoming the CEO of the Better Health Foundation. She says the foundation won't give out grants to Genesis competitors.

"Because we are carrying forward a legacy of Genesis Health System, we do respect it, and we are going to be very sensitive to applications that would come to us that in any way, if you did the bunny trail...would Genesis deem this as them being in a competitive situation?"

The first round of grants will go to nonprofits that help people with mental health, obesity, diabetes, and maternal health.

Gowey says the foundation will fund nonclinical work.

"We're going to educate people about available resources to them, give them the tools to access the care they need, so they can take control of their health."

"We're looking for solutions that also address social determinants of health, conditions that affect a person's health and their wellbeing, and their quality of life," she said. "And just a quick example of that would be people who have no access to nutritious foods."

The Better Health Foundation will start accepting letters of inquiry for the first grant cycle on its website Oct. 1.

Rachel graduated from Michigan State University's J-School and has a background in broadcast and environmental journalism. Before WVIK, she worked for WKAR Public Media, Great Lakes Now, and more. In her free time, she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with her cat.