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Grant Boosts Health Group

Latino Health Access of Santa Ana will receive $600,000 over three years for its work training low-income residents as community educators.

September 23, 2003|Jennifer Mena | Times Staff Writer

Because of its success in reaching out to Santa Ana residents on health issues, Latino Health Access has been awarded a $600,000 grant to bolster its efforts.

The money comes from the Seattle-based Marguerite Casey Foundation, a philanthropy which, among other things, promotes health services and health-related education for uninsured and underserved Latino communities.

The foundation was created by the family of Jim Casey, founder of United Parcel Service.

The charity announced Monday that it was distributing $9.9 million to 26 organizations around the country.

The grants are intended to train low-income youth, parents and caregivers to educate others about health problems.

The Santa Ana nonprofit organization will receive $200,000 a year for three years.

America Bracho, founder of Latino Health Access, said receiving the grant "was a very beautiful thing," partly because the organization was invited by the Casey Foundation to seek its financial help.

"It's a recognition that these people who know so much about community work are saying ... here's money to be stronger," said Bracho.

David Brotherton, foundation spokesman, said Latino Health Access was approached because of the group's reputation for penetrating the community.

Among other projects, it trains people, called promotores, to educate low-income residents on health issues.

"Their reach in the community is significant. We very much support their use of the promotores model. It's peer-to-peer community engagement," Brotherton said.

"Clearly, given the health demographics and the lack of insured in the community, the organization is important," he said.

Latino Health Access operates on a $2-million annual budget funded through private and public grants.

The Marguerite Casey Foundation's assistance is unusual because there are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, Bracho said.

The money will be used for existing programs versus starting new ones, he said.

"This is marvelous," said Bracho. "The vast majority of the money is earmarked for specific interventions. It's rare that you get this kind of money."

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