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ProMedica, national nonprofit to spend $45M to improve socioeconomic factors

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    From left, Kim Cutcher, the executive director of Toledo LISC, Kate Sommerfeld, president of social determinants of health with ProMedica, and ProMedica CEO and President Randy Oostra discusses a new partnership with the national LISC organization to obtain funding for the Ebeid Neighborhood Promise at the ProMedica Headquarters Steam Plant building in Toledo on Monday.

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    From left, Kim Cutcher, the executive director of Toledo LISC, Kate Sommerfeld, president of social determinants of health with ProMedica, and ProMedica CEO and President Randy Oostra discusses a new partnership with the national LISC organization to obtain funding for the Ebeid Neighborhood Promise at the ProMedica Headquarters Steam Plant building in Toledo on Monday, March 12, 2018.

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    ProMedica CEO and President Randy Oostra discusses a new partnership with the national LISC organization to obtain funding for the Ebeid Neighborhood Promise at the ProMedica Headquarters Steam Plant building in Toledo.

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    Kim Cutcher, the executive director of Toledo LISC.

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    Maurice Jones

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The national Local Initiatives Support Corp. and ProMedica will spend $45 million improving economic opportunities and health outcomes in ProMedica’s 28-county footprint.

The two organizations will announce Tuesday a $25 million loan pool and $20 million grant program for neighborhood-based economic development in ProMedica’s territory over the next decade. The partnership will also strengthen another major ProMedica initiative launched in late 2017: the 10-year Ebeid Neighborhood Promise program, which seeks to inject new life into Toledo’s UpTown neighborhood.

“This is a big deal,” said Randy Oostra, president and chief executive of ProMedica. “This is really good news for a lot of people.”

The $50 million promise program established the ProMedica Ebeid Institute for Population Health. The institute aims to research and create programs related to social determinants of health — a term for demographic factors such as income, education, housing, and food insecurity that affect a person’s well-being. It is funded in large part by a $28.5 million gift from the family of late philanthropist Russell J. Ebeid, while ProMedica will contribute $11.5 million and raise another $10 million from community partners for the initiative.

After that announcement last fall, Mr. Oostra said LISC then approached ProMedica about a wider partnership.

“We’ve done a lot of work with social determinants, but having the resources from LISC and their ability to come in especially financially ... it’s a game changer,” Mr. Oostra said.

In a prepared statement Mr. Oostra added that, while the health-care industry has traditionally invested in technology and facilities, it has under-invested in socioeconomic factors, despite evidence about how such factors “greatly influence” people’s health.

“For several years now, ProMedica has been devoting more resources to address social needs,” the statement said. “Now through this partnership with LISC, we will maximize the impact of our efforts, starting in UpTown...”

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Maurice Jones

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Maurice Jones, president and chief executive of the New York-based LISC, said the organization had previously announced a 10-year, $10 billion commitment toward improving various social determinants of health across the country.

“We’re trying to take this to the next chapter,” Mr. Jones said. “I don’t know of any other hospital around the country that is as aggressive and committed to this body of work as ProMedica is. ... Our potential here for transformative work is incredibly, incredibly bright.”

ProMedica will contribute $10 million to the loan pool and another $10 million to the grant program, while LISC will add $15 million for loans and $10 million for grants.

Kate Sommerfeld, president of social determinants of health for ProMedica, said LISC has the know-how and resources to implement the promise program while providing guidance and resources for residents.

“They really understand what works to move the neighborhood forward,” she said. “This will help us operationalize the Ebeid [Neighborhood] Promise.Technical assistance is going to be key, too. What we’ve seen is that when there are these pools available, developers or projects don’t have the technical support to get to the end goal.”

The loan and grant programs will not exclude anyone, but will place emphasis on businesses owned by women and minorities.

“In most places, we see an under-representation among women and minorities when it comes to building wealth and running businesses,” Mr. Jones said. “We want to make sure we are intentional about going after those groups who are under-represented when it comes to the business-ownership piece of the economic pie in Toledo and other places.”

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Kim Cutcher, the executive director of Toledo LISC.

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Kim Cutcher, executive director of Toledo LISC, said the partnership will use its loans and grants to provide financial assistance to businesses and developments that traditional funding sources like banks don’t support.

“It doesn’t mean that those projects or programs aren’t worthy, it just means they don’t meet the criteria the banks have set right now, or the banks can only participate at a certain level,” she said.

Mr. Jones noted the initiative aims to do more than simply fill the gap. The goal is to build momentum in under-served neighborhoods so investment becomes more desirable.

“The idea is to catalyze true market activity in these communities, such that what comes behind us is market-based folks who see these neighborhoods and organizations as worthy of investment,” he said.

Contact Alexandra Mester at: amester@theblade.com419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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