Highmark Foundation Provides $1 Million Grant to Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center

Sep 23, 2011, 11:02 ET from Highmark Foundation

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Catholic Charities today announced that it received a $1 million grant from the Highmark Foundation. The Highmark Foundation grant will support the operation of the Catholic Charities  Free Health Care Center during the next two years with the provision of free medical and dental care to underserved and uninsured individuals and their families.

Annette Fetchko, administrator of the Free Health Care Center said, "The patients, staff, and volunteers of the Free Health Care Center join me in extending our deepest appreciation to the Highmark Foundation for this generous gift and their ongoing support of our efforts.  This grant comes at a time when the demand for the services of the Center continues to rise. We are truly honored to be able to serve the healthcare needs of our neighbors and thank Highmark for their abundant generosity."    

This grant builds on a series of major gifts from the Highmark Foundation and Highmark Inc. Since the Free Health Care Center opened in 2007, the Highmark Foundation has contributed $250,000 and Highmark Inc. has made grants totaling more than $600,000.

"Free clinics like the one offered by Catholic Charities play a critical role in providing care for the uninsured community," said Yvonne Cook, president of the Highmark Foundation. "The Highmark Foundation and Highmark believe strongly in the Free Health Care Center's proven work to serve as a safety net for so many people in our community."

Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center is a nonprofit organization operating through Catholic Charities, Diocese of Pittsburgh, Inc. The Center provides free medical and dental care to patients who cannot afford health insurance or do not qualify for government assistance and whose income is at or below federal poverty guidelines.

"The Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center has often been called 'The Miracle on Ninth Street' by our patients, staff and volunteers," Fetchko said. "As we approach the fourth anniversary of our opening in November, it's miraculous that the Center has served more than 10,000 individuals during 22,000 visits. It's even more miraculous when you consider that nearly 150 volunteer professionals have given of their time and talent to provide this care to their neighbors in need."

The Free Health Care Center, located in Pittsburgh, is the largest full-time free volunteer-in-medicine  health care center in southwestern Pennsylvania, and program costs are funded entirely through foundations, government grants, individual and corporate donations and in-kind service donations. Services are provided to families in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Green, Lawrence and Washington counties.

About Catholic Charities

Rooted in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, Catholic Charities is the primary social service agency of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, serving all regardless of religious affiliation in their time of greatest need. With offices in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties, Catholic Charities provides programs and services that include: adoption and foster care, counseling, health care, housing and homeless assistance, pregnancy and parenting support, refugee resettlement, safety net and stability services and senior services. For more information about Catholic Charities and the Free Health Care Center, visit www.ccpgh.org or call 412-456-6999.

About the Highmark Foundation

Created in 2000, the Highmark Foundation is a charitable organization, a private foundation and an affiliate of Highmark Inc. Its mission is to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for individuals who live in the communities served by Highmark Inc., its affiliates and subsidiaries. In 2006, the Foundation launched Highmark Healthy High 5, a children's health promotion initiative designed to improve the health of children and adolescents, ages 6-18. Through a $100 million commitment, Highmark Healthy High 5 addresses five critical issues – nutrition, physical activity, grieving, self-esteem, and bullying prevention. For more information about the Highmark Foundation go to www.highmarkfoundation.com.

SOURCE Highmark Foundation