Granny’s supports island health care needs with $125,000 in recent grants

The members of Granny’s Attic recently awarded $125,000 in grants to seven island organizations that tend to islanders health and well being in a variety of ways.

The money, profit from the Granny’s Attic thrift store, is part of its twice-yearly grant cycle to health-related island nonprofits. Granny’s business manager Tim Johnson said that the amount given out this time was slightly more than the typical $90,000 to $100,000. The increase, he said, is attributed largely to the store’s Christmas season, which brought in a profit of $100,000 in just 26 days.

The grants provided were as follows:

• Neighborcare Health: $47,000;

• Vashon Community Care: $25,712;

• Vashon Veterans’ Association: $10,700;

• Vashon Senior Center: $10,000 and $8,200;

• DOVE Project: $5,400;

• Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness: $10,000 and $8,750; and

• Vashon Island Growers Association: $3,000.

One grant request, from the Vashon-Maury Island Community Food Bank, was not funded.

“The grannies would love to have the money to fund all the grant requests,” Johnson said. “The grannies are embracing the grant process and feeling the weight of being the grant agency. The hardest thing to do is say no.”

The largest of the grants, to Neighborcare, will help offset operating losses there, according to Joseph Sparacio, the organization’s chief development officer. He noted that Neighborcare is a Federally Qualified Health Center, and for such organizations, Medicaid is the only reimbursement that covers the cost of a visit in full. At the Vashon clinic, only about 15 percent of patients are covered by Medicaid.

“The Vashon clinic has continued to operate with a shortfall, which is not sustainable. We have been exploring several ways to close the gap. One way is through charitable support from Granny’s Attic and others,” he said in a recent email.

A new recipient for Granny’s funds was the Vashon Veterans Association. Its members are working toward creating a veterans’ retreat center at Sunrise Ridge to help address the lack of veterans services on the island, according to Doug Kieper, who is one of the organizers of the effort.

At the Vashon Senior Center, the funds will go to two projects, according to Executive Director Ava Apple: the volunteer Neighbor to Neighbor program, which helps seniors stay in their homes and the lunch transportation program, which brings several seniors to lunch at the center three days a week.

The Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness will use $10,000 to help people remain in their homes. This grant, Johnson said, is at the limit of Granny’s mission, which is to fund health-related causes.

But the council’s Emma Amiad made the case for the funds.

“If you have nowhere to live, that is about the worst thing that can happen to your health,” she said.

A notable change in this grant cycle is the amount provided to Vashon Community Care; it was considerably less this time than in recent years. Johnson attributed the decreased assistance to the new affiliation with Transforming Age and the fact that the facility is moving closer to sustainability.

The next round of grants will be in September, with applications due Sept. 1.

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