Community Impact

Legacy donates funds to Marion County partners

August 16, 2021

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“You can’t address serious issues like mental health and diabetes if you don’t first support things like basic health, food, and shelter,” says Legacy Health’s Sarah Brewer. Brewer is Legacy’s Vice President for Medicaid Services.

That’s why the last funds distributed by Legacy through Willamette Valley Community Health (WVCH) addressed enduring critical needs for Marion County’s Medicaid population, among the county’s most vulnerable residents. Legacy Health delivered more than $665,000 in funds to access behavioral health services, support housing stability, and build vaccine confidence in the county’s Latinx and migrant farmworker communities.

Eight different nonprofits in Marion County received those funds from Legacy, including:

  • Catholic Community Services—St. Joseph Shelter
  • Family Building Blocks
  • Farmworkers Housing Development Coalition
  • Liberty House
  • Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action
  • Options Counseling
  • Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN)
  • Silverton Area Community Aid (SACA)

The funds amount to a poignant farewell to nearly a decade-long run by WVCH. The organization dissolved in 2019. That meant the organization’s initial investments, with interest, were going to be returned to the organization’s founding members. Legacy is one of those members. With one more chance to give money, Legacy followed the spirit of WVCH’s mission: To improve the lives of Marion County’s most vulnerable Medicaid recipients.

Broadly, the funds to the eight nonprofits support the advancement of equity within underserved populations and communities. They also address gaps in social services and provide access to funding that might not be available because of complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legacy donates funds to support Marion County

"You can’t address serious issues like mental health and diabetes if you don’t first support things like basic health, food, and shelter." 

- Sarah Brewer


More pointedly, Brewer wanted this last opportunity to represent an even more aggressive approach to addressing critical social needs.

“When our patients frequently utilize emergency care or other higher cost access points, often the underlying need for the visit is unable to be fully addressed as it is social in nature,” says Brewer. “Our providers and care management teams work tirelessly to connect patients to appropriate resources.  We are grateful to work in partnership with community-based organizations focused on our patients’ social needs.”

The funds for the St. Joseph Shelter, for example, will be used to provide housing for victims of domestic abuse. These victims are usually women and children. Families now have the comfort of a safe physical space to make important decisions and to hopefully move forward with their lives. It may even be a big step towards stopping the cycle of abuse.

Similarly, the funds to Family Building Blocks will provide for an on-site clinical social worker. Previously, people had to be referred to outside clinicians—thus losing valuable momentum for treatment. Now, the nonprofit can help people on-site immediately, without waiting.

For Brewer, the eight grants are a way of exploring new ways of using resources for the future.

“Legacy’s commitment to working with our community-based partners is fundamental to building a strong, cohesive healthcare and support network for our patients. These types of investments allow services to be more present in the community. And they’re necessary for the future of a modern healthcare company, too.”

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