Foundation grants to help fight chronic diseaseA foundation that has its roots in Minnesota’s first health management organization is taking on chronic disease in Northeastern Minnesota.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
A foundation that has its roots in Minnesota’s first health management organization is taking on chronic disease in Northeastern Minnesota.
The Victory Fund, created from the former FirstSolutions, has a $5 million endowment from which yearly and quarterly grants will be provided, said Kathy Heimbach, executive director. A single annual grant will range from $50,000 to $100,000. The quarterly grants will be for smaller amounts.
To receive a grant, a project will have to target chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity or drug and alcohol addiction, Heimbach said.
Although the fund was announced to the public on Thursday, it actually was created Jan. 1, said Karen Erickson, board president. That was when FirstSolutions was split into the nonprofit First Community Health Foundation — the formal name for the Victory Fund — and the Bridgeview Co., a for-profit business that processes medical claims. Heimbach leads both enterprises from an office in the Paulucci Building in Canal Park.
FirstSolutions was the corporate name of an organization that had a number of businesses, Heimbach said. Its primary business was FirstPlan of Minnesota, which was founded in 1944. When it ceased business as a health plan, it was the oldest remaining HMO in the country, Heimbach said.
The $5 million endowment came from FirstPlan’s required business reserves and from the sale last year of three pharmacies and two clinics to Essentia Health, Heimbach said.
The foundation began accepting applications this week.