Couple donates $1.5 million to CRH program

A large donation from a Columbus couple will help kickstart the expansion of a local program that provides support for first-time, at-risk mothers during pregnancy.

The Columbus Regional Health Foundation announced Christine and Tom Vujovich’s gift of $1.5 million will establish the Nurse-Family Partnership Endowment Fund. The fund will be dedicated to support the local Nurse-Family Partnership program facilitated by CRH Healthy Communities. The gift will also encourage and enable the NFP program to be expanded within five years.

“The NFP nurse is a trusted healthcare resource embedded in our community whose influence can be felt beyond those directly cared for by the nurse as the supported mother shares her experience with friends,” the couple said in an official statement.

NFP is an evidence-based home visitation program that connects a registered nurse with first-time at-risk mothers and families to provide support from the pre-natal period through a child’s second birthday.

“Over 40 years of evidence in other communities shows that families that engage with an NFP nurse have better maternal and child health over their lifetimes, higher educational attainment, lower rates of substance use disorder, lower smoking rates, and lower incarceration rates,” said CRH Foundation officials.

Bartholomew County is currently served by one NFP registered nurse; the goal of the couple’s gift is to help the foundation increase this number.

Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County has partnered with the CRH Foundation for the six-year pilot NFP project. The pilot allowed the hospital foundation to share its progress and make the case for long-term, donor-funded support through an endowment fund.

“Our community continues to benefit immensely from the pilot created through the partnership with the Heritage Fund as well as now through the generosity of the Vujoviches,” said CRH Foundation President Julie Abedian.

“As a nationwide program, Nurse Family Partnership has been changing the lives of vulnerable new mothers, their children and families for many years. This endowment fund will significantly boost an already great local program. We are hopeful that our partnership model of a hospital foundation, community foundation and generous philanthropist can be replicated to spread NFP nurses through the state and nation.”