Tracy Souza: Local nurse family partnership gets a big boost

The one thing that philanthropists have in common is the desire to do good. As a philanthropic professional, I have always harbored the dream of doing something great. Kind of like the philanthropist who paid to paint lines along the right-hand side of roads to “prove” that those lines can save lives. Philanthropic dollars invested up front to prove the value of a great idea can beget more money to keep that idea persisting in the future.

The Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) in Bartholomew County is a great idea that with a bit of investment has attracted more philanthropic resources. This 45-year-old national program pairs an RN with first-time, Medicaid-supported moms in the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. A nurse is assigned to a mom for the duration of the pregnancy, delivery and first two years of the child’s life. The measurable outcomes from this program prove wide-ranging benefits from better maternal and child health to improved educational achievements and a reduction in arrests.

In 2017, Heritage Fund and Columbus Regional Health Foundation decided to invest in starting NFP in Bartholomew County. The nurse family partner filled her caseload of 25 women in just five to six months instead of the anticipated six to nine months, quickly demonstrating the local need. In 2022, Bartholomew County will add a second nurse, doubling the number of women and children who will have improved opportunities for success.

The results achieved by the NFP program locally were enough to attract the attention of a generous local philanthropic couple, who agreed to grow an endowment that would provide a second nurse in five years.

The announced endowment gave Goodwill Industries, overseers of the NFP in Indiana, enough confidence to immediately support that second nurse until the endowment at CRH Foundation kicks in.

The NFP story in Bartholomew County is unique and pretty great! Heritage Fund, CRH Foundation, Goodwill Industries and local philanthropists Tom and Tina Vujovich have established a high bar for future philanthropic projects.

Philanthropy can lift up a great idea like NFP and make it a local reality.

Tracy Souza is president and CEO of Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. Contact the fund at 812-376-7772 to learn more about how they can help you do “Your Philanthropy. Your Way.” Send comments to [email protected]