VNA receives Snowball grant |

VNA receives Snowball grant

Funding will help organization maintain services in 2010

Jack Weinstein

— The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association got some much-needed assistance Tuesday.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. presented the VNA with the second annual $25,000 Snowball Community Grant during a reception at The Steam­boat Grand. The grant was es­­tablished last year to replace the annual Ski Corp. Snowball dinner and auction, which raised more than $775,000 for local organizations in its 28 years.

Lisa Brown, the VNA's director of development, said Monday that the grant would be used to support women's health and family planning. She said it would allow the VNA to continue providing health services to women and children who can't afford them.

"Essentially, it's keeping us from reducing our hours or capping the number of patients we'll be able to see," Brown said.

She said the grant is especially important given the economy. The VNA receives its funding from patient revenue, private sources and foundations, and local, state and federal governments.

Funding in 2009 was down 30 to 50 percent, depending on the source, Brown said.

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"Usually, they don't all go down at the same time, but that's what happened," she said.

Brown said individual support and funding from local governments this year has been good but that assistance from the state, which funds the VNA's public health programs, is expected to decline during the next several years. Colorado is working to address a budget deficit exceeding $1 billion.

Before the reception Tuesday, Ski Corp. President and CEO Chris Diamond said a committee evaluated local organizations that benefit Northwest Colorado to select this year's grant recipient. He said the VNA exemplified the type of organization the grant is intended to assist.

"They have a long-standing tradition of excellent service to the community," he said. "That's probably the most important criteria."

The services that will benefit from the grant include women's health and family planning; the nurse family partnership; the women, infants and children nutrition program; the health care program for children with special needs; immunizations; prenatal care; and enrollment and eligibility for Medicaid, Children's Health Plan and the Northwest Colorado Com­munity Health Center, Brown said.

"I can't say what a positive start to the year it was to receive this," she said. "Our goal is to expand, not to reduce."

Also during Tuesday's reception, Advocates Building Peaceful Communities Exec­utive Director Diane Moore was recognized with the Hazie Werner Award for Excellence. The Ski Corp. award is given annually to a woman who excels in her field. Moore helped start Advocates in 1983 and has led the organization since shortly after its inception.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail