By Lisa Capobianco
The Bradley Henry Barnes & Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust has embarked on a new direction for Southington, as the Main Street Community Foundation announced the awarding of $635,000 in grants to three local non-profits.
The change moves the trust away from a focus solely on what was once Southington’s Bradley Memorial Hospital to a still specific direction but one with a broader reach. For the first year of the grant’s new incarnation, the foundation will make awards for projects that have an impact on the health and wellness of the Southington community at large.
Southington Community YMCA will receive a grant of $300,000 from the fund to install an elevator that will allow members to have access to the swimming pool. Central Connecticut Senior Health Services has received a grant of $185,000 to implement a new electronic-based medical records system. The Bradley Campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut (which was once Bradley Memorial) will use the third grant of $150,000 for a portable echocardiograph machine with a vascular tube.
“We’re thrilled with the selection of those three projects,” said Susan Sadecki, the president & CEO of the foundation. “We felt that they best met what we were looking to do in this transitional year of grant making from the trust.”
Established in 1973 at the Southington Bank & Trust Company, the Bradley Henry Barnes and Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust currently has assets at just over $18 million. In 2004, the trust was transferred to the Main Street Community Foundation.
The trust, created upon the death of Bradley Barnes, originally called for annual income generated by the funds to benefit the Bradley Memorial Hospital for new capital projects, provided that the hospital remained independent. Although the hospital became The Hospital of Central Connecticut, the trust language stated that income would be directed to nonprofits for the “benefit and betterment” of Southington.
“He [Bradley Barnes] was very clear that if the hospital was no longer independent, then the money was going to be used very differently,” said William Tracy Jr., the chair of the trust advisory committee and the former chair of the community foundation. “I think he kind of saw ahead of other people where health care might be headed in the future.”
“His whole purpose for wanting to leave the money solely to the hospital was to be sure that the people of Southington receive the highest quality of health care within their local community—they wouldn’t have to travel outside of Southington,” Sadecki added.
The community foundation chose the three nonprofits as recipients of the grant after reflecting and considering the results of a study that focused on the healthcare needs of Southington. The study helped identify areas that would benefit from trust grants. With the results of the health study, members of the trust’s advisory committee and the foundation directors worked closely together to sketch out a one-year “transition” grants program. The Main Street Community Foundation then called for the trust’s first-ever request for proposals, choosing nonprofits that have already focused on four areas pinpointed in the study: accessibility and affordability of healthcare, the health needs of an aging population, the need for services and programs that address substance abuse and mental health needs, as well as community health and wellness.
“The first thing we wanted to do was to be thoughtful about that process—we wanted to look at where this resource may be best put to use in the community,” Tracy said. “We also wanted to be sure we were looking at that trust in a way that we think Bradley Barnes would have used that money had he been alive.”
The study, published in September, also addressed other community-identified health and health care needs, including a call for more education about existing services and better integrated health care, in particular the integration of primary and behavioral health.
“We think we can dive a little deeper into these few areas of the study,” said Sadecki, adding the foundation plans to use the study as a resource for future grants from the trust to nonprofits.
Representatives from the foundation and the trust emphasized that, as before, the Bradley trust is a fund that will continue on in perpetuity, whether or not it is tied to the old Bradley Memorial Hospital.
“This is an annual process—this isn’t a one-time $635,000 grant,” Tracy added. “This kind of funding is available year after year after year.”