By Lissa Capobianco
With the Bradley Henry Barnes & Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust embarking on a new direction for Southington, the Main Street Community Foundation awarded $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. During the first year of the grant’s new direction, the foundation has given awards for projects that benefit the health and wellness of the Southington community overall. A celebration of the latest grants awards under this new focus was held, appropriately enough at the Barnes Museum, which has 17 rooms filled with personal belongings of three generations of the Bradley and Barnes families.
“Having this here is just another way that Bradley Barnes has planned his legacy,” said Curator Marie Secondo. “To have these grantees be awarded under Bradley’s roof is mind-boggling.”
For the Southington Community YMCA, receiving a grant of $300,000 to install an elevator that will make the pool more accessible, serves as stepping stone for the non-profit organization to continue its current capital campaign project.
The capital improvements at the YMCA began last year with the parking lot expansion and the addition of new lockers. The capital campaign also involves improving the pool, which is more than 45 years old.
John Myers, the executive director of the YMCA, said this grant from the Barnes Trust will help the YMCA make the pool area more accommodating for members with physical disabilities.
“It made my year—it was unbelievable,” Myers said of the grant from the Barnes Trust. “It is a real validation of the work we are doing in the community.”
Central Connecticut Senior Health Services (CCSHS) also received a grant of $185,000 to implement a new electronic-based medical records system in its Southington senior communities including Mulberry Gardens, The Orchards at Southington, the Southington Care Center, and the Connecticut Center for Healthy Aging.
Trish Walden, the executive vice president of CCSHS, said the new medical records system will help the nonprofit organization “consider the needs of its residents and clients as they migrate through all different levels of care.”
“We were just thrilled,” Walden said of the grant, adding that the new system will interface seamlessly with all Hartford HealthCare system entities, including VNA Health Care, MidState Medical Center and the Hospital of Central Connecticut. “This solution allows us to support people at all stages of their lives.”
Julie Norko, the director of Development and Philanthropy at CCSHS, added the health care experience will also improve for Southington seniors, as the electronic-based medical records system will eliminate the duplication of data and errors as well as save time for providers.
“The potential for that is really exciting,” Norko said.
Established in 1973 at the Southington Bank & Trust Company, the Bradley Henry Barnes and Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust currently holds assets at just over $18 million. In 2004, Main Street Community Foundation became the steward of the trust, which was created upon the death of Bradley Barnes. Bradley’s will called for annual income generated by the funds to benefit the Bradley Memorial Hospital for new capital projects, provided that the hospital remained independent. When the hospital became The Hospital of Central Connecticut, and was no longer an independent entity, the trust language allowed for income from the district toe directed to nonprofits for the “benefit and betterment” of Southington.
The Bradley campus did receive a grant of $150,000 for a portable echocardiograph machine with a vascular tube.
“We are very thankful,” said Wendy Lux, the executive director of development at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. “We feel that we are going to carry on the legacy of Bradley Barnes.”
Justin Lundbye, M.D., the chief of cardiology for the Bradley Campus and The Hospital of Central Connecticut, said the echocardiogram machine is a tool that cardiologists use to take pictures of the heart using ultrasound waves. The portable one that the grant will fund is mobile, so it can be packed up in a suitcase, making the machine more flexible and accessible for patients. The new machine also will have a vascular probe, which measures the degree of plaque in arteries.
“We’re truly thrilled,” Lundbye said. “It brings the machine to the patient.”