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SwedishAmerican's Neighborhood Revitalization Efforts Featured in National Report
April 19, 2013
Medical research continues to affirm the connection between a community’s socioeconomic status, environmental conditions, and its health. SwedishAmerican Health System's neighborhood revitalization efforts were recently featured in "Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission," a report published in March of 2013 by The Democracy Collaborative at the University Of Maryland.
Through the efforts of the SwedishAmerican Foundation, the health system's revitalization program originated in 2000. Initially focusing on a six-block area around the SwedishAmerican Hospital campus, the program quickly expanded in scope, impacting a larger, 81-block area. Home ownership levels in the area subsequently increased from 35 percent to more than 50 percent.
Since 2000 the Foundation has constructed 26 new homes, renovated or improved more than 100 existing properties and renovated a two-building, 24-unit neighborhood apartment complex. It also has financed the building of a new playground and two neighborhood parks, provided more than 75 “50/50” matching grants to neighborhood homeowners for home improvement projects, and established an employee homeownership assistance program for homes bought within the target area.
The SwedishAmerican Foundation also has developed innovative partnerships, including an initiative in which students from Rockford East High School and Lidköping, Sweden have collaborated on the construction of several new homes. One of these joint international construction projects is currently underway at Benton and Adams streets, near the hospital campus, and will be completed by this fall.
The SwedishAmerican Foundation is currently evaluating additional neighborhood improvement projects to tackle this summer. Possibilities include the construction of new homes, the removal of dangerous properties, the creation of additional "green spaces" and the installation of new tennis or basketball courts.
"SwedishAmerican's inclusion in The Democracy Collaborative's report is a testament to the work that non-profit hospitals like ours are doing to benefit the communities they serve," concludes Executive Vice President John Mecklenburg. "Moving forward, our organization is committed to improving the strength, health and vitality of our neighborhood and the larger community."
An electronic copy of the "Hospitals Building Healthier Communities" report can be downloaded for free at www.community-wealth.org/hospitals.
About SwedishAmerican Health System
SwedishAmerican is a not-for-profit, locally governed healthcare system, headquartered in Rockford, Illinois. The health system is comprised of two hospitals, 30 clinics, a home health care agency, and a foundation. Through an exclusive affiliation with UW Health, SwedishAmerican will soon expand world-class cancer services across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin when it opens a new cancer center in October 2013.
About the SwedishAmerican Foundation
Established in 1981, the SwedishAmerican Foundation raises, invests and distributes funds for the benefit of SwedishAmerican Health System and its mission to take care of the Rockford community. This includes SwedishAmerican Hospital, its clinics and the neighborhood surrounding the hospital.
For further information, contact:
Paul Greenland, 961-2437