Victory (Fund) over chronic diseasesA new foundation seeks to find solutions for chronic health issues in Northeastern Minnesota communities.
By: Tom Olsen, Lake County News Chronicle
A new foundation seeks to find solutions for chronic health issues in Northeastern Minnesota communities.
The Victory Fund, a $5 million foundation based in Duluth, will fund programs and initiatives promoting healthy lifestyle choices and innovations in healthcare.
“Chronic diseases are the focus, but until we have a response from people looking for help, we don’t know where it will go,” said the fund’s board chair Karen Erickson of Two Harbors.
Funding will likely go toward treating and solving diseases like diabetes, obesity and chemical dependency. Groups interested in receiving funding will have to go through an application process and grants will be issued quarterly and annually.
The Victory Fund will provide a large grant about once a year, Erickson said, along with several smaller ones throughout the year.
“There’s no set limit,” she said. “We want to be flexible.”
In addition, the foundation will help coordinate local efforts to fight chronic disease and offer two scholarships for Lake County students going into healthcare fields, Erickson said.
But the goal is about far more than just money, the fund’s leaders say.
“We’re not here simply to be a checkbook,” said Kathy Heimbach, the foundation’s executive director, in a statement last week. “We’re here to convene the physical and intellectual resources that will serve those who suffer from chronic disease, as well as to provide a wealth of information in regard to their health. Because when people begin to take better care of themselves, chronic disease as we know it would cease to exist.”
The foundation was formed by the former board of the FirstSolutions (formerly FirstPlan of Minnesota). The HMO, the first in the state of Minnesota, was recently disbanded due to economic conditions and the Victory Fund was created.
The fund’s endowment comes from FirstSolutions’ reserves as well as the sale of Superior Health Clinics and Pharmacies in Duluth and Two Harbors. Donations are also being accepted to contribute to the fund.
“We’re here to make a measurable difference in the quality of people’s lives,” Heimbach said. “And by funding community-focused disease programs that can be replicated in other communities, we’re going to help people in northeastern Minnesota live healthier, more comfortable lives – either free of chronic disease or in control of the symptoms.”
Applications are already being accepted online at the Victory Fund’s website, www.thevictoryfund.org/.