St. David’s Health Foundation announced it has awarded $28 million in grant funding to local and grassroots organizations that provide health equity services.

The foundation works with St. David’s HealthCare to invest in Central Texas communities in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.

A total of 62 grants were awarded in 2022 through August across 48 local and grassroots organizations that operate in Central Texas. The grants will primarily be used to support children and families to increase health, economic well-being, and family resilience, according to the foundation.

St. David’s has also prioritized grant funds to ensure that more people have access to medical and behavioral care through safety net clinics, support systems to address housing and homelessness, and reinforce its commitment to accessing women’s health services and health care in the community. Finding Home ATX is one of the recipients of grant money to be used for addressing homelessness in Texas. Grants have also been given to LifeWorks, Austin Community Foundation, UpTogether and Foundation Communities that work to combat homelessness.

Regan Gruber Moffitt, vice president of community investments at St. David's Health Foundation, said St. David’s works with grant recipients to help the homeless community.

“So we've invested over $10 million in the affordable housing continuum and system infrastructure,” Moffitt said. “So it's all across the spectrum of folks facing challenges with housing, so we help unhoused individuals find a way to secure emergency shelter.”

Moffitt said St. David’s focuses on five areas: resilient children, healthy women and girls, older adults aging in place, clinics as community hubs and thriving rural communities.

“So across each of these priority areas, we work with organizations that are really leading the work to drive change. And so you know, many of these grant aid grantees have been longtime co-collaborators of ours,” Moffitt said. “We also invite new partners to ensure that our funding reaches across our five counties and across all the communities that face barriers to thriving.”

Lifeworks in Austin is one of the grant recipients. CEO Susan McDowell said the organization's mission is to advocate for youth and families who are working toward stable lives. To support that mission, Lifeworks provides programming in the areas of housing, mental health and workforce development.

McDowell said the funds from the St. David’s grant will be used to support a range of services for the Austin community.

“The funds that we will receive from St David’s in this grant cycle support our work with youth who are exiting homelessness in the housing, and additionally, the supportive services that help them be sustainable, like counseling and workforce development and women's reproductive health,” McDowell said.

McDowell said 76% of the youth experiencing homelessness in Austin have been in foster care or juvenile justice. Lifeworks works with Rapid Rehousing in Austin to help the youth find housing and other wraparound services.

“So that wraparound support can include counseling; it can include a focus on their health; it can include case management, job training, all of those things that will wrap around an individual who's experienced trauma and challenges and help them kind of pave a pathway to self-reliance,” McDowell said.