Parkinson’s Foundation Distributes $2M in Community Grant Programs

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by Mary Chapman |

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients in 42 states stand to benefit from $2 million in community grants the Parkinson’s Foundation has distributed this year to support a variety of health, wellness, and educational programs.

“Investing in community-based organizations allows the foundation to direct resources to meaningful PD programs and services locally,” said John L. Lehr, the foundation’s president and CEO, in a press release. “The community grants program has grown considerably over the last few years, allowing the foundation to reach even more people with PD and to have a lasting impact on their lives.”

The grants range from $10,000 to the community-grant maximum of $25,000. For this round, the grants, as part of the foundation’s efforts to help those with the progressive neurodegenerative disorder live better, are focused on programs that educate, offer Parkinson’s-specific exercise, support new patients, and address mental health issues.

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“The support we’ve received from the Parkinson’s Foundation for our “What’s Up, Doc?” program has enabled us to have high-touch opportunities within the first year following diagnosis,” said Gil Kim of the Metro-Jackson Parkinson’s Group, Jackson, Mississippi. “Early intervention, education, and inclusion in our community will enable those who are newly diagnosed to live a better life with the disease.”

Other grants will go to programs such as PWR!Connect, a pilot Parkinson’s-specific exercise program designed to support the Hispanic population in Tucson, Arizona. Exercise has been shown to benefit those with Parkinson’s not only with their mental health, but by maintaining and improving mobility, coordination, balance, and the ability to perform day-to-day activities.

Another grantee is a Rogue Physical Therapy & Wellness program in Fountain Valley, California that aims to improve the lives of newly diagnosed women in Orange County through exercise, education, and community support.

Recipients also include a Parkinson’s outreach program at the University of Florida geared toward African Americans in Florida’s Alachua County. In Illinois, grantees include a Motivate Through Music! program offered by NeuroHealth Music Therapy. Researchers have been evaluating whether a certain kind of rehabilitation therapy — called neurologic music therapy — can help Parkinson’s patients recover fine motor skills.

Since 2011, the nonprofit organization has invested some $9.4 million in 716 community-based programs. Last year, the foundation awarded 143 grants totsling $2.2 million.

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