By Julie Huss
---- — Local nonprofit groups and other community organizations got a big financial boost from a longtime supporter.
The Alexander Eastman Foundation awarded $498,813 in grant money to groups serving Derry, Londonderry, Windham, Chester, Sandown and Hampstead.
The foundation awards the money every year to support healthcare, mental health, dental care, developmental and rehabilitative services, education, nutrition, and continuing education of health professionals.
One local organization reaping grant awards is Community Caregivers of Greater Derry, a group that works to help elderly and disabled remain independent in their homes. Caregivers got $17,500 in funding.
Caregivers’ Executive Director Cindee Tanuma said Alexander-Eastman is a good partnership.
“You can lean on them for advice, inspiration and strategic help,” Tanuma said. “They challenge you to be the best version of yourself and their reporting process holds you accountable and help you recognize the work that you have accomplished.”
Another Derry facility, The Upper Room, was awarded $30,000 in grant funding.
Executive director Kimberly Bavaro said the money is a critical resource for many nonprofit groups.
“To my knowledge, they are the only foundation that focuses exclusively on the health and well-being of the greater Derry community,” Bavaro said. “As such, they have been a cornerstone of support for The Upper Room and a steadfast partner in helping us make a difference for children and families.”
That support comes, Bavaro said, when times are difficult and budgets are tight.
Alexander Eastman has a long history.
Dr. Harrison Alexander was a Derry dentist. He died during the Great Depression and left money to the town of Derry to help create a community hospital.
When another town benefactor, Mrs. Charles Hood, also left her grandfather Benjamin Eastman’s ancestral home to the town, the Alexander-Eastman Hospital effort began.
The hospital opened in 1934, operating as a community facility for 48 years. The hospital eventually became Parkland Medical Center.
Since then, the Alexander-Eastman Foundation continues to support health-related efforts and other community-based actions in the area.
Other groups and nonprofit groups supported by Alexander-Eastman funding, include Greater Derry Oral Health Collaborative Corporation, $108,971 to fund elementary and middle school oral health programs; Child and Family Services, $9,100 to support 12 children attending Camp Spaulding; Copper Cannon Camp, $6,000 to send youth to camp.
Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County earned $12,197, to provide safe shelter, meals and case management; $7,000 to fund Friends RSVP program offering health care, food, health education and prevention measures for seniors and families; Gateways Community Service, $10,000 for Partners in Health Flex Funds for families; Greater Derry Community Health Services, $35,000 for the Be-Well behavioral health program; NH Catholic Charities, $15,000 for food purchased by the NH Food Bank to make available to local food pantries.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, $25,000 to support reproductive health care for low-income people; Rockingham Nutrition and Meals on Wheels, $10,000 to support preparation, serving and delivery of nutritious meals to clients; Sonshine Soup Kitchen, $5,000; and Vintage Grace, $18,045 to support Saturday and Sunday hours for the medical cay program in Derry.