Merging Agencies to Advance Disease Prevention in Niagara County
Special Projects Fund
October 9, 2009
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In 2009, two organizations in Niagara County—Center for Joy, which serves vulnerable children and families, and Niagara County AIDS Task Force—were struggling to weather difficult economic times and sustain the funding necessary to provide vital services to community members.
To save these two organizations, the Health Association of Niagara County (HANCI) proposed merging Center for Joy and Niagara County AIDS Task Force with its own operations. Through these potential consolidations, HANCI hoped to strengthen its disease prevention program; expand its reach and influence; garner positive publicity; and create new fundraising and development opportunities. The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) awarded HANCI a grant to support efforts to strengthen its services by merging with Center for Joy and Niagara County AIDS Task Force.
Areas of Niagara County are highly impoverished and demonstrate high rates of chronic illness. Niagara County’s rates of diabetes and hospitalizations for diabetes exceed those of New York State and the nation. It also has high rates of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. While HANCI has weathered the recent economic crisis relatively well, other agencies in Niagara County have suffered. NYSHealth support allowed HANCI to preserve and operate two vital programs whose survival was otherwise unlikely.