Foundation frees up cash, charities awarded funding

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Three Mahoning County charities are getting some much-needed financial help thanks to a foundation with its roots in the former Western Reserve Care System and Forum Health.

One of those that will benefit from the donation is the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic.

In his 45 years of addiction counseling, Neil Kennedy director Jerry Carter said the heroin epidemic sweeping Ohio is worse than anything he has ever seen.

“We are getting people much earlier in age, younger in age, I should say and earlier in the process because the addiction process is so rapid,” said Carter.

Right now, the clinic is treating about 500 clients annually, with nearly that many on a waiting list for a year or more. To ease the strain, the clinic will be getting $25,000 from the Western Reserve Health Foundation to help build a home on Youngstown’s South Side where addicts can stay during the early stages of their outpatient recovery.

“As they move into that facility, it frees up beds for people to get the detox care they need,” said Carter.

The award was one of three presented by the foundation and the first since directors were released two years ago from bankruptcy as part of Forum Health’s Chapter 11 case. The others were awarded to Goodwill Industries and the American Red Cross, who each received $10,000.

Prior to going into bankruptcy, directors had pledged to use the foundation’s assets to cover Forum’s outstanding debts, but the eventual sale to Community Health Systems made that unnecessary.

“The debt was able to be paid through the purchase price, and it relieved both the Western Reserve Health Foundation and the Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation from that liability,” said Foundation Chairman Phil Dennison.

Now with $13 million in endowed funding, the foundation’s directors plan to start collecting proposals for their next round of grants in August.

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