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Home | Tag Archives: Paso del Norte Health Foundation

Tag Archives: Paso del Norte Health Foundation

Op-Ed: El Paso is open – here’s how you can stay safe

It has been more than 10 weeks since our country issued “stay at home” orders and businesses across the city, state and nation shut their doors.

Now, as Texas begins to lift these orders and enter a phased approach for reopening, businesses have changed their operations to prioritize the health and safety of our community. The question on everyone’s mind is, “is it safe for us to venture out again?”

Simply put, we need to be taking into consideration the role we all play – the role of the consumer.

As part of a group advising Dr. John Zerwas, a member of Governor Abbott’s Strike Force to Open Texas, I know El Paso is taking a slower approach to reopen businesses and the workplace as compared to other cities. However, now we are at the point where businesses are reopening at 50% capacity.

It is up to each of us to protect our community, and simple measures can assure we protect ourselves and our neighbors.

As a consumer, education in our current environment is key. The most common term you may hear now is the phrase PPE (personal protective equipment). It’s important for consumers to know that PPE refers to equipment such as N-95 masks that are only recommended for frontline medical workers, such as those who are in direct contact with individuals presenting symptoms of COVID-19. Sourcing of PPE should be prioritized for clinical use. For more information on PPE and best practices visit this website.

For consumers, face coverings are recommended, and include disposable masks, cloth masks, bandanas or other similar types of face masks. These face coverings are worn to protect those surrounding the wearer. By wearing a face cover, you are doing your part to protect others around you, including those who may be vulnerable to more severe outcomes should they become infected with the novel coronavirus.

Until we know more about how the disease spreads, covering the nose and mouth is an easy way to minimize health risk to those around you.

What else can we do? First, do your homework on the establishment. Know, based on where you are going, the recommendations for business operations during this time. Some businesses will have different restrictions based on the level of customer interactions. A restaurant and a retail store, for example, may have different ways to operate while protecting their consumers. Be aware of the workplace safeguards that have already been put in place.

Practice social distancing, even if you don’t think it is needed. As we adapt to our new normal, respect is key, and remembering that every person you see may have someone in their household, or life, that may be at greater health risk.

Surface barriers and high-touch surface areas are critical, too. We don’t live in a sterile environment and wiping surfaces – such as counters and registers – is important. Consumers should be aware of high-touch surfaces as they enter places of business.

Understanding ways to minimize exposure and reduce risks is important. If you are going to a bank, or somewhere where you need to sign a lot of documents, be aware of touchpoints. Bringing your own pen and limiting physical interaction with employees will help reduce exposure, for example.

The economy will begin to rebuild, and consumers can still play a role in supporting businesses while staying healthy. Just remember to follow the safeguards put in place: cover your face, practice social distancing, and continue washing your hands frequently.

Together, we can start to rebuild our health and our economy.

In an effort to ensure the Paso del Norte region has the most up-to-date information and resources on COVID-19, the City of El Paso and the region’s two leading health foundations, the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, have partnered with Battelle, a company that has been on the frontlines of COVID-19 response efforts across the nation.

All information for consumers, businesses and our community’s effort to combat this national pandemic can be found at via this link.

Author: Kristina D. Mena, MSPH, PhD

Dr. Mena is the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, El Paso Campus Dean and a member of the COVID-19 Enhanced Regional Public Health Partnership


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Health Foundation awards grants to purchase masks for medical providers, produce masks for homeless shelters

On Tuesday, officials with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation announced the approval of a $40,000 grant to the El Paso County Medical Society for the purchase of 24,000 N95 masks for private practice physicians and nonprofit healthcare providers in El Paso County, and has authorized the purchase of protective equipment for providers in Ciudad Juarez as well.

With a limited supply of government-funded personal protective equipment for a broad cross-section of physicians and healthcare providers, this grant would support local practitioners as they care for patients, including those who are confirmed or potentially COVID-19 positive.

“Outpatient physicians are the first line of healthcare providers to see the majority of coronavirus patients who are not sick enough to require hospital care, but maybe just as infectious,” said Dr. Alison Day, President, El Paso County Medical Society. “By keeping more clinical staff infection-free, there is increased medical staffing capacity in El Paso that may be required in a surge situation.”

The El Paso County Medical Society will purchase and distribute mask to local physicians and nonprofit providers on a priority basis.

“It is extremely important to have the protective equipment needed to keep everyone in the community safe. The Health Foundation has mobilized resources to ensure that organizations and residents on both sides of the border have access to critical information and supports as the pandemic reaches our region,” said Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Paso del Norte Community Foundation.

“We have established the information hub and El Paso COVID-19 Response Fund to provide additional resources for our binational community

The Health Foundation has also granted $7,500 to the Rescue Mission of El Paso to purchase supplies for the production and distribution of hand-made masks for staff and volunteers of homeless shelters across El Paso County working on the front lines to serve the most vulnerable in our community.

Texan by Nature Announces 2020 Conservation Wranglers; Paso del Norte Trail honored

On Wednesday morning, officials with Texan by Nature (TxN), a Texas-led conservation non-profit, announced the selection of the 2020 Conservation Wranglers – including the new Paso del Norte Trail in El Paso.

“Every year, Texan by Nature shines a light on conservation stewards and their efforts to take care of the state I’m proud to call home,” shared former First Lady and Founder of Texan by Nature, Mrs. Laura Bush. “The Conservation Wrangler program proves that collaborative partnerships in conservation yield great benefits for Texas and its people. Congratulations to the six 2020 Conservation Wranglers and thank you for the terrific example you’ve set for the rest of us.”

The organization’s Conservation Wrangler program recognizes six innovative conservation projects across the state of Texas for their science-based and results driven approach to conservation along with their ability to positively impact people, prosperity, and natural resources.

The 2020 Conservation Wranglers will work with the Texan by Nature team, receiving 12-18 months of dedicated program support and tailored resources.

“Representing every corner of Texas, the pool of Conservation Wrangler applications this year was beyond impressive,” said Joni Carswell, CEO and President of TxN. “It is through invaluable conservation initiatives like these that our Conservation Wrangler program creates measurable and meaningful impact. While 2020 is vastly different than we imagined even a month ago, our work continues as we are inspired by our Conservation Partners, these projects, and the need for nature as a fundamental piece of our health. We look forward to sharing Conservation Wrangler learnings, best practices, and opportunities to scale conservation efforts in even BIGGER and BOLDER ways in 2020 and beyond.”

Texan by Nature will recognize the 2020 Conservation Wranglers on October 27, 2020, in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

This diverse set of projects impacts land, water, habitat, and more, spanning all 254 counties and all 12 ecological regions of the Lone Star State.

The six selected 2020 Conservation Wranglers include:

Paso del Norte Trail

Accessible trails connect people to nature, positively affecting their health and promoting a conservation mindset. The Paso del Norte Trail will provide greater opportunities for walking, hiking, and biking for users of all abilities to connect in the ecologically and culturally diverse border region of Texas.

This project is a community-driven, collaborative effort to develop a county-wide trail in El Paso County. The goal of Paso del Norte is to create a regionally significant landmark that promotes active transportation, preserves the history and culture of the region, highlights the Rio Grande river, supports economic development and ecotourism, provides educational and volunteer opportunities, and makes healthy living the easy choice for the unique, binational community of El Paso.

The roughly 68–mile span of the Paso del Norte (PDN) Trail is divided into five distinct districts, each broadly defined by their unique geographical, historical, and cultural context, as well as various amenities and attractions that help define them.

Partners for this project include the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, City of El Paso, County of El Paso, El Paso County Water Improvement District #1, El Paso Water, Creosote Collaborative, Sites Southwest, and Alta Planning & Design.

Respect Big Bend

Energy development in Far West Texas is accelerating. All forms of energy – oil, gas, wind and solar alike – are central to the Texas economy. To balance energy development with the need to conserve West Texas’ unique cultural and natural resources, the Respect Big Bend (RBB) Coalition was formed to bring together government, business, philanthropy, communities, landowners, and industry leaders in a regional planning process focused on responsible energy development. The Coalition was established with primary support from the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation and additional support from the Permian Basin Area Foundation, Meadows Foundation, and Still Water Foundation. Coalition partners include: Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, and the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT – Austin, and several others. The goals of RBB are to educate, inform, and provide resources to all stakeholders, develop a robust conservation plan, and garner support and acceptance of the plan.

Trinity Park Conservancy – Trinity River Conservation Corps

The Trinity River is the longest fully-contained river in the state of Texas, flowing through 18,000 square miles of watershed and five major ecoregions, supplying tens of millions of Texans with a reliable water source. Trinity Park Conservancy and Groundwork Dallas have partnered to develop a youth employment program focused on the stewardship of the Trinity River: Trinity River Conservation Corps.

The Corps program aims to enhance conservation efforts along the Trinity River Corridor, while providing education, service, and leadership opportunities to the next generation, with a focus on engaging youth from historically marginalized areas. The Corps will focus on projects such as stewardship of wetlands along the Trinity River that serve to mitigate flooding, along with projects in Harold Simmons Park, the Elm Fork, and the Great Trinity Forest.

Engagement of the community, business, and conservation partners through the Corps will help to develop a cultural model of stewardship throughout the Trinity River Corridor.

Texas Brigades

As families become more urban and less connected to our natural resources, conservation organizations must evolve and adapt to ensure they connect with younger generations on critical conservation issues. With a vision of creating “conservation leaders in every community,” Texas Brigades educates and empowers youth with leadership skills and knowledge in wildlife, fisheries, and land stewardship to become conservation ambassadors for a sustained natural resource legacy.

As Texas Brigades prepare to build on their legacy and plan for the future, organizational leadership is working on strategic planning, volunteer stewardship, and long-term data collection to ensure their programs meet the needs of Texas’s changing demographics.

Texas Brigades molds over 300 youth leaders each year with their Summer Camps and other programs, where participants have come from over 1,000 communities across Texas. Participants leave with a connection to the land, informed and ready to make conservation a life-long passion.

Exploration Green Conservancy

Every year, the Texas Gulf Coast is faced with damaging storm systems, costing Texas communities billions of dollars in repairs. Once completed, Exploration Green will provide stormwater detention for 500 million gallons of water, protecting over 2,000 nearby homes from seasonal flooding.

Exploration Green is a recreation area and nature preserve housed in a stormwater detention area in southeast Houston. This once defunct neighborhood golf course turned conservation area has plans to include native grasses, 5,000 native trees, 150,000 wetland plants, 40 acres of lakes, and six miles of high-quality trails for area residents.

Early phases of the project saved over 150 homes from flooding during Hurricane Harvey and completely mitigated flooding during 2019 Tropical Storm Imelda. In addition to stormwater relief, the conservation area improves water quality, provides carbon sequestration, and has doubled plant and bird diversity.

Exploration Green also brings in residents of all ages and economic status to utilize trails and attend weekly community events. The project is led by two primary partners, Clear Lake City Water Authority and Exploration Green Conservancy, and is supported by 30 additional partners from local businesses to conservation organizations.

Exploration Green is embraced by the community with over 800 volunteers helping the project.

Texas Children in Nature

Children who spend time in nature are healthier, happier and smarter. In 2010 the Texas Children in Nature Network (TCiN) was created to address the growing concern of the lack of nature in children’s lives. TCiN achieves its mission of connecting children with nature through regional collaboratives across the state – working with over 500 local and state partners in the health, education, community development and conservation fields.

TCiN serves as a statewide networking hub, participating in various statewide leadership teams, providing resources to encourage children and families to spend time in nature, and addressing pressing issues such as equity and access to the outdoors, community development and public health policy.

In 2020 TCiN will be celebrating its 10thanniversary with a statewide summit in December – Inspiring the Next Ten Years, during which TCiN will also be unveiling a new strategic plan.

The Texan by Nature 2020 Conservation Wranglers were selected, in part, based on the following criteria:

  • Texan-led conservation initiative
  • Benefits community by providing tangible returns for people, prosperity, and natural resources
  • Reaches new and diverse audiences
  • Science-based
  • Measurable process and conservation outcomes
  • Partnership between community, business, individuals, and conservation organizations

All will receive 12-18 months of tailored support and resources including:

  • Connections to technical expertise and industry support
  • Recognition and participation in annual Conservation Wrangler Summit and Celebration
  • Strategic planning, program evaluation, and assistance with stakeholder engagement
  • Amplification and marketing support for each individual initiative
  • Professional produced content and collateral cross-promotion via TxN channels including social media, newsletters, and website

Collective 2019 Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler Program Highlights:

  • People: TxN CW Projects impacted Texans across 54 counties (total of 111 since 2018)
  • Prosperity: $163.7 million in economic benefit
  • Natural Resources (Acreage): 14.6 million acres =8.5% of Texas’s 171.9 million acres
  • Natural Resources (Other): 1.2 million gallons of water conserved (El Paso Water), 4.5 million ducks (TPWP), 130 miles of contiguous river trail (Trinity Coalition), 240,000 Red Snapper (RGV Reef), 2,000ft of linear shoreline (Oyster Recycling), at least 450+ grassland bird species (GRIP)

Last year’s Conservation Wranglers included the El Paso Water – Certified Water Partner ProgramGalveston Bay Foundation – Oyster Shell RecyclingFriends of Rio Grande Valley ReefOaks and Prairies Joint Venture – Grassland Restoration Incentive ProgramDucks Unlimited – Texas Prairie Wetlands Project, and the Trinity Coalition – Trinity River Paddling Trail.

Increasing conservation investment across Texas and working to drive and replicate innovation, Texan by Nature connects conservation partners to the resources they need to achieve greater impact. For more information on TxN partnerships and programs, or to learn how to get involved, please visit

Fresh Start program connecting those in need with resources to address food insecurity

Individuals and families are among our region’s most vulnerable populations that find themselves without enough food to put on the table on a daily basis.

Food pantries and programs like the Kelly Center for Hunger Relief and its Fresh Start program are having a direct impact on combating food insecurity.

The Kelly Center for Hunger Relief has helped provide nutritious food to the food insecure of El Paso County for 20 years.

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 36 million, or one in nine, Americans were food insecure in 2018, including more than 11 million children. The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life, that includes a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level.

According to, nearly 80,000 people in El Paso County suffer from food insecurity and about one out of every five children go hungry each day.

In 2019, the Kelly Center for Hunger Relief and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation had partnered to start a new pilot program, called Fresh Start, based on a mutual interest in addressing the root causes of food insecurity.

The Fresh Start program provides members a variety of resources, including not only food, but support, goal setting, job counseling, nutrition and health classes, computer skills, financial literacy, fitness classes programs like Zumba and more. Click here to see video.

The idea is that the long-term solution to food insecurity lies not just in feeding those in need, but helping people overcome the obstacles — including education, employment and housing — that cause food insecurity.

I’m happy to report that that pilot program, which was funded through a grant by the Health Foundation’s Healthy Eating Active Living Initiative, had such an impact that it is now an ongoing program, which has already connected hundreds of members with resources to address their food insecurity.

Fresh Start director Perla Chaparro says that while food is a basic need, the goal of the program is to help guide clients and reduce barriers such as unemployment, access to healthcare, education and others that affect people suffering from food insecurity.

“We want to help them develop long-term skills, and guide them, focusing on their motivation and their strengths,” said Chaparro.

The program itself is modeled after the successful More Than Food program, created by Dr. Katie Martin from the University of Connecticut in 2009. The More Than Food model provides a more fundamental approach to the problem of food insecurity by addressing its roots, according to Chaparro, and it’s the first program of its kind in the Paso del Norte region.

The pilot program has grown into a full-fledged one that has served as many as 80 members at a time. Members stay in the program until they complete the goals they set up with a Fresh Start counselor at the onset or for up to nine months.

Members are now sharing their own stories with the El Paso community in a series of videos created by the Fresh Start program which can be found on its YouTube page, Fresh Start Program at Kelly.

I encourage the community to watch some of these testimonials and take a look at the amazing outcomes that are possible when we address food insecurity at its roots.

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Healthy Eating Active Living Initiative (HEAL) works with a number of organizations to make healthy eating and active living the easy choice for all people in the region.

For more information about the HEAL Initiative, click here.

Author:  Jana Renner – Paso del Norte Health Foundation

Health Foundation announces New Board Chair, Members

On Friday, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation announced new leadership and members for their organization.

Elected to serve as Board Chair for 2020 was Ruben Guerra.  Since 2016, Guerra has served on the board and is President/CEO for Guerra Investment Advisors.

Lisa Saenz was appointed as Board Vice-Chair. She has served on the board since 2015 and is Senior Vice President/Controller for WestStar Bank.

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation also welcomed three new members to the Board of Directors.

Joseph Bocanegra with Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare, Carlos Fernandez with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, and Linda Lawson with The Hospitals of Providence – Transmountain Campus.

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation is one of the largest foundations on the U.S. – Mexico border. Now a supporting organization to the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, it was established in 1995 from the sale of Providence Memorial Hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corporation for $130 million.

The Health Foundation exists to improve the health and wellness of the people living in far west Texas, southern New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

For more information, and a complete list of board members, visit the Foundation’s website.

TTUHSC El Paso receives $165k to help launch new mental health program for youngsters

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation recently awarded Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso a $165,000 grant to assist with the launch of a program to improve mental health care for children and adolescents in the El Paso region.

The grant will help pay for start-up consultation services to establish the West Texas regional hub of the new Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN) at TTUHSC El Paso. The state-wide network is part of the Texas Mental Health Care Consortium created by Senate Bill 11, a school-safety bill signed into law this year by Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Senate Bill 11 initiatives greatly expand mental health care for Texas’ school-age children by direct care and increasing the number of child psychiatrists,” said Peter Thompson, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry at TTUHSC El Paso. “The Paso del Norte Health Foundation is funding the TTUHSC El Paso Department of Psychiatry’s efforts to design and implement these initiatives.”

The Department of Psychiatry at the Foster School of Medicine will lead the West Texas CPAN hub. Start-up consultation services to establish the hub will be provided by the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.

“We are pleased to partner with the Department of Psychiatry at TTUHSC El Paso to expand mental health services for children and adolescents,” said Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

“The CPAN program will be a wonderful addition to a continuum of mental and behavioral health support services in our community increasing access for children and families.”

CPAN will give pediatricians and other primary care physicians improved access to psychiatrists — including child and adolescent psychiatrists — and other behavioral health professionals to help meet the mental health needs of children and adolescents in the Borderland and across West Texas.

CPAN will incorporate telemedicine — teleconference and videoconferencing services — to assist with evaluating patients’ needs and provide pediatricians with expert psychiatric consultation.

This service allows children to be treated by their own pediatricians while expanding improved mental health care to young persons living in all areas of West Texas covered by TTUHSC El Paso’s Department of Psychiatry service area. The counties in this area are: Brewster, Crockett, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Val Verde, Ward and Winkler.

Dr. Thompson said CPAN will ensure the greatest impact for improving mental health care to children in urban El Paso and rural communities throughout the West Texas service area.

El Paso, and most other counties across West Texas, are designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HSPAs) in mental health. For example, El Paso County has only one psychiatrist for approximately every 22,000 residents, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. This shortage is even more acute for psychiatrists specializing in mental and behavioral health care for children and teens, with only a handful providing services to these groups

Paso del Norte Health Foundation awards new grants to engage disconnected youth

Officials with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation announced Monday awards of 10 grants totaling more than $870,000 under the Healthy Kids Priority Area – IGNITE Initiative.

“The goal of the IGNITE Initiative is to improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth in the region in high quality programs during out-of school hours,” officials shared.

The Health Foundation refers to “disconnected youth” as people between the ages of 7-18 who are not involved in out-of-school activities or not working.

Funded organizations are:

Alianza para Colaboraciones Fronterizas A.C. – $59,428.09
Ochéra Entrenando con Valores/Ochéra Training with Values
To pilot an afterschool and summer sports program for 100 disconnected youth in the Colonia Tarahumara
and the surrounding areas in Ciudad Juárez, Chih., MX.

Border Partners – $12,144.00
Programa de Arte de Verano para Jóvenes en Palomas/Palomas Youth Summer Art Program
To offer a summer art program for 100 disconnected youth, ages 8-17, in Puerto Palomas, Chih., MX.

Boy Scouts of America Yucca Council – $124,080.00
Unidos Prosperamos
To bring the Scouting program to 100 new disconnected boys and girls in rural communities of Doña Ana
and El Paso Counties.

Boys & Girls Club of Las Cruces – $94,165.50
More Teens, More Often
To strategically increase Club participation and membership of 11-17-year-old disconnected youth through
afterschool and summer programs in Las Cruces, NM.

Centro de Asesoria y Promocion Juvenil, A.C. – $168,300.00
Espacios de vinculación y desarrollo juvenil/Safe spaces and youth development
To implement an afterschool and summer programs in five community centers for 400 new disconnected
youth and retain 400 youth ages 10-17 years old in Ciudad Juárez, Chih., MX.

Creative Kids, Inc. – $61,847.50
Project ABLE (Art Brokers Learning Experiences)
To connect disconnected youth in Fabens, Texas through a year-round arts-based program and maintain the
Artists in Residence model.

Organización Popular Independiente, A.C. – $136,850.05
Cultura, arte y deporte: Jóvenes en acción/Culture, art and sport: Young people in action
To provide out-of-school programming to 600 disconnected youth, ages 5-17, in 10 communities throughout
southwest Ciudad Juárez, Chih., MX.

Patronato del Museo del Niño de Ciudad Juárez, A.C. – $76,606.54
Rodis Junior
To enhance the life skills of 100 disconnected youth, ages of 15 and 17, through an out-of-school program
where they serve as museum guides at La Rodadora Children’s Museum in Ciudad Juárez, Chih., MX.

Salud y Desarrollo Comunitario de Ciudad Juárez, A.C. – $48,166.00
Conectanto con ValorArte 2019-2020/Connecting with ValorArte 2019-2020
To improve opportunities for at least 155 youth, ages 6-17, to be connected to a before-school and summer
dance program in Ciudad Juárez, Chih., MX.

Salud y Desarrollo Comunitario de Ciudad Juárez, A.C. – $92,823.50
FEMAP en Conexión 2019-2020/FEMAP in Connection 2019-2020
To continue the afterschool and summer programs for 350 disconnected youth in the rural URBI Villa del
Campo community in far east Ciudad Juárez, Chih., MX.

Foundation awards new grants to support Healthy Eating and Active Living

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation recently awarded 12 grants totaling more than $1.9 million under the Healthy Eating and Active Living Priority Area – HEAL Initiative.

According to PdNHF officials, the purpose of the HEAL initiative is to make healthy eating and active living the easy choice for youth and their families.

Via the PdNHF website, the goals of the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) initiative are explained:

1) increase fruit & vegetable consumption and improve portion control; 2) increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behavior; 3) create an environment that promotes healthy eating and active living without bias against obesity; and 4) achieve long-term sustainability of Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) and HEAL initiative.

The IHL is a collaboration between Texas Tech Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, The University of Texas at El Paso, the UT School of Public Health, and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

Funded organizations are:

Arbol de Vida – $139,963.63
To provide nutritious meals and physical activities to children in Rancho Anapra and Loma de Poleo in Ciudad Juárez, México.

Border Partners – $98,120.00
HEAL – Year 5
To establish home and school gardens and greenhouses, provide promotora-led nutrition, exercise, and gardening science classes to students, provide nutritious lunches to schools, teach exercise classes to children and adults, and maintain facilities and sports leagues for physical activity in Palomas, México.

Ciudadanos Comprometidos con la Paz, A.C. – $282,342.50
Movimiento Saludable (MOVS)
To provide healthy meals and offer physical activities to children, and teach portion control and preparation of healthy foods for their families across eight schools in Ciudad Juárez, México.

El Paso Diabetes Association, Inc. – $183,559.00
Diabetes Education and Support
To offer diabetes education services, coordinate a diabetes educator network and build the service capacity of the El Paso Diabetes Association in El Paso, Texas.

Kelly Memorial Food Pantry – $123,537.00
To assist low-income, food insecure adults in achieving goals towards a more independent and food secure life in El Paso, Texas.

La Semilla Food Center – $338,899.00
Edible Education and La Cosecha Community Education (Conditional three-year grant)
To implement a teacher-training model to provide school garden and nutrition education programming, sustained support and capacity building to schools, and training workshops for community organizations seeking to implement community gardens in Doña Ana County, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.

New Mexico State University Foundation, Inc. – $46,992.00
Eat Well Otero
To provide tools and support to increase healthy menu options and standardize appropriate portion sizes in restaurants for Otero County, New Mexico.

Organizacion Popular Independiente, A.C. – $43,240.69
Pequeños Pasos para Grandes Desafios
To train child care providers in nutrition and physical education, implement program for children less than seven-years old in Ciudad Juárez, México.

Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center – $455,126.92
Off to a good Start: Eating Our Way to a Healthy Life
To maintain a clinic and serve 180 children with feeding difficulties and educate 200 parents and providers about feeding difficulties in children in El Paso.

Texas A&M University – $181,671.00
More Counts/Mas Cuenta
To provide promotora-led direct service healthy eating classes and family physical activity opportunities to intergenerational families living in colonia communities of Far East El Paso County and Hudspeth County.

Texans Care for Children – $25,000.00
General purpose grant to support policy and advocacy programs to improve the health and wellness of Texas children and families
To support research and advocacy to improve healthy eating and physical activity in Texas children.

The University of Texas at El Paso – $20,127.00
Diabetes Assessment in the County of El Paso, Texas
To complete the community engagement portion of a diabetes assessment report for El Paso, Texas.

For more information on these grants, call Jana Renner, program officer at 915-218-2616 or

Paso del Norte’s foundations report: 240 area nonprofits awarded $14m in 2018

On Monday, the boards and staff of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Fundación Paso del Norte para la Salud y Bienestar announced the release of their 2018 annual report, titled ‘Trailblazing.’

“We celebrate this trailblazing work thanks to the vision, leadership and commitment of our Boards of Directors, the time, collaboration and dedication of hundreds of community partners and volunteers, and the effort and hard work of our incredible staff,” says Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation and Paso del Norte Health Foundation and board member of the Fundación Paso del Norte.

Collectively, in 2018, the three Foundations awarded more than $14 million to more than 240 nonprofit organizations in the region ending the year with more than $246 million in assets.

“The Foundations are committed to achieving their shared vision to ensure that the people of our binational, tri-state region have the knowledge, resources, support and environment to lead happy, healthy and productive lives,” officials shared via a Monday news release

Officials added “The online 2018 Report highlights the collaborative work to improve health, education, social services, economic development and quality of life in the region, grants awarded to nonprofit organizations and an accounting of foundation resources.”

To learn about the foundation’s impact, grant-making, partners, funds, investments, financial statements and board and staff leadership in the 2018 Annual Report for our Community of Philanthropy, visit the report’s webpage.

EPPD, Emergence’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) works to address crucial gap in Police response

The City of El Paso Police Department, in collaboration with Emergence Health Network and the County of El Paso, took a big step forward recetly in efforts to improve the behavioral health system of care.

The department launched its Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to serve El Paso residents experiencing a mental health crisis. The CIT is a co-responder program partnering a specially trained El Paso officer with a masters-level licensed professional clinician from Emergence Health Network.

The police officer and clinician ride together in a patrol car. Since its launch in January of this year, the CIT is fast becoming a valued resource for individuals in serious mental health crises. This model response has been implemented with a high degree of success in other communities in Texas.

“It is exciting to see this important component come alive for our system of care,” said Kristi Daugherty, CEO of Emergence Health Network, “Because of the partner commitments of both time and funding El Paso has been able to leverage funding from Texas state allocations under Senate Bill 292.”

The CIT Teams will eventually be equipped to:

  • Handle the most serious CIT calls
  • Assist fellow officers with CIT-related calls
  • Conduct pro-active and follow-up CIT investigations

“The launch of the Crisis Intervention Team will take some time to reach the planned full level of response,” said Assistant Chief Peter Pacillas, City of El Paso Police Department. “With the help of our local community-based organizations, we hope to have a seamless response system in place before year end.”

The availability of CIT teams is an important component for the behavioral health system of care. The El Paso Police Department,Emergence Health Network and others are actively involved in the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium’s efforts to improve the system of care.

The Consortium convenes El Paso leaders in the healthcare and behavioral health system with a mutual commitment to ongoing collaboration where all partners are welcome, empowered, and unified to achieve the ideal behavioral health service and support system and to reduce the burden of mental illness by designing improved, efficient, patient centered care for El Paso County residents to access where and when it is needed.

Development of a CIT was a major goal of the Justice Leadership Council, one of three Leadership Councils of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium.

“It is great to see this vital component to an ideal behavioral health system develop for El Paso County. With our community’s ongoing collaboration, El Paso residents will have better continuity of care, especially for mental health needs,” said Tracy Yellen, CEO of Paso del Norte Community Foundation/Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Chair of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium’s Executive Committee.

For more information on the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium, click on this link.

Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Renner awarded 2019 Walking College Fellowship

Officials with America Walks announced on Tuesday that the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Jana Renner has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship as part of the 2019 program. 

America Walks is a national advocacy organization working with communities to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk.

“I am thrilled to be chosen to participate in the Walkable Communities training program and to learn about ways to increase opportunities for our residents to be more active,” said Ms. Renner.

Ms. Renner is a program officer at the Health Foundation and works with partners in the Healthy Eating and Active Living initiative.

“The Health Foundation recently completed a master plan of a 60-mile Paso del Norte trail to connect communities and promote health and active living. I look forward to connecting what I learn to efforts to expand trails and walkability in our community,”  Renner added.  

The Fellowship will enable Ms. Renner and other advocates from around the country to participate in a five-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable and livable. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Renner as a member of the Walking College,” said Emilie Bahr, Walking College Manager with America Walks, “This year’s application process was extremely competitive and rich with unique professionals, and she will make a fitting addition to our 2019 class. We look forward to developing her skills and are excited to see her grow her knowledge, share experiences, and prepare plans to expand her work for bolstering walkability at home.” 

Ms. Renner will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer, followed by an independent study project in El Paso. Participants will also engage with the national network of America Walks and meet one another and other walking champions at various events throughout the year.

The Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents.  Topics include the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with stakeholders and decision makers. 

Fellows work with other members of their class and a set of experienced mentors to develop the knowledge and skills needed to create community change.

At the conclusion of the Walking College, Fellows will develop a Walking Action Plan for implementation using their new skills. 

El Paso Leading the Charge in National Fight Against Obesity

The latest science shows that obesity is a complex disease that generally requires medical treatment.  At the same time, three hundred thousand El Pasoans struggle with obesity.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention defines obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above 30 for an adult. Unfortunately, only a handful of healthcare providers – nationwide – know how to treat this condition. El Paso has been no exception…until now.

In 2018, the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) at the University of Texas at El Paso, with funding from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, created two exciting new training programs for healthcare providers and exercise professionals.

These training programs were developed to revolutionize obesity treatment in the region and serve as an example of how medical obesity management can change lives.

There are very few models currently available nationally to train health professionals in obesity management. Obesity is a complex problem because it can be caused by a variety of factors, which may be dependent upon a person’s age, gender, genetics or a multitude of other interconnected elements.

This poses a challenge for healthcare providers, as there is no outright solution to the issue of rising obesity rates.

“Building an Exercise Toolbox for your Patient or Clients with Obesity” is a series of workshops that target professionals who work in the exercise field, such as personal trainers, physical therapists, exercise physiologists and others.

Participants gain basic knowledge of the exercise programming adaptations to consider when working with adults with obesity and how to safely begin an exercise program.  Specific goals, considerations and health outcomes to focus in the clinical, home-based, and community settings will be addressed, with an emphasis on developing practical, tailored, everyday approaches to help patients or clients safely and effectively engage in exercise prescriptions.

The workshop is geared towards exercise professionals but is open to members of the public and healthcare professionals. The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6. Click here for more information.

The second program, “Practical Obesity Management Course” is a partnership with the IHL and MetaboLogix, which features intensive instruction from a group of internationally renowned obesity experts.

This first-of-its-kind obesity management course targets practical, applied training of multi-disciplinary teams of providers who work together and/or are part of a referral network because, as a complex disease, obesity management requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Attendees include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and dietitians.

I’m proud to say that, because of the commitment from local healthcare providers who took part in the training, El Paso now has one of the highest obesity provider-to-patient rations in the country. Through the efforts of the IHL and the Health Foundation, El Paso is a model city for medical obesity management training which can revolutionize obesity treatment, not just in the region, but nationally.

If you are an exercise or healthcare professional in the region, who would like to attend the February 6 workshop or if you would like more information about obesity, obesity management and future training courses, contact the Institute for Healthy Living at The University of Texas at El Paso at 915-747-6449.

Author: Jana Renner, Program Officer, Paso del Norte Health Foundation

PDN Health Foundation Awards New Grants, Will Help Engage Youth During ‘Out of School’ Hours

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation awarded four grants totaling more than $313,000 via the Healthy Kids Priority Area – IGNITE initiative.  

According to PDNHF Officials, the goal of the IGNITE Initiative is to “improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth in the Paso del Norte region in high quality programs during out of school hours.”

The Health Foundation refers to “disconnected youth” as people between the ages of 7-18, who are not involved in out of school activities or participating in the labor market.

“Evidence indicates that youth who are involved in out of school programs are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or be involved in criminal activity. Well-designed youth activities increase protective factors needed for youth to lead healthy and productive lives.” officials added.

Newly funded organizations are:

Creative Kids, Inc. – $65,065.00  

Project ABLE (Art Brokers Learning Experiences) 

To maintain the volunteer model, Artists in Residence, for after school and summer visual arts education program in Fabens, Texas. 


Organizacion Popular Independiente, A.C. – $133,006.50 

CulturaArte y DeporteJóvenes en acción 

To provide out of school programming to 500 disconnected youth in 10 communities throughout southwest Ciudad Juárez, MX. 


Patronato del Museo del Niño de Ciudad Juárez, A.C. – $76,852.58 

Rodis Junior: Fortalecimiento de las habilidades para la vida en jóvenes desvinculados de Ciudad Juárez 

To recruit and train 130 disconnected youth from Ciudad Juárez to serve as museum guides at La Rodadora. 


Rio Grande Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging – $38,278.90 

Technology Across Generations: Teens and Seniors Connecting through Technology 

To investigate and develop a plan for delivering the Technology Across Generations project. 

Foundations Announce New Organizational Structures, Relationship for Regional Benefit

The Paso del Norte Foundation (Foundation) and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation) announced a new organizational structure and relationship that will enable both foundations to better meet their individual and joint missions on behalf of the people of the Paso del Norte region.

According to a Sunday morning news release, officials say that the Health Foundation, which was a private foundation, will now serve as a supporting organization to the Paso del Norte Foundation to “grow its assets through philanthropy, increase partnerships with external funders and ultimately increase grant-making to nonprofits in the region, leading to measurable improvements to health.”

For the Paso del Norte Foundation, the new structure bolsters its mission to increase philanthropy in the region offering donors greater choice in their charitable and legacy giving and ensuring excellence in governance, stewardship and accountability paramount to donors.

“This change creates greater operating efficiencies for both foundations sharing executive, program and development staff as well as administrative, financial and investment support,” says Hector Retta, incoming Chair of the Paso del Norte Foundation and immediate past Vice-Chair of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

“It will also create an effective platform from which to grow philanthropy in the region, something we want to do for future generations.”

“While the structure is new,” says Sharon Butterworth, Chair of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, “the Health Foundation will maintain its name, mission, purpose and all of the responsibilities that we have today. We look forward to continuing our leadership and grant making in our five priority areas: Healthy Eating and Active Living, Tobacco and Alcohol Control, Mental Health and Emotional Well-being, Healthy Kids and Health Leadership. Our mission is to promote health and prevent disease in the region and we look forward to having greater resources to do this.”

“We created a great legacy with the formation of the Health Foundation 23 years ago. We are building on that legacy with the Paso del Norte Foundation,” says Steve Lauterbach, founding board member of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and founding board member and past Chair of the Paso del Norte Foundation. “The Paso del Norte Foundation is an effective vehicle for donors to support nonprofit organizations in our region and establish their legacy giving for the future.”

The Paso del Norte Foundation will offer opportunities to invest in the needs of the region beyond health. The Foundation manages supporting organizations, donor-advised funds, designated funds and agency funds to support the interests of donors and the needs of nonprofit organizations and charitable causes in the region.

“We look forward to serving our region through the strength of the Paso del Norte Foundation and the philanthropic foundations and funds under our umbrella that support a range of charitable causes,” says Tracy Yellen, who will continue in her role as CEO of the re-structured Paso del Norte Foundation. “We are here to support nonprofit organizations and charitable causes and to work with donors binationally to establish a legacy of giving and investing the future of our region. We are committed now more than ever to our core values of leadership, integrity, inclusion, collaboration and stewardship.

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation) was established in 1995 from the sale of Providence Memorial Hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corporation for $130 million. Since its inception, the Health Foundation has invested more than $164 million in grants and partnerships to improve health while growing assets to $241.7 million as of December 31, 2017.

Governed by an 11-member volunteer Board of Directors, the Health Foundation’s mission is to lead, leverage and invest in initiatives, programs and policies to promote health and prevent disease in the bi-national, tri-state region.

In its 23 year history, the Health Foundation has supported successful efforts to reduce smoking, binge drinking, obesity and stigma associated with mental illness and increase healthy eating, physical activity, health leadership and health insurance enrollment.

The Paso del Norte Foundation (Foundation) was established in 2013 to support the philanthropic goals of individuals, corporations, foundations and nonprofit organizations to improve health, education, economic development and quality of life in the Paso del Norte region.

The Foundation has an additional $5.5 million in assets in 78 funds. It has granted more than $5 million to charitable causes in its five year history. Governed by a 13-member volunteer Board of Directors, the Foundation manages supporting organizations, donor-advised funds, designated funds and agency funds to support the interests of donors and the needs of nonprofit organizations and charitable causes in the region.

The Paso del Norte Foundation and Health Foundation partner with the Fundación Paso del Norte para la Salud y Bienestar (Fundación), a Mexican Asociacion Civil, to inspire and grow philanthropic giving and advance partnerships and initiatives to improve the health and well-being in Cd. Juárez.

Led by an 11-member volunteer Board of Directors, the Fundación has invested over $1 million in nonprofits in Cd. Juárez in partnership with generous donors and partners including the Hunt Family Foundation, FICOSEC and FC Juárez Bravos.

Kelly Memorial Food Pantry’s ‘Fresh Start Program’ Helps Educate on Healthy Lifestyle

Starting with a simple question: ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have someone follow you through a grocery store and help with information and support on how to live a healthy and productive lifestyle?’ two local organizations have started a program to help Borderland residents live that type of life.

“Hunger is not just caused by a lack of food, but also a lack of human capital (including education, employment and income), social support and social capital,” said Mary Beth Harper, Executive Director of Kelly Memorial Food Pantry. “Any attempt to improve long-term food insecurity requires more than just short-term food.”

With support from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Initiative, the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry’s Fresh Start program is doing this and more.

The program is one of its kind in the region and supports individuals by addressing the root causes of hunger and focus on skills of individuals that can be used throughout their life.

“Fresh Start holds promise of addressing root causes of hunger and poor nutrition, while address food insecurity,” says Michael Kelly, Vice President of Programs with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “To put a spin on an old metaphor, we are handing people a fish, while teaching them to fish. Members of the program are understanding the value of healthy eating and active living, which is the goal of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s HEAL Initiative.”

Members of the program receive training in nutrition education, needs assessment and supportive coaching. Upon graduation, they set and achieve goals in areas that include: housing, employment, education, physical and mental health, citizenship and more.

After nine months of hard work, 16 members graduated and participated in the “Sunflower Ceremony” at the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry.

The ceremony is referred as the Sunflower Ceremony because the sunflower is symbolic of the members and their ceaseless commitment to seeing light and hope in their lives, just as a sunflower always faces the sun.

The celebration included dinner, a motivational speaker, member testimonials, certificate presentation and a sunflower pinning.

The Kelly Memorial Food Pantry is a volunteer operated and community supported nonprofit organization located in central El Paso, Texas. It provides a sense of food security and hope to its clients by providing nutritional basics and encouragement to prosper in life. It is the largest food pantry, serving 2,500 families per month.

Testimonials from recent graduates:

“This program not only has the heart and humility of supporting and motivating members to have a “Fresh Start.” Even more, they guide you with love while helping you put your desires and goals of life in order. I feel very happy and thankful that God put Fresh Start in my way to guide me through all the programs I need and they give me the support I need. They connect you with the many services that you need for your own personal growth.”

“I think this program has helped me. It is a motivation to do things I never thought. They have interesting classes like Diabetes Prevention and Nutrition. They motivate you to succeed in school and find work. This program is excellent for me, it has been a great help. I hope the program continues so they can help more people like me.”

“This program is good because it helps me a lot with what to eat. It has taught me how to prevent illnesses. It is good because they teach you what you should eat and to check yourself to prevent against disease. It is also good because you exercise and that is good for my health.”

“It is very interesting and very good. We benefit from it a lot. We try to eat healthier. They encourage us and help us with the help we need. I wish there were more programs like this for the community. For me, it is an excellent program.”

For more information on the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry or the Fresh Start program, call 915-261-7499.

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