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Sentara makes health donation

Several local nonprofit agencies will benefit from the gift of more than half a million dollars by the Sentara Health Foundation, the charitable organization announced on Thursday.

The Foundation awarded 27 grants for 2010, totaling more than $561,986 in support of existing community programs all over Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.

Suffolk residents will benefit directly through at least three of those grants. Eight other grants were for programs that include all of Hampton Roads in their service area.

Noting that having access to care is an essential step toward good health, the Foundation announced that it would contribute $32,000 to fund a full-time dental program coordinator at the Western Tidewater Free Clinic to help area residents who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level receive dental care.

The clinic recently finished renovating and moving into a building that has more space for its medical mission, as well as rooms devoted to a dental clinic.

The Foundation also will donate $35,000 to the Peninsula Institute for Community Health to fund a part-time pediatrician to provide medical services to Suffolk children at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

A $30,000 donation to ForKids Inc. — which operates homeless shelters for families in Suffolk and Norfolk — will help that organization expand its medical case management services to families that are “imminently at risk of homelessness in South Hampton Roads,” the Foundation announced.

Other donations that will impact Suffolk citizens include the following:

ACCESS AIDS Care — $25,000 to provide transportation for critical support services for people infected with HIV/AIDS in Hampton Roads

The American Diabetes Association — $7,500 to fund Project POWER, which conducts workshops on diabetes and healthy living at area churches

The Up Center — $10,000 for the “Seeking Safety” program, which provides medical evaluation, assistance and other services to homeless individuals with mental illness or other complications

Virginia Supportive Housing — $20,000 to expand case management to conduct screenings for basic health needs for formerly homeless individuals

American Cancer Society — $15,000 for the African-American Men’s Health Initiative, which aims to prevent or reduce the risk of chronic disease through screenings and outreach

Alzheimer’s Association — $12,500 for the establishment of a 24-hour helpline to provide immediate support to dementia patients and their families

Chesapeake Service Systems — $5,000 to expand health and treatment programs for people with severe developmental disabilities

Mary Buckley Foundation — $20,000 for the Put Your Brain in Gear program, which raises awareness of the consequences of brain injury among high school students