The grant will help the hospital fund its community efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death and one of the major underlying health conditions leading to higher risk of death from COVID-19. The incidence of cardiovascular disease is particularly high in the Merrimack Valley.
In Lawrence alone, a city hit particularly hard by the pandemic, nearly a quarter of the population is living below the poverty line, a factor leading to statistically higher rates of chronic disease.
“This generous Cummings Foundation Grant helps us focus on racial and socioeconomic health inequities and find innovative ways to provide free cardiovascular screenings for those who need them most,” says Deb Wilson, president and CEO at Lawrence General Hospital.
“The COVID-19 data show a major disproportionate impact on minority communities and a significantly higher mortality rate for those with chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiac disease. The higher prevalence of these chronic diseases in Lawrence, where health inequities are a harsh reality, is due in part to lower incomes, and restricted access to affordable healthy food.”
The Cummings $20 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties.
Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 10 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation. Lawrence General Hospital is one of 130 recipients of the Cumming Foundation Grant.
“We have been impressed, but not surprised, by the myriad ways in which these 130 grant winners are serving their communities, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director.
“Their ability to adapt and work with their constituents in new and meaningful ways has an enormous impact in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work.” ◊