Nashua High South, 2 area groups receive health grants

Nashua High School South and two Nashua area social service organizations are among 55 organizations and educational institutions statewide that will share $2.9 million in grants from the Endowment for Health.

The endowment, a Concord-based health foundation charged with improving the health of the state’s residents, announced the awards Wednesday during a ceremony at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord.

Altogether, the endowment awarded 72 grants.

Since the program began four years ago, the endowment has awarded 237 grants totaling close to $12 million. Grants support health-related programs across New Hampshire. Most will go to organizations dedicated to improving oral health and reducing barriers to health care.

“Our hope is these awards will make it easier for people that desperately need these services,” said Dr. James Squires, president of the endowment.

A grant for $2,500 will go to the Heart Safe Program at Nashua High South to purchase a heart defibrillator, completing the school’s inventory of three such devices. Southern New Hampshire Medical Center purchased one defibrillator for the high school, and the school also bought one, Squires said.

The Souhegan Valley chapter of the Granite State Organizing Project received a $20,000 grant to study the need for a community health center in the Milford area. Currently, the closest community health centers for residents of the Souhegan Valley are in Nashua and Keene, said Squires.

In addition, a $10,427 grant is going to Healthy at Home to develop a health care program for the area’s homeless.

Squires said selecting the recipients was challenging.

“We were impressed by the need and the quality of the organizations working to make our state a healthier place,” he said in a prepared release.

The Endowment for Health funds five types of grants: theme grants to focus on oral health and health care barriers; research grants to increase knowledge; grants to support program planning, conferences and technical assistance; grants for short-term responses to urgent health needs; and public policy grants to address the gap between public policies and their goals.