"The projects and organizations funded with these grants help to make the greater Phoenixville area a healthy community," stated Louis J. Beccaria, Ph.D., CEO and president of the foundation, in a press release. "They support many different facets of the community and will add to our community's quality of life."

Phoenixville Community Health Foundation's board of directors, which meets four times each year to award grants, chose 15 area nonprofit groups that benefit community health.

Among the grant recipients are the Chester County Health Department, Open Hearth, Inc., Phoenixville Area School District, Phoenixville Area YMCA and Phoenixville Hospital.

Phoenixville Area School District's Operation F.O.C.U.S. received $1,500 to fund entertainment at an after-prom party. The event is held after the high school prom from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

"The idea is to provide an alternative to private parties," said Linda Jewell, director of Operation F.O.C.U.S. Activities in the past and this year include food, karaoke, laser tag and improvisational comedy games.

The event is free to students and their guests whether or not they attended the prom, generally drawing 300 to 400 participants from the junior and senior classes. Volunteers, who are parents, community members and teachers, serve as chaperones.

"Prom night and graduation night are the two highest risk nights for teens in making destructive decisions," said Jewell. The event eliminates the chance of students consuming alcohol, drugs, causing violence and unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, according to Jewell.

"Funds will go to provide entertainment, games and prizes," said Jewell. Along with activities and refreshments, door prizes including a grand prize of $1,000 to one senior and $500 to one junior will be awarded.

Phoenixville Hospital's Community Health and Education program received two grants totaling $125,316 for both Project Prevention and the Outreach program.

Project Prevention brings nurses into the community for health screenings, education programs and flu shots. Nurses will visit area churches including Bethel Baptist Church and United Church of Christ, as well as Phoenixville Area Community Service (PACS).

"They [PCHF] have been very generous in helping to support these programs," said Anna Mae Galbraith, director of Phoenixville Hospital's Community Health and Education program.

The Outreach Program provides health forums for women and men, the Supportive Older Family Alliance (SOFA) at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, CPR training with area churches and Phoenixville Area Breast Cancer Coalition.

"We have adequate funding to do what we need to do for the community," said Galbraith. In conjunction with hospital funds, the grants allow the hospital's programs to function.

Phoenixville Area YMCA, which includes Spring Valley, Audubon and Phoenixville branches, received $22,650 for CPR and defibrillator training and equipment purchases.

One grant to the YMCA provides CPR training devices so that all staff, and public who take courses, can be certified. In addition, automated external defibrillators (AED) will be installed and employees will be trained to assist in the event of a heart attack.

"We will have all necessary equipment in all of our branches," said Gerry Weitzel, vice president of financial development at the Phoenixville Area YMCA.

"These are project-oriented grants," said Weitzel. "They have a specified use and location."

The Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, which has been functioning for five years, has given out $8.9 million in grants.

"We fund health and human services," said Beccaria, "Health care access and information."

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